PhD Integrated Early Warning Surveillance | Targeted detection of emerging viruses and exploring their phenotypic characteristics

You can apply for this vacancy via the Werkenbij Website of Erasmus MC.

Deadline: September 30, 2022.

Job description

Erasmus MC, TU Delft, and Erasmus University Rotterdam have joined forces in the Pandemic and Disaster Preparedness Center (PDPC). PDPC aims to prepare society for future pandemics and disasters. We will reduce vulnerabilities and risks and build resilience through effective disaster prevention, preparedness and recovery measures. Convergence of the technical, medical and social sciences is essential for developing the next generation of approaches to disasters and pandemics. In the foreseeable future, our society can expect many more and unforeseen virus outbreaks and extreme events because of climate change. But how do we protect society from the next pandemic or disaster? Which of the lessons learnt could develop prevention and intervention measures, and how could research contribute to preparedness?

One of the pillars of preparedness is a well-functioning early warning system. As most emerging diseases come from animal reservoirs and the extensive global transport networks could aid the fast dissemination of these diseases, early warning focusing on detection of changes in the ecology of diseases in wildlife or livestock could potentially prevent large outbreaks. In this frontrunner project on integrated early warning surveillance tools and methods, 3 PhD students and one postdoc will work with a large multidisciplinary team of senior researchers. The project is highly collaborative. Within the project we aim to identify and characterize critical nodes in the complex global network of transport and migration for the emergence and dissemination of new viruses. Using rapid deployable and innovative sampling and detection methods we will further investigate these critical nodes.

As a PhD student in this project, you will focus on the detection of viruses of concern, with a focus on virus families that are most likely to cause large outbreaks and those that would have the largest disruptive impact on society. It is anticipated, that sampling throughout the global transport networks will result in the detection of genome sequences of novel and emerging viruses. For selected (enteric) viruses these sequences will be used in phenotypical assays to e.g. characterize antigenic and binding properties, to explore genotype to phenotype translation. This will allow you to investigate viral properties of novel viruses, and how this relates to their ability to cause outbreaks.

Within the project you will collaborate with two PhD students positioned at TU Delft to optimize and validate the sampling and detection methods. In addition, you will take part in field work in the Port of Rotterdam and Schiphol Airport and some of the research will take place at the KWR water research institute, Wageningen University and Research, and TU Delft. During the project you will also closely collaborate with GGD Rotterdam Rijnmond, and Erasmus University.

Work environment

The Department of Viroscience ( at Erasmus MC employs more than 140 employees of different disciplines and runs an extensive experimental research program on the epidemiology, pathogenesis, prevention and treatment of infections by human and animal viruses. All necessary equipment to carry out the research proposed in the projects is available within the setting of the department. The Department of Viroscience harbors well-equipped clinical and experimental virology labs, in which all the virology, molecular biology, pathology and immunology techniques necessary for these projects are operational.

Qualifications and skills

  • A MSc degree (MSc) from an accredited academic program in Biology, Biomedical or molecular sciences, immunology, or (veterinary) Medicine.
  • Demonstrable experience with cell culture and various molecular and/or and virological techniques are necessary.
  • Experience in gathering and analyzing large data sets from public literature or databases.
  • Good social and communication skills; Excellent report writing and presentation skills.
  • Good time management and organisational skills. Inquisitive, reflective and eager to grow;
  • Excellent command of the English language.
  • We expect dedication and enthusiasm for innovative research, combined with scientific curiosity and the capacity for teamwork in an interdisciplinary environment.
  • To be appointed, you must be able to obtain a certificate of good conduct.

Before you apply please check Erasmus MC’s conditions for employment.

Terms of employment

You will receive a temporary position for 4 years. The gross monthly salary is € 2.631 ,- in the 1st year and increases to € 3.336,- in the 4th year (scale OIO).

  • Excellent fringe benefits, such as a 13th month that is already paid out in November and an individual travel expense package.
  • Pension insurance with ABP, we take care of approximately 2/3 of the monthly contribution.
  • Special benefits, such as an in-company physiotherapist and bicycle repairer. There is also a gym where you can work on your fitness after work.

More information

For more information about this position, please contact Dr. Miranda de Graaf, e-mail:

If you are excited about this position and would like to apply, please do so by using the application form on our website.

No agencies please.

Let’s go!

Are you interested in this vacancy? To apply, please submit the mandatory documents via Erasmus MC by September 30, 2022.

Apply now