University of Antwerp

Doctoral scholarship holder (PhD) entometabolomics: investigating the factors affecting the insect metabolome and its relationship with stress and welfare

2024-08-15 (Europe/Brussels)
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The Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences of the University of Antwerp (UA) is looking for a full-time doctoral scholarship holder (100%) to work on “Entometabolomics: Investigating the factors affecting the insect metabolome and its relationship with stress and welfare” in the frame of the FWO-SBO funded research project EntoBOOST - Strengthening Insect-Based Agriculture: Resolving key knowledge gaps on insect welfare, safety and gut health benefits of insect products.

The PhD project will be mostly executed at the Toxicological Centre (TC, UA), whose main competences relate to various aspects of the exposomics, such as human and environmental exposure risk assessment and monitoring, and metabolomics, where particular attention is given to the development and optimization of (bio)analytical comprehensive workflows for polar metabolites and lipids. We use MS-based metabolomics to elucidate toxicity mechanisms and pathways by identifying changes in cellular/tissue metabolites after exposure to toxicants and stress factors and providing essential input in the characterization of toxicity and exposure pathways of humans and other organisms to chemicals.

This PhD will also collaborate with the Livestock Technology group at the University of Leuven (KUL), responsible to develop, calibrate and validate a sensor platform that can measure indicators linked to the performance and behaviour of BSFL in commercial rearing conditions, and the insect research centre INAGRO.


  • You will work actively on the preparation and defence of a PhD thesis in the field of entometabolomics
  • A challenging PhD project in which the student will focus on developing, validating, and applying an instrumental platform for untargeted and targeted entometabolomics analysis. This will involve i) adapting and optimizing existing metabolomics and lipidomics platforms available at the Toxicological Centre and based on state-of-the-art instrumentation, such as LC- and GC-HRMS, ii) apply the platform to build a BSFL metabolome atlas, and iii) identify and characterize potential markers of insect metabolic stress.
  • The project will offer training (e.g. in analytical chemistry, environmental chemistry and toxicology, metabolomics, bioinformatics), and the possibility to participate in specific international courses, workshops and conferences
  • You will publish scientific articles related to the research project


  • Academic Master recognized by the EU in one of the following disciplines: (bio)chemistry, pharmaceutical sciences, bioengineering, environmental sciences, or related fields, or you will have obtained it by the time you start work
  • You can demonstrate excellent study results
  • Knowledge in analytical chemistry, in particular in separation sciences and mass spectrometry, statistics, bioinformatics. Hands-on experience in mass spectrometry is an asset
  • Your research qualities are in line with the faculty and university research policies
  • You act with attention to quality, integrity, creativity and cooperation
  • Flexibility and team spirit in an international research environment
  • Excellent oral and written English communication skills

What we offer

  • We offer a doctoral scholarship for a period of one year. Following a positive evaluation, the scholarship can be renewed for another three years.
  • The possibility to participate in international workshops and conferences
  • Scientific development opportunities in an international cooperative, interdisciplinary research environment and an excellent working atmosphere in a very dynamic, international and professional team
  • Extensive state-of-the-art equipment and infrastructure
  • The planned start date is 1st October 2024 or as soon as possible after that date
  • Your monthly scholarship amount is calculated according to the scholarship amounts for doctoral scholarship holders on the pay scales for Contract Research Staff
  • You will receive ecocheques, internet-connectivity allowance and a bicycle allowance or a full reimbursement of public transport costs for commuting
  • You will do your work mostly at Campus Drie Eiken, Wilrijk (UA) in a dynamic and stimulating working environment
  • Find out more about working at the University of Antwerp here

Want to apply?

  • You can apply for this vacancy through the University of Antwerp’s online job application platform up to and including 15 August 2024 (by midnight Brussels time). Click on the 'Apply' button and complete the online application form. Be sure to include the following attachments:
    • a motivation letter
    • your academic CV
  • The selection committee reviews all applications as soon as possible after the application deadline. Selected candidates will be invited for an interview in end of August 2024 and will be informed about the remainder of the selection procedure
  • If you have any questions about the online application form, please check the frequently asked questions or send an email to If you have any questions about the job itself, please contact Prof. Adrian Covaci,

The University of Antwerp received the European Commission’s HR Excellence in Research Award for its HR policy. We are a sustainable, family-friendly organisation which invests in its employees’ growth. We encourage diversity and attach great importance to an inclusive working environment and equal opportunities, regardless of gender identity, disability, race, ethnicity, religion or belief, sexual orientation or age. We encourage people from diverse backgrounds and with diverse characteristics to apply.

Job details

Doctoral scholarship holder (PhD) entometabolomics: investigating the factors affecting the insect metabolome and its relationship with stress and welfare
Prinsstraat 13 Antwerp, Belgium
Application deadline
2024-08-15 23:59 (Europe/Brussels)
2024-08-15 23:59 (CET)
Job type
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