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  3. PhD: Acoustic actuation of force-sensitive protein nanopores

PhD: Acoustic actuation of force-sensitive protein nanopores

We are looking for a highly motivