Job description: Transposable elements are mobile DNA sequences that can be found in almost all living organisms, including fungi. We now recognise the myriad of ways in which transposable elements can shape genomes and their functions.

Transposable elements can transpose within their host genomes, but evidence from non-fungal eukaryotes and recent data in fungi suggest that transposable elements are also frequently horizontally transferred between different species, and fungal genomes have therefore at least partially been shaped by horizontally transferred transposons.

The ultimate goal of the PhD project is to better understand how (horizontally transferred) transposons contribute to genome evolution and function in fungi. To achieve this, you will use computational approaches to detect, analyse, and interpret transposable element dynamics within and between fungal species.

You will analyse the genome sequences of hundreds of ecologically and genetically diverse fungal species as well as of individuals of single fungal species to uncover which (genomic, genetic, and/or ecological) factors influence horizontal transfer of transposable elements and what impact these elements have on the host genome.

Depending on your interests, this position will also allow you to pursue independent research questions within the research theme. Additionally, this position will equip you with important academic skills such as teaching, effective scientific communication (written and oral), building a collaboration network, and learning how to navigate academic life in ways compatible with your own career ambitions.


We are looking for an enthusiastic new colleague with a strong interest in microbial genomics, evolution, and transposable elements. We would also like you to bring:

  • a MSc in Bioinformatics, Computational Microbiology, or another relevant field;
  • experience with (comparative) genomics, ideally fungal genomics and/or transposons;
  • experience with bash, Python and/or R is essential, experience with Snakemake and/or Nextflow is beneficial;
  • strong motivation to make a valuable contribution to the diverse research directions in our team, demonstrable organisation skills and ability to contribute to a friendly and collaborative working environment in an international and cross-disciplinary scientific research team;
  • the ability to express yourself well in English, both spoken and written.

We offer:

  • a full-time gross salary ranging from €2,541 in the first year to €3,247 in the fourth year in scale P of the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities (cao);
  • 8% holiday bonus and 8.3% end-of-year bonus;
  • a pension scheme, partially paid parental leave, and flexible employment conditions based on the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities.

In addition to the employment conditions from the CAO for Dutch Universities, Utrecht University has a number of its own arrangements. These include agreements on professional development leave arrangements and sports

We also give you the opportunity to expand your terms of employment through the Employment Conditions Selection Model. This is how we encourage you to grow. For more information, please visit working at the Faculty of Science

Are you an international applicant? Our International Service Desk can answer your questions about living in the Netherlands as international staff

About the organization:

A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major strategic themes

Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Pathways to Sustainability. Sharing science, shaping tomorrow

At the Faculty of Science there are 6 departments to make a fundamental connection with: Biology, Chemistry, Information and Computing Sciences, Mathematics, Pharmaceutical Sciences and Physics.

Each of these is made up of distinct institutes that work together to focus on answering some of humanity’s most pressing challenges. More fundamental still are the individual research groups – the building blocks of our ambitious scientific projects.

Your research will be performed in the Microbial Genome Evolution, team headed by Dr. Michael Seidl (associate professor).

The team analyses large-scale (meta-)genomics data with computational methods to discover fundamental processes of microbial evolution and adaption on short and long evolutionary timescales. The Microbial Genome Evolution is part of the Theoretical Biology and Bioinformatics division at Utrecht University and the Utrecht Bioinformatics Centre.

Additional information

If you have any questions that you’d like us to answer, please contact Dr. Michael Seidl (associate professor) via Do you have a question about the application procedure? Please send an email to


Everyone deserves to feel at home at our university. We welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives.

If you are enthusiastic about this position, just apply via the “Apply” button! Please enclose:

  • your letter of motivation;
  • your curriculum vitae;
  • the names, telephone numbers, and email addresses of at least two references.

If this specific opportunity isn’t for you, but you know someone else who may be interested, please forward this vacancy to them.

Some connections are fundamental – Be one of them, The application deadline is 1 August 2023.


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