Development of LAMP assay for respiratory tract infection pathogens

KU Leuven
April 19 2017
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

For the Division of Mechatronics, Biostatistics and Sensors (MeBioS) we are looking for a PhD student to work in the field of bionanotechnology and more specifically on development of LAMP assays for detection of viruses and bacteria causing respiratory tract infections. Infectious diseases are a major burden to public health and the global economy, not in the least due to antimicrobial resistance. Rapid point of care (POC) in vitro diagnostics (IVD) are key tools in the effective clinical management of patients with infectious diseases. Yet there is still a large unmet clinical need for more rapid POC IVDs generating more clinically relevant, actionable information. Effectively addressing this need requires a change in the current approach in training researchers on IVDs, generating a new 'breed' of IVD researchers capable of closing the gap between the clinical and technological perspective.


EU H2020 project "New diagnostics for infectious diseases (ND4ID)" takes up this challenge by offering 15 early stage researchers (ESRs) a world-class training programme where they will be exposed to disciplines spanning clinical, technological and market-oriented view points, from both the academic and non-academic sector. As such, ND4ID will deliver ESRs that will be in high demand serving as an example for other academic and non-academic actors active in training IVD researchers and further strengthening Europe's position in the internally competitive arena of IVD technology.


For KU Leuven, as one of the partners in this EU project, we are looking for a PhD student who will be working on the topic of community acquired respiratory tract infections (RTI) and development of ultrasensitive bioassays for detecting RTI-related viruses and bacteria. The greatest clinical need for the physician in RTI is  to be able to rapidly distinguish patients presenting with viral RTI from those with bacterial RTI. Although the majority of community acquired RTI is of viral origin (estimated at 70%), physicians currently empirically prescribe antibiotics leading to their vast over-prescription. Viruses, as opposed to bacteria, not always have dsDNA, making the development of a nucleic acid based assay challenging, and making it too expensive for systematic use in primary care settings. Proteins provide an excellent alternative target, attainable by antibody-based tests. Those tests do not require target amplification, making them inherently fast, another important criterion for primary care settings. In addition, multiplexed antibody-based tests allow the inclusion of biomarkers for infection aiding to differentiate colonization from infection.


ESR hired on this project will address these clinical needs and technological challenges by working on the development of isothermal LAMP bioassay on a lateral flow device with sensitive but low-cost readout, developed within the project by another project partner (KTH, Sweden). More specifically, this ESR will work on:

- Development of singleplex and multiplex LAMP assays on ... For more information see

This job comes from a partnership with Science Magazine and Euraxess