Laboratory technician


IMAQUA is Contract Research Organisation that provides contract research services to the shrimp aquaculture industry. We provide high quality testing services for application on the development, validation and valorisation of shrimp health products. We consult on conceptual issues and various aspects of shrimp health and immunity.


Laboratory technician at our microbiology laboratory will have the responsibility for supporting laboratory management, client trials and internal R&D activities essential to the innovation portfolio and smooth functioning of IMAQUA.

The ideal candidate should have a strong interest in animal sciences, particularly aquaculture and previous laboratory experience. Besides the ability to follow protocols and instructions and flawlessly executing of laboratory procedures, he/she should share our passion for driving innovation with the highest quality standards.

You will work alongside our scientific staff on challenging research projects in shrimp aquaculture. We offer an attractive salary package proportional to performance and responsibilities.


· 3-5 years of laboratory work experience

· Studies in biotechnology or similar

· Proficient with following techniques: qPCR, Microbiology, Histology

· Hands on experience working with laboratory animals

· Must be able to handle multiple assignments successfully

· Must be precise and accurate, well organised with excellent time management skills

· Must be able to perform in a fast-paced environment

· Good mathematical (basic statistical skills highly desirable), problem-solving and analytical skills

· Well-developed interpersonal skills

· Possess strong initiative, professional, team player attitude

· Ability to follow strict standard operating procedures (SOPs) and to develop new ones

· Discrete and able to handle confidential data

· Excellent English language skills, spoken and written

· Ready to work on periodical weekend shift

· Has driving license


Planning and execution of in vitro microbiological/molecular tests and in vivo infection trials:

· Bacterial culture

· Determination of MIC of experimental antibiotics, probiotics and feed additives

· Bacteriostatic activity with agar diffusion assay of experimental products

· Fixation and staining of thin sections of shrimp tissues

· Microbiology test of shrimp gut digestive and hepatopancreas

· Analysis immune parameter of shrimp haemolymph and tissues

· Shrimp haemocyte collection, total count and differential count

· Probiotics and pathogen co-culture assay

· Shrimp gene expression analysis

· Planning and preparation of trial documentation

· Setting up and execution of controlled infection experiments on shrimp

· Drafting of internal reports

Organisation and quality control:

· Responsible for routine laboratory compliance and maintenance

· Managing laboratory materials stocks and inventory

· Ensures strict adherence to biosafety rules and procedures

· Manages laboratory records and files

Handling and execution:

· Correct blood withdrawal from shrimp & testing of immune parameters

· Examination of animals for behavioural changes or clinical symptoms

· Ensures execution of GLPs in the lab and follow safety rules and procedures

· Development of daily planning of laboratory procedures and coordinating their execution


An attractive salary package proportional to performance and responsibilities

Intensive in-house training and coaching

Being part of an international team of aquaculture experts at a dynamic company

Participating in exiting aquaculture research projects

Free coffee/tea/fruit

If you are interested, please send your CV in pdf format to

Closing date: 15/05/2024

Animal research technician


Currently we are looking for an animal research technician to join our young and dynamic international team working on challenging research projects in shrimp aquaculture. Working alongside other scientific staff you will support our research activities through daily shrimp care, monitoring, recording and reporting on various shrimp health parameters.


Your tasks among others will include:

  • Feeding the shrimp and monitoring of various shrimp health parameters
  • Preparation of shrimp feed
  • Reporting through collection and entry of data into the electronic database
  • Daily maintenance and support of shrimp breeding facilities
  • Carrying out shrimp breeding procedures
  • Carrying out various experimental trial procedures, including preparation and clearing up of experimental facilities
  • Contributing to optimisation of existing standard operating procedures and work instructions.


