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PhD position: microbial network inference and analysis platform Leuven Belgium,  

KU Leuven (company)

Posted on : 04 April 2017

Project Description

  • An increasing number of large-scale sequencing projects studies the composition of microbial communities in environments ranging from the open ocean to the human gut. 
  • These projects often yield abundance estimates for thousands of operating taxonomic units over hundreds of samples and are accompanied by rich metadata on the environment and the sequencing protocol.
  • Previously, a number of network construction techniques was developed and applied to these data sets to explore microbial community structure. 
  • However,these techniques often result in large networks, so-called "hairballs", which need to be further analysed to better understand the community under study. 
  • In this project, we will develop, implement and benchmark novel approaches to visualize, analyse and interpret these "hairballs", in order to gain biological insights from these challenging data sets.

Two types of profiles are acceptable:

Background in informatics
  • good knowledge of an object-oriented programming language, integrated development environment and modern version control system
  • at least basic knowledge of microbiology or ecology
  • strong interest in microbial ecology

Background in biology
  • good knowledge of microbiology or ecology
  • at least basic knowledge of an object-oriented programming language
  • strong motivation to improve programming skills 
  • The PhD candidate is expected to apply for a PhD fellowship and should therefore meet the eligibility criteria
  • Proficiency in English is required, knowledge of graph theory, Cytoscape or R is a plus. 
  • The PhD candidate should obtain a Master degree end of September 2017 at the latest.

  • full-time 2-year contract, with the possibility of an extension
  • enrolment at one of the top universities in Europe
  • exciting research environment
  • competitive salary 


3000 Leuven Belgium

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