PhD position in Cellular Proteins

May 04 2022

Are you interested in novel food proteins derived from bacteria, yeast, fungi, and microalgae? Are you ready for your next step in academia? Are you ambitious and do you want to perform research on the extraction and functionality of the next generation of alternative food proteins? We have a PhD position in Cellular Proteins. Will you join us? • We are looking for an enthusiastic PhD student to develop downstream processes for the extraction of crude and purified protein ingredient fractions from microbial biomass (yeast, fungi, bacteria, microalgae). The research will involve structure-function studies of the extracted proteins to enable targeted modifications of the fractionation process leading to highly functional ingredients for the next generation of meat and dairy alternatives. This PhD position will be based in the Food Process Engineering group at Wageningen University ( • Your task is to1. develop downstream processes to obtain raw and purified protein components with high techno-functionality and2. investigate protein structure-function relationships of cellular proteins in the obtained fractions in order to target highly functional ingredients for milk or dairy alternatives.The position is funded by the TKI Agrifood project: Cellular proteins – a sustainable source of food proteins, with co-funding from a large number of international companies. The aim of this project is to investigate sustainable production chains for cellular proteins based on the interrelationship between growth conditions, downstream processing and functionality for a range of selected microorganisms, including microalgae, bacteria, fungi and yeast. For each organism, three main areas will be investigated: Growing conditions, downstream processing and structure-function relationships. • This project is a collaboration with Wageningen University, NIZO and Wageningen Food and Biobased Research (WFBR) and will provide insights into the applicability, sustainability and feasibility of using microbial biomass and/or its fractions as functional protein-rich ingredients in food applications.The research is embedded within the chair of Food Process Engineering (Chairholder Prof. Remko Boom), and member of the Protein Functionalization team (, which is led by Associate Prof. Julia Keppler. •  

have a successful master’s degree in food science, biotechnology, chemical technology, or equivalent;

are a team player and passionate about working in a collaborative project;

have good communication and organizational skills and are able to work both independently and in a team environment;

Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:

working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;

the option to accrue additional compensation / holiday hours by working more, up to 40 hours per week;

there is a strong focus on vitality and you can make use of the sports facilities available on campus for a small fee;

• In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will receive a fully funded PhD position and you will be offered a course program tailored to your needs and the research team.The gross salary for the first year is € 2.443,- per month rising to € 3.122,- in the fourth year in according to the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale P). This is based on a full-time working week of 38 hours. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended for the duration of the project if you perform well. • There are plenty of options for personal initiative in a learning environment, and we provide excellent training opportunities. We are offering a unique position in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere.You are going to work at the greenest and most innovative campus in Holland, and at a university that has been chosen as the “Best University” in the Netherlands for the 17th consecutive time. • Coming from abroad • Wageningen University & Research is the university and research centre for life sciences. The themes we deal with are relevant to everyone around the world and Wageningen, therefore, has a large international community and a lot to offer to international employees. Applicants from abroad moving to the Netherlands may qualify for a special tax relief, known as the 30% ruling. Our team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa application procedures for yourself and, if applicable, for your family. • Feeling welcome also has everything to do with being well informed. Wageningen University & Research’s International Community page contains practical information about what we can do to support international employees and students coming to Wageningen. Furthermore, we can assist you with any additional advice and information about helping your partner to find a job, housing, schooling, and other issues. •  

More information

Do you want more information? • For more information about this position, please contact Dr. Julia Keppler, Associate Professor ( • For more information about the procedure, please contact Rutger Voorrips, recruiter, by email:   • Do you want to apply? • You can apply directly by uploading your CV and motivation letter, using the apply button on the vacancy page on our website which will allow us to process your personal information with your approval.This vacancy will be listed up to and including May 23 2022. We hope to schedule the first job interviews at the beginning of June 2022. The preferred starting date for this position is August/September 2022. • Equal opportunities  • Wageningen University & Research (WUR) employs a large number of people with very different backgrounds and qualities, who inspire and motivate each other. We want every talent to feel at home in our organisation and be offered the same career opportunities. We therefore especially welcome applications from people who are underrepresented at WUR. For more information pleasego to our inclusivity page. A good example of how WUR deals with inclusiveness can be read on the page working at WUR with a functional impairment. •  

The mission of Wageningen University and Research is “To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life”. Under the banner Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen University and the specialised research institutes of the Wageningen Research Foundation have joined forces in contributing to finding solutions to important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment. • With its roughly 30 branches, 6.800 employees and 12.900 students, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. An integrated approach to problems and the cooperation between various disciplines are at the heart of Wageningen’s unique approach. WUR has been named the best university of the Netherlands by students for the 17 time in a row. • Read the 5 reasons why your future colleagues enjoy working at WUR and watch this video to get an idea of our green campus! • The laboratory of Food Process Engineering (FPE) is strongly internationally oriented and widely recognised and works together with scientific groups and industries from all over the world.  We work as team on finding new ways to prepare foods in much more sustainable ways, keeping them fresher and tastier, and healthier for the consumers. As foods are very complex products, we need to obtain deeper insight of their response to treatment, to understand how we could keep them in a fresher state, and how we could help people having a healthier diet. We aim for this at truly new principles for processing, not at improving existing processes. And we have found that there is a lot to explore. We therefore have the ambition to grow further scientifically by investing in better understanding in ‘multi-scale’ phenomena, combining phenomena from (supra)molecular properties, mesoscale interactions, towards the prediction of macro-scale properties of foods or food components, under conditions of processing. We have a long tradition of collaboration with people in other academic groups over the world, within our own University, and with our group. •  


Tags: Algae Bacteria
Source: WUR Vacancies