  • Bachelor degree in animal care, biology or related study fields
  • Experience in animal care
  • Experience in aquaculture is a plus
  • Flexible, proactive and motivated
  • Solution oriented
  • Eye for detail, precision, discipline
  • Resilience and strong sence of responsibility
  • Willing to work on weekend rotation (1-2 weekends per month)
  • Good spoken English


An attractive salary package proportional to performance and responsibilities

Intensive in-house training and coaching

Being part of an international team of aquaculture experts at a dynamic company

Participating in exiting aquaculture research projects

Free coffee/tea/fruit 

If you think you are a good match for our requirements, then please apply via this link:

or send your CV and motivation letter via email to

Closing date for applications 31/01/2023


IMAQUA is looking for a highly motivated and driven candidate to organise and manage various research projects and activities, coordinate and supervise the team at our premises in Belgium.


– PhD degree in Veterinary Medicine, Bioengineering, Biology or related fields

– Proven management skills (time/processes/resources)

– Efficiency and effectiveness in performance of tasks

– Ability to multitask, prioritise and solve problems,

– Analytic mindset, attention to detail

– Driven and energetic team player

– Strong sense of responsibility

– Ability to develop procedures, draft work proposals and reports

– Effective communicator

– Excellent English (spoken and written)

– Advanced knowledge of Excel and other Microsoft office tools, statistic program


Management of contract research trials and related activities:

· Plan, coordinate and supervise execution of trial activities, solve issues

· Analyse data, draft proposals and reports

· Liaise with clients

· Oversee day to day activities of the team and training

· Develop and enforce research policies and Standard Operating Procedures

· Manage and optimise the workflows

Management of R&D projects and related activities:

· Contribute to project proposals

· Plan, coordinate and execute R&D projects, manage project resources

· Liaise with project stakeholders

· Report, keep documentation up to date and organised


– An attractive salary package proportional to performance and responsibilities

– Intensive in-house training and coaching

– A possibility of rapid career development

– Being part of an international team of aquaculture experts at a dynamic company

– Participating in exciting aquaculture research projects

Please apply via linkedin

or our website

before 30/01/2024

Board of Scientific Advisors

Two renowned Ghent University professors Dr. Hans Nauwynck and Dr. ir. Peter Bossier who have been providing support and scientific advice since creation of IMAQUA through partnerships, student collaborations and joint research projects, including Baekeland PhD mandates, have finally joined in a more formal role as IMAQUA’s Board of Scientific Advisors.  

IMAQUA established Board of Scientific Advisors with a purpose to advise the company on its research activities, plans and organisational structure in turn facilitating the creation of knowledge and further development of IMAQUA’s shrimp health research portfolio. The Board should meet at least four times per year to deliberate on various pertinent research topics.

Prof. Dr. Hans Nauwynck is the director of the Laboratory of Virology. He has more than 20 years of experience in research on viral diseases in mammals, fish and crustaceans. 

At present, he lectures several courses on viral diseases in mammals, fish and shellfish. His research focuses on the molecular pathogenesis of viral diseases in humans and animals, with special emphasis on (i) the entry of the virus in its host cell, (ii) the invasion of the virus in its host through barriers, via leukocytes and along neurons and (iii) the escape of the virus from immunity. Better insights led to the development of new diagnostics, better viral disease control measures and tailor-made vaccines. 

With 20 years of experience in the field of viral shrimp infections, he uses his expertise on pathogenesis and control of viral diseases to identify and document the way White Spot Syndrome Virus (WSSV) infects and kills its host.

He is (co-)author of more than 400 publications, past promoter of over 70 PhDs, owner of multiple patents and founder of UGent spin-off Pathosense.

Prof. Dr. ir. Peter Bossier is globally renown leading expert on multiple aquaculture research domains such as microbial community management, host-microbial interactions, genetics, microbiome, blue biotechnology and disease management. He is (co-)author of more than 350 publications, past promotor of over 65 PhDs and Editor of “Aquaculture” Journal since 2017.

Professor Bossier has recently retired from the directorship of the Laboratory of Aquaculture & Artemia Reference Center at Ghent University, where for over 20 years he managed all scientific research of the Center, MSc in Aquaculture program (and since 2021 the Erasmus Mundus Master Programme in “Aquaculture Health Management”) and coordinated research groups, inter-university research programs and projects, including joint Baekeland PhD projects and industrial research projects with IMAQUA. 

