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PhD opportunity: Mechanism of meiotic recombination.

We are welcoming applications from students to join the team of Corentin Claeys Bouuaert at the Louvain Institute of Biomolecular Science and Technology (LIBST-UCLouvain, Belgium) to study meiotic recombination for their PhD training.


To generate haploid gametes necessary for sexual reproduction, eukaryotes induce a genome-wide mechanism of DNA recombination during meiosis that promotes the pairing and accurate segregation of homologous chromosomes. This process starts with the programmed induction of DNA double-strand breaks by the topoisomerase-related protein, Spo11. Repair of the DNA breaks by homologous recombination leads to the formation of crossovers, reciprocal exchanges of DNA fragments between parental chromosomes that promote genetic diversity and evolution. The laboratory seeks to understand the molecular mechanisms whereby meiotic double-strand breaks are formed and subsequently repaired. Several projects are available that involve state-of-the-art biochemistry and molecular genetics using yeast as a model organism, with possibilities to apply methods based on atomic-force microscopy, fluorescence microscopy, and proteomics.

Your profile:

We are seeking highly motivated students with a strong interest in chromosome biology and the molecular mechanisms of nucleic-acid processing enzymes. Applicants must have a Master in a field related to molecular biology or biochemistry and are expected to demonstrate an excellent academic background and experimental skills. No specific expertise is required, but experience with protein purifications, nucleic acids biochemistry, or yeast genetics are a plus. Students will benefit from close mentorship throughout their project, but must demonstrate an interest in taking on new challenges and acquiring new skills, and will be expected to drive their project independently.


The laboratory is located on the campus of Louvain-La-Neuve, a human-size pedestrian city that hosts the largest French-speaking university of Belgium with over 30.000 students. The environment offers excellent quality of life, with many possibilities of socio-cultural and sport activities, and is well-connected to Brussels. The team of Dr. Claeys Bouuaert started in the summer of 2019 and currently consists of four PhD students, two postdocs, and a research technician. The team is largely international and the working language is English, hence proficiency in English is essential.


The position is available until filled, but applications are unlikely to be considered after December 1st, 2020. The starting date is as soon as possible, ideally by January 2021. The position is fully funded, but the candidate will be expected to apply at least once to a Belgian national PhD funding source such as FRIA and/or FNRS. Net allowance is around 2000 euros per month.


Interested applicants should send a letter with a brief description of their research interests, a curriculum vitae, and the contact information of three references to Corentin Claeys Bouuaert

Relevant literature:

- Claeys Bouuaert et al., (2020) DNA-dependent macromolecular condensation drives self-assembly of the meiotic DNA break machinery (preprint).

- Claeys Bouuaert et al., (2020) Structural and functional characterization of the Spo11 core complex (preprint).