Postdoc Position in Mathematical Science
Catholic University of Leuven

(ref. BAP-2023-530)
We are offering a Postdoc position in the framework of a bacterial synthetic biology research project. We are looking for a motivated candidate with mathematical modeling experience in systems biology (gene circuits) and/or bioprocess modelling (bioreactors). You will work with Prof. Kristel Bernaerts (Division of Chemical and Biochemical Reactor Engineering and Safety, KU Leuven) and closely collaborate with Prof. Abram Aertsen (Department of Microbial and Molecular Systems, KU Leuven) and Prof. Steffen Waldherr (Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Vienna) whom are part of the project consortium. You will be part of a young team of researchers working on the project. KU Leuven offers a competitive and international working environment with access to the latest technologies and expertise. KU Leuven ranks among the top 100 universities in the world in major ranking tables. The university commits to creating an inclusive, respectful and safe environment for both working and living. Moreover, Leuven is a lively, historic university city with a large international and diverse student community and located only 30min from Brussels.


Bacteriophages are the viruses of bacteria and have the capacity to reproduce them selves within a bacterial population through a cycle of infection and bacterial lysis. In particular cases, phages can integrate their genetic material within the host cell and thrive within the bacterial population awaiting favorable conditions for renewed lytic phage reproduction. The overall project aims to exploit a number of phage features to reprogram bacterial populations for controlled bioprocessing in a bioreactor. 

The postdoctoral position will aim for the modelling of phage-host dynamics of engineered phages under various bioreactor conditions. You will build predictive population balance models equipped with regulatory circuitry and metabolic pathways, that compute optimal phage and circuitry tuning and bioprocessing conditions.

You will collaborate with the PhD students that perform the phage engineering and interact with them in providing circuitry design information. You will assist in performing experiments capturing macroscopic and microscopic (engineered) phage-host dynamics in bioreactors, and validate computationally-derived optimized conditions.


  • You hold a PhD in in bioscience engineering, chemical engineering, bioprocess engineering, or a related field.
  • You have a sound computational background, holding research experience in modelling of biological processes (e.g., bioreactor models, synthetic gene circuits, population balance models) and programming in Matlab, Python, or other environment.
  • You have an affinity with performing experiments (e.g., bioreactors, microbiological analyses, microscopy).
  • You are a passionate researcher with a critical mind.
  • You are a team player with the ability to collaborate and manage your own research project.
  • Advanced command of both spoken and written English is mandatory.


  • We offer you a two-year postdoctoral position. Detailed employment conditions will be shared upon contact.
  • We will support you in all aspects in order to successfully run your postdoctoral project.
  • You will be given opportunities to participate at national and international meetings and establish your network.
  • We offer a competitive salary (


You should upload a detailed Curriculum Vitae and transcript of courses together with a concise letter of motivation in the online portal.

For more information, please contact Prof. Dr. Ir. Kristel Bernaerts (mail:

KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at

You can apply for this job no later than September 28, 2023 via the
KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at
  • Employment percentage: Voltijds
  • Location: Leuven
  • Apply before: September 28, 2023
  • Tags: Chemische Ingenieurstechnieken
  • Download: file

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