New Baekeland mandate holder – Anusha

Introducing Anusha Dissanayake – IMAQUA’s new PhD candidate under Baekeland mandate, granted by VLAIO (Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship organisation), who is embarking on a new scientific journey with IMAQUA/Ghent University project “Hepatopancreatic microsporidiosis in shrimp: setup of new laboratory methods to allow study of pathogenesis and immune defense”.  This project aims at advancing our understanding of the pathogenesis of EHP disease in shrimp as well as establishing validated contract research models for its further exploration within the industry.

Anusha obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Fisheries and Aquaculture from the University of Ruhuna in Sri Lanka where she commenced her academic career as a temporary demonstrator and lecturer. Her passion for the field led her to Belgium, where under the VLIR OUS scholarship she earned her Master’s in Aquaculture from Ghent University. Specializing in aquatic resources management, her thesis delved into the reduction techniques of Geosmin and 2-MIB using Biofloc technology. After the master’s degree, Anusha continued as a university lecturer on Aquaculture and Aquatic Resource Management back in Sri Lanka.

IMAQUA @Aquaculture Europe 2023 in Vienna

The innovation breeze is floating in the air at a vibrant and full of action conference in Vienna. Natasja Cox’s presentation on Effect of salinity drop on susceptibility to WSSV infection in Litopenaeus vannamei shrimp using a per os challenge model yesterday was intriguing (to say the least) and today we are continuing with making new connections, exchanging ideas and putting together action plans for the new year ahead.

New publication in Viruses MDPI

We are very pleased to announce that the newest paper of our PhD Candidate, Natasja Cox, entitled “The Way of Water: Unravelling White Spot Syndrome Virus (WSSV) Transmission Dynamics in Litopenaeus vannamei Shrimp” has now been published in Viruses MDPI. This study was the result of a collaboration between IMAQUA and the Laboratory of Virology and the Department of Morphology at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, and the Laboratory of Aquaculture & Artemia Reference Center, at the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University.

For accessing full article:


Imaqua is present at the Blauwe Innovatiedorp in Oostend today, 01-06-2023. As a partner in the BlueMarine³.Com project we present the research towards a viable multispecies hatchery including L. vannamei to the public. Meet us at stand B5!

PhD candidate position

Doctoral project title: 

Hepatopancreatic microsporidiosis in shrimp: development of new laboratory techniques for studying pathogenesis and defence


Aquaculture of shrimp has become an important industry worldwide, but disease outbreaks remain a major problem. One of the most recently discovered pathogens in shrimp is the microsporidia Enterocytozoon hepatopenaei (EHP). Microsporidia are fascinating organisms, obligate intracellular parasites that belong phylogenetically to the fungi but share some properties with viruses. EHP has been associated with disease of the digestive system (hepatopancreatic microsporidiosis) and retarded growth. However, many aspects of this disease are not yet well understood, such as the pathogenesis and immune response of the shrimp. In addition, there are specific challenges associated with working with microsporidia in the laboratory that need to be addressed first.

This PhD project will be carried out in a collaboration between IMAQUA and Ghent University.

IMAQUA is a professional Contract Research Organization (CRO) established in 2015 as a spin-off company of Ghent University to conduct contract research for the shrimp farming industry. At IMAQUA, shrimp diseases and host defenses are studied in detail to establish science-based disease models.

The Aquaculture Laboratory at the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering of UGent has a very long experience and proven track record in (doctoral) research. Besides its role as Artemia Reference Center (ARC), the research group has an extensive international network in countries with shrimp aquaculture and close collaboration with other faculties at UGent.

To make this PhD project possible, an application for a Baekeland mandate will be submitted to VLAIO, the Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship of the Flemish Government. Baekeland mandates aim to offer researchers the opportunity to perform a PhD in close collaboration with a company.

