Fully Funded PhD Position – Multiscale Modelling of Ethylene Transport in Tomato Fruit – at KU Leuven University, Belgium

Fully Funded PhD Position - Multiscale Modelling of Ethylene Transport in Tomato Fruit - at KU Leuven University, Belgium.

Fully Funded PhD Position – Multiscale Modelling of Ethylene Transport in Tomato Fruit – at KU Leuven University, Belgium.

The lab of Prof. Nicolai at KU Leuven (Belgium) consists of a world-class team of dynamic researchers that investigate the physiology of perishable fruit and vegetables after harvest, with a strong engineering emphasis. We offer a stimulating work environment for those who are interested in scientific research on the verge of fundamental and applied research, with a high relevance to making food supply more sustainable. KU Leuven ranks 42 on the Times Higher Eduction World University Rankings, and 7 on Reuters Most Innovative Universities Worldwide (being No. 1 in Europe).


Project Description

Tomato fruit has been successfully used for many years as a model system to study ripening of fleshy fruit at the molecular level. Given their relatively impermeable fruit skin, tomato fruit is expected to develop internal gas gradients, potentially leading to localised hypoxia and ethylene accumulation just beneath the skin. The hypothesis is that this triggers pore formation to facilitate gas transport and alleviate these gas gradients.

The focus of the project is on 3D microstructural analyses using advanced X-ray microtomography techniques to visualise pore formation during fruit development, and extending an existing multiscale mathematical model for oxygen transport to describe ethylene transport. The model will then be used to quantify oxygen and ethylene concentration profiles in the fruit and relate them to pore formation.


The lab is looking for a highly motivated PhD candidate, that has a strong interest in both experimental techniques and mathematical modelling. You are a team-player, you have a critical mind, you are willing to learn new techniques and you can work accurately. You have an MSc degree in Bioscience Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Mathematical Biology, Physics or equivalent



The lab offers you a full-time position to complete a PhD, with intermediate progress evaluations (4 years in total). The lab will support you in all aspects in order to successfully obtain a PhD degree and a proper scientific training. You will have an advanced training in experimental techniques such as X-ray microtomography and mathematical modelling of transport processes. You will have opportunities to participate in national and international meetings, work closely with industrial partners and establish your own network. You will have also extensive possibilities to gain experience in transferal skills.



For more information please contact Prof. dr. ir. Bart Nicolai, tel.: +32 16 32 23 75, mail: [email protected]


Dr. ir. Pieter Verboven, tel.: +32 16 32 14 53, mail: [email protected].

You can apply for this job no later than June 15, 2022 via the online application tool


KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at [email protected]


Read also : PhD fellowship/scholarship (REFOPACK Reshaping of food packaging towards recyclability: the role of bioinspired nanocoatings) in Aarhus University, Denmark

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