Contact: Prof. dr. Frederic Lynen

Separation Science Group
Department of Organic and Macromolecular Chemistry
Ghent University
Krijgslaan 281, S4-bis, 4th floor
B-9000 GENT



PhD Position (m/f) – 2

Automating selectivity tuning for multi-dimensional chromatographic approaches.

Ghent University

Project description

This research project is embedded in the CHIMIC EOS project (comprising 16 PhD and postdoctoral researchers) aiming at developing expert systems allowing automated development and operation of hyphenated 1D and multidimensional (2D and 3D) separation techniques for the analysis of complex samples. In the first research component of this work the researcher will develop novel and more robust selectivity combinations in LCxLC(-MS), LCxSFC(-MS) and GCxGC(-MS). Emphasis will thereby initially be set on the development of combinations allowing enhanced chiral separation and improved separation of (often complex) mixtures of stereoisomers of pharmaceutically relevance. Similarly, novel combinations of modes for improved analysis of various natural lipid or peptide classes will also be studied in the framework of metabolomics studies. In a second section of the research a similar exercise will be made for GCxGC. The intrinsic measurement power of different phase combinations such as classical non-polar x polar and polar x non-polar, but also of more complex ionic liquid and shape-selective phases, will thereby e.g. be compared for different test mixtures selected from a library of compounds covering several chemical functionalities. This will be complemented by separations of selected volatile organic compounds (VOCs) collected in several applications of medium complexity such as forensic cases (i.e., cadaveric decomposition) and breath analyses. In the third and major research component the PhD researcher will investigate the performance of the by then (in the consortium) developed algorithms to allow automated method development in LCxLC(-MS), LCxSFC(-MS) and GCxGC(-MS) for the analysis of complex samples of natural and synthetic origin. In a fourth component of this project the research will develop viable on- and off-line 3D based separation techniques allowing the analysis of the most complex (biological) samples.


Employment conditions

Ghent University is a 200-year-old top 100 university, particularly excelling in natural sciences and in the field of chemistry. The university comprises 11 faculties and more than 43000 students. The work will be executed in the Separation Science Group (SSG) at Ugent and at the Organic and Biological Analytical Chemistry Group (OBiAChem) group at the University of Liege under the supervision of Prof. F. Lynen (Ugent, supervisor) and Prof. J. Focant (ULiege co-supervisor). The researcher will be remunerated with a competitive salary similar to wages of early career researchers in industry. Ugent offers an attractive package of fringe benefits (including excellent work facilities, child care, sport facilities, subsidized commuting expenses by public transport or by bicycle, subsidized lunch facilities, etc.). The candidate is expected to communicate and fine-tune his or her research regularly with the other 16 PhD and postdoctoral researchers (at VUB, KULeuven and ULiege) in the EOS project he will be active in. The candidate is expected to finish the project with a PhD thesis and disseminate the results through publications in peer-reviewed journals and presentations at international conferences.


Profile of the candidate

We are looking for a highly motivated and creative PhD candidate who has:

  • An excellent master’s degree or an international equivalent in the relevant fields of chemistry, chemical engineering; pharmaceutical analysis or bioengineering;
  • A strong interest in separation sciences, mass spectrometry and chemical analysis;
  • Interest in technical problem solving and in the development and use of algorithmic method development approaches;
  • Excellent research and scientific writing skills;
  • Perseverance and an independent, pro-active, working style;
  • The willingness to look beyond borders of his or her own discipline and strong motivation to work in a multidisciplinary team;
  • Excellent collaboration and communication skills (written and verbally) in English.


How to apply

To apply for this position, please send your c.v., motivation letter, a pdf copy of your Masters’ thesis and the contact information of two individuals to provide a recommendation to The application deadline is August 10th 2019. The starting date of the contract will be October 1st 2019 (or if possible earlier). Mention the PhD project (1 or 2) you are applying for.