Phd Position: In Oral Microbial Biofilm Management @ KU Leuven

Ph.D. Position: Pro- And Prebiotics In Oral Microbial Biofilm Management

The Laboratory for Oral Microbiology (Periodontology section, Department of Oral Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, KU Leuven) is searching for a talented Ph.D. student for translational research in the field of oral microbiology. With an aim to further unravel the potential of probiotics and prebiotics in oral biofilm modulation in relation to periodontal diseases. The lab has pioneered the use of probiotics and prebiotics for oral health care both at a clinical and a basic science research level. The lab has a strong background in oral microbiology, biofilm formation and interaction between the oral microbiota and host cells.

Employment percentage: Full-time
Location: Leuven, Periodontology & Oral Microbiology
Apply before: Saturday, September 15, 2018


Dental plaque is a bacterial biofilm which can lead to tooth decay and periodontitis. Not all bacteria in dental plaque contribute to these diseases as they will only develop when specific pathogens become numerically dominant in dental plaque. It should not be surprising that also these pathogens are becoming more and more resistant towards antibiotics but also to antiseptics. Therefore alternative treatment or preventive options should be explored. The outgrowth of pathogens during disease development is mirrored by a proportional reduction in certain beneficial/commensal bacteria. Group has shown both in vivo and in vitro that probiotics help to suppress this outgrowth of pathogens. Additionally, the group has shown that certain substrates (prebiotics) can modify biofilm composition by stimulating commensal bacteria. Therefore this project aims at:

  1. finding substrates and probiotics that can increase the activity of beneficial/commensal bacteria,
  2. Evaluate the effect of these substrates and probiotics on biofilm composition,
  3. Virulence gene expression within biofilms,
  4. Inflammatory potential of modified biofilms.

These aspects will be evaluated in 3 different clinically relevant biofilm models.


The Ph.D. candidate will get a full-time fellowship for 4 years (with a probation period of 6 months) in an intellectually challenging environment and state-of-the-art facilities.


For more information please contact Prof. dr. Wim Teughels, tel.: +3216332505, mail:
You can apply for this job no later than September 15, 2018, via the online application tool
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