Assignment of the doctoral candidate and research proposal

  • Implementation of the research project in collaboration with IMAQUA and Ugent (employed at IMAQUA, enrolled as a PhD at Ugent). 
  • The main activity is scientific research, including literature study, practical work in laboratories and with live laboratory animals. This work will be carried out at both UGent and IMAQUA based on the cooperation agreement between the two organizations.
  • The ultimate goal of this research is to complete a dissertation within a four-year period, based on published articles in scientific journals.
  • Furthermore, the doctoral candidate will also present his/her results at international scientific conferences and workshops.
  • The plan of the research project has already been worked out by the promoters.
  • The doctoral candidate will have to defend the submitted project before a jury of VLAIO, where especially the motivation and scientific attitude of the candidate will be evaluated.

Profile of the candidate

  • You have a Master’s degree in veterinary medicine, bioengineering sciences or similar biomedical field.
  • You have a basic knowledge in laboratory techniques (pipetting, sterile working,…) and biosafety concepts.
  • You have a strong interest in research and want to master a subject in a systematic and scientific way.
  • You are a go-getter, with self-reliance, but also good to work in a team.
  • You are motivated and determined to work hard for 4 years and make a PhD thesis.
  • Your English language skills are impeccable (verbal and written).
  • You are willing to work partly in Ghent and partly in Lochristi. 

We offer you

  • The possibility to obtain a PhD within the duration of the mandate. A mandate lasts in principle four years (2 years, and after positive evaluation a second term of 2 years). 
  • The opportunity to participate in a breakthrough in the research of a pathogen that is still little understood. In addition, microsporidia occur in most animal species, including humans where the discovery occurred only in the 1980s in HIV patients, providing many career opportunities toward the future.
  • Support from a dynamic team of colleagues for hands-on work.
  • Support by experienced scientists and professors for publishing and presenting your research work in scientific journals and at international conferences.
  • Employment at IMAQUA with salary package corresponding to the rules of PC207.

Contact and timing

  • Submit application and CV: mail to
  • The application period runs until March 1, 2023.

Selected candidates will be invited for a personal interview in the first week of March 2023

Kick-start of C-Shrimp project

Crystal clear shrimp: next generation water filtration and waste up-cycling, for sustainable and profitable indoor shrimp farming

Duration: December 1, 2022 – November 30, 2025

Label: DBC project (ongoing)

The last decade has seen a strong growing interest in aquaculture and related activities in Flanders, both from the industrial side and from the government. A general problem that arises and complicates further scaling up to commercial sites is the high cost of production and the increasing pressure on local resources (water, space, raw materials). This project will make it possible to produce larger volumes of sea food on smaller areas, at a competitive market price and according to sustainable principles.

The overall objective of this project is to develop an indoor shrimp culture concept with zero water exchange and almost zero waste production. The new concept is based on improved clear-water technology, enabling intensive shrimp farming. At the same time, the footprint will also be reduced by recycling waste into a product that promotes shrimp health. To that end, C-shrimp will:

– Build a new experimental facility as the starting platform to develop all the tools. 

– Add a module to grow microalgae that will remove nitrate from the system.

– Develop a new filtration system to remove significantly more solid sludge from the shrimp RAS system. 

– Develop a new fermentation process to convert shrimp RAS waste into a feed material for shrimp farms. 

– Develop a modified shrimp diet that has immunostimulatory effects and contains less fish and soybean meal.

In the first place, this project is needed to farm sufficient shrimp for the expanding CRO work of IMAQUA in Flanders. If this new farming concept can be successfully commercialized in the future, it will be a breakthrough for European fish, shellfish and crustacean production and improve competition with imported products. The techniques developed will also be relevant for scaling up hatchery and nursery installations.

Partners: IMAQUA, Avecom, Trome, Ghent University

With the support of: VLAIO and the European Union

Contact person: Lien Loosvelt


The FResCO project of the spearhead clusters Catalisti and De Blauwe Cluster was recognized as an intercluster project within the Flemish policy plan bio-economy, financed from the relaunch plan ‘Flemish Resilience’. With these funds, the Flemish government gives an extra impulse by supporting (inter)cluster projects between the research world and various private sectors that fall within one or more of the themes defined in the bioeconomy policy plan.