Universiteit Leiden

nl en


PhD student in organic chemistry / carbohydrate chemistry

Omvang (fte)
Geplaatst op
19 december 2023
21 januari 2024 Vacature gesloten

The Faculty of Science Leiden and Leiden Institute of Chemistry are looking for a PhD Candidate.
This PhD position is part of the EU-funded Marie Skłodowska-Curie Doctoral Network (DN) ‘GLYCO-N - GLYCOprotein N-glycosylation from non-life to eukaryotes a Doctoral Network to expand the knowledge on a ubiquitous posttranslational modification of proteins’.

Work and profile

DC 5: Design and synthesis of molecules to interfere with host and viral N-glycosylation processing.

The doctoral project will focus first on the synthesis of improved glycomimetics targeting the essential ER N-glycoprotein folding glycosidases, including ER-alpha-glucosidase I (ER-I) and II (ER-II) and in later stages of the GLYCO-N program glycosidases identified by the N-GLYCO consortium, transferring inhibitor designs to these enzymes. Up until today small molecule glycomimetics targeting host/viral glycoprocessing enzymes were designed as competitive inhibitors, this while arguably (and as evidenced from the field of antibiotics) mechanism-based covalent and irreversible inhibitors would be more effective.

Targeting carbohydrate processing enzymes (CPEs), the enzymes responsible for glycan synthesis and hydrolysis, holds great potential for the development of drugs for a variety of diseases. The Leiden Institute of Chemistry specializes in the discovery and rational design of glycosylhydrolase (GHs) and glycosyltransferase (GT) inhibitors and degraders. This doctoral project will focus on the rational design and synthesis of inhibitors for CPEs involved in N-glycan synthesis. The Ph.D. researcher we are looking for, will be responsible for developing synthetic methodologies to generate new inhibitors and degraders. The generated library of compounds will be tested and used within the DN consortium for glycobiology research.

The selected PhD candidate will experience an international and interdisciplinary training and participate in a series of scientific, technical and complementary skills training events. The position will allow the student to participate in an exciting multidisciplinary research and training programme, enhancing their career perspectives in both the academic and industrial sector.

Selection criteria

  • M.Sc. degree in Chemistry
  • Good knowledge and interest in both organic chemistry and chemical biology;
  • Proven competence in Synthetic Organic Chemistry and Chemical Biology;
  • Knowledge of Synthetic Carbohydrate Chemistry is a plus;
  • Organic chemistry lab skills including Carrying out and monitoring multi-step organic syntheses, purification of small molecules and analytical techniques (NMR, LC-MS).
  • Proficient in English a recognized international certificate in English (TOEFL, TOEIC, etc) is a plus;
  • Excellent communication skills;
  • Ability to work independently and as a team player in a multidisciplinary environment;
  • Meeting the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Early Stage Researcher eligibility criteria is required. In particular, at the time of appointment candidates must have a Master degree and had less than four years full-time equivalent research experience and must not have already obtained a PhD. Additionally, they must not have resided in The Netherlands for more than 12 months in the three years immediately before the appointment;
  • The PhD research needs to start in February-March 2024.

Description of organisation and terms of employment
Opening sentence with special and unique aspects of the position/environment (e.g. the department, the subject, opportunities, collaboration with other institutes), followed by the salary and a part of the benefits.

We offer a position for initially one year and upon satisfactory performance to be extended for three more years. You will be appointed in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities. The salary ranges from €2.770,- to €3.539,- gross per month, depending on experience (pay scale P in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities). Mobility and family allowances as applicable according to Marie Skłodowska-Curie PhD fellowship scheme for early career researchers.

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %), training and career development. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. For international spouses we have set up a dual career programme. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. For more information, see the website.

Diversity and inclusion are core values of Leiden University. Leiden University strives to become an inclusive community that enables all students and staff to feel valued and respected and to develop their full potential. We welcome diversity in experiences and perspectives as they enrich and strengthen our teaching and research. High quality teaching and research is inclusive.

The Faculty of Science at Leiden University is a world-class faculty where staff and students work together in a dynamic international environment. It is a faculty where personal and academic development are top priorities. Our people are committed to expand fundamental knowledge by curiosity and to look beyond the borders of their own discipline; their aim is to benefit science, and to make a contribution to addressing the major societal challenges of the future.

The research carried out at the Faculty of Science is very diverse, ranging from mathematics, information science, astronomy, physics, chemistry and bio-pharmaceutical sciences to biology and environmental sciences. The research activities are organized in eight institutes. These institutes offer eight bachelors’ and twelve master’s programmes. The faculty has grown strongly in recent years and now has more than 2,300 staff and over 5,000 students. We are located at the heart of Leiden’s Bio Science Park, one of Europe’s biggest science parks, where university and business life come together.

Leiden University is one of Europe’s leading international research universities.

Thanks to its committed and inspired employees, the university enjoys a leading role in academic research and education. Leiden also scores very well every year in prominent rankings. This means that, to maintain our position, the bar is set very high. Regardless of the work you do at our university, you are always encouraged to broaden your horizons, develop your talents and reach your full potential. Will you become our newest colleague?

Do you have questions about this position? Please contact Dr. Marta Artola (m.e.artola@lic.leidenuniv.nl) and Prof. Hermen S. Overkleeft (h.s.overkleeft@lic.leidenuniv.nl). For more information about the recruitment process please contact Jessica van Krimpen, j.e.van.krimpen@lic.leidenuniv.nl)

Please ensure that you upload the following additional documents quoting the vacancy number:

  • Letter of motivation addressed to Dr. Marta Artola, including a statement why you are suited for this position;
  • Curriculum vitae;
  • Transcripts of B.Sc and M.Sc. courses, including grades;
  • Copy of master’s thesis or any other publications (if available);
  • Two references letters from former supervisors, including names, affiliations and email addresses.

Applications must be in English and will be evaluated against the following criteria:

  • Educational record
  • scientific quality of the applicant’s CV
  • expected individual impact and benefit to the fellow and to the project
  • previous experience in the subject of GLYCO-N research programme

The candidates will be evaluated on the basis of the received documents and the best 3-4 candidates will be invited for an online interview that will take place in January 2024.

You can find more information about the faculty of Science at https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/science/about-faculty-of-science. For more information about working at Leiden university please visit https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/working-at

Are you enthusiastic about this vacancy? We are looking forward to get to know you. You can apply until January 21, 2024 using the application button below.

Deze website maakt gebruik van cookies.  Meer informatie.