4 PhD/Post doc positions on Building a Synthetic Cell and Biophysics of Membrane transport

4 PhD/Post doc positions on Building a Synthetic Cell and Biophysics of Membrane transport

University of Groningen

Groningen, Netherlands

The University of Groningen provides an excellent environment for top-notch research in the field of biomolecular sciences. In the framework of a national programme on the construction of a synthetic cell, 4 PhD/Postdoc positions are available in the Membrane Enzymology group of the University of Groningen in The Netherlands.

The building of a synthetic cell is a great scientific and intellectual challenge for biophysicists, biochemists, and biologists. We aim to take on this challenge in the context of the NWO Gravitation Programme BaSyC (https://www.tudelft.nl/en/2017/tu-delft/dutch-researchers-join-forces-to-build-synthetic-cell/). We will combine biomolecular building blocks to create an autonomous self-reproducing cell – a synthetic cell that can sustain itself, grow, replicate and divide.

The characterization of membrane transport mechanism is intimately associated with the aim of building a synthetic cell. Small molecule transport is essential for maintaining out-of-equilibrium compartmentalization, an inherent characteristic of life. In the context of an NWO TOP programme, we aim to characterize membrane transporter at the single-molecule and single-liposome level.

4 PhD/Postdoc positions are available for experimental research:
(i) to experimentally reconstruct metabolism for cell fuelling, with the ability to produce energy carriers and molecular building blocks
(ii) to build pathways that are responsible for the biosynthesis of lipids and macromolecules and integrate these pathways into a synthetic cell
(iii) to establish single molecule transport assays, and build devices to measure transport across membranes of single liposomes.

Job description
We will design and synthesize vesicle systems for metabolic energy generation (ATP and electrochemical ion gradients) and equip them with mechanisms for cellular homeostasis (control of pH, ionic strength, redox state). A further challenge will be to connect the energy conservation with ATP- and ion gradient-dependent reactions of the synthetic cells, including the uptake of sufficient nutrients and excretion of reaction products, the synthesis of cell components (lipids), and the initiation of cell division. The vesicles will be equipped with fluorescence-based sensors to obtain quantitative data about the performance of the cells (fluxes, physiochemical conditions, volume), including measurements with single vesicle resolution. We have different projects for which expertise in protein chemistry, membrane biology, microfluidics, advanced microscopy (including data analysis) and metabolic modelling is required. Preference will be given to candidates with a background in biophysics. PhD and Postdoc candidates will closely collaborate with colleagues in other teams to bridge the multidisciplinary challenges both in experimental work and theory.

• the most important criteria are enthusiasm, excellence, commitment to research and team spirit; educational background preferably in the area of bioengineering, biochemistry and biophysics (see Job descriptions)
• candidates for a PhD position need to have completed a European master’s degree or equivalent prior to the application deadline; postdoc candidates need to have completed their PhD
• excellent proficiency in English language.

Conditions of employment
Salary will be commensurate with experience (and type of position: PhD or Postdoc) and is in addition to a generous fringe benefit package.

For the PhD position
The University of Groningen offers, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, a salary of € 2,325 gross per month in the first year, up to a maximum of € 2,972 gross per month in the fourth and final year, based on a full-time position (1.0 FTE), excluding a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income and a 8.3% end-of-the-year allowance. The position is limited to a period of 4 years. A PhD training programme is part of the agreement and the successful candidate will be enrolled in the Graduate School of Science and Engineering.

The successful candidate will first be offered a temporary position of one year with the option of renewal for another three years. Prolongation of the contract is contingent on sufficient progress in the first year to indicate that a successful completion of the PhD thesis within the next three years is to be expected.

For the Postdoc position
The University of Groningen offers a salary dependent on qualifications and work experience of € 2,709 gross per month up to a maximum of € 4,274 gross per month (salary scale 10 Dutch Universities) for a full-time position. This position is defined according to the UFO function profile ‘researcher 4’.

You may apply for this position until 14 April 11.59pm / before 15 April 2019 Dutch local time by means of the application form (click on “Apply” below on the advertisement on the university website).

We would like to receive:

  • a letter of motivation
  • a CV
  • a brief description of your research interests and accomplishments
  • two letters of recommendation from former advisors/professors.
    Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.

For information you can contact:

Prof. Bert Poolman ( b.poolman@rug.nl), Membrane Enzymology, +31 50 3633385 secr.
Prof. Dirk-Jan Slotboom (d.j.slotboom@rug.nl ), Structural Membrane Biology, +31 50 3634187.
Please do not use the e-mail address(es) above for applications.

Additional information
For information about the research group

Please apply via recruiter’s website.

Quote Reference: 219121-24