PhD: Bio-active characteristics flora

Source: Naomi van Slijpe

PhD: Bio-active characteristics flora

PhD: Bio-active characteristics flora

Facilitated with funding from the European Development Fund (EDF), the University of Aruba is a young and dynamic university that was founded in 1988. Since its existence, the university has not stopped and currently consists of four faculties, namely the Faculty of Law, the Financial-Economic Faculty, the Faculty of Hotel and Tourism Management Studies and the Faculty of Arts and Science. Our primary activity, providing education, is supported and facilitated by our Offices Centers and other support staff.

The University of Aruba, in collaboration with KU Leuven (Belgium), is seeking to expand its research and teaching capacity in bio-environmental engineering, technology, engineering, informatics, and data sciences. In 2019 the curriculum of the new academic bachelor in sciences, technology and engineering and mathematics (STEM) will open its doors and will graduate its first bachelors in 2022. This three-year program will consist of a 180 European credits program with a focus on sustainable development in small island states. A 90 credit master program will start in 2021. For this new STEM sciences program, the University of Aruba will start with the education and research training of the new academic staff needed to provide this program and is looking for a:



Bio-active characteristics of Aruban flora.

(1,0 fte.)

The main responsibilities are:
The junior researcher will teach modules in the program and conduct PhD research within a PhD research program at the University of Aruba and KU Leuven. The PhD is expected to be completed in 2022/23.

Project: Bio-active characteristics of Aruban flora.
In this project, we plan to investigate Aruban plants that contain bio-active compounds that may be further developed into medicinally relevant compounds. In a first stage, we have to identify prospective plants, possibly based on locally available knowledge, including folk medicine. Extracts will have to be investigated for bio-activity and fractionated into single compounds. The KU Leuven Department of Chemistry can contribute, with its state-of-the art spectroscopic equipment, in the structure elucidation of the compounds, and also participate in the design and synthesis of structural analogs of the lead natural products. The biological properties (e.g. antiviral, anticancer) could be tested in collaboration with the Rega institute.

Key words:
·      Biological screening of extracts of Aruban flora
·      Isolation of single bio-active compounds by fractionating including advanced chromatographic techniques
·      Structure elucidation: NMR, MS, FTIR, X-ray crystallography

·      Design and synthesis of derivatives with improved bio-activity

Responsible professor for this project at KU Leuven:
Prof. Wim Dehaen 
Department of Chemistry - Molecular Design and Synthesis, KU Leuven

The ideal candidate:
·     Holds a master’s degree in a relevant discipline from an accredited university.
·     Has an affinity for research, academic education and sustainable development through sciences and engineering.
·     Has an ambition to contribute to sustainable development.
·     Is a team-player that can also work independently.
·     Is open for coaching and training and can provide and receive constructive feedback to/from peers and students.
·     Has excellent verbal and written communication skills in English.

The University of Aruba offers:
Candidates will be registered as research students of KU Leuven and receive excellent educational training and coaching as well as research training and supervision by both KU Leuven and the University of Aruba. An exciting new opportunity for a four-year term contract, on the condition that the research proposal is approved in the first year. This four-year contract provides an attractive benefit package including APFA pension, additional health insurance, and a competitive wage.After successful completion of the PhD program, junior researchers are eligible for senior academic positions in the program.

Interested? Visit our website and submit your application letter and resume before Saturday, August 31, 2019, through our career portal: for the specific PhD project you are interested in. If you need further information regarding the position, please contact us at One (or more) job interviews, a medical exam, an assessment test and a certificate of good conduct are in accordance with our rules of application and a standard part of our recruitment and selection procedure.

Candidates with a demonstrated strong affinity for Aruba and the Caribbean and for challenges in small island states are strongly encouraged to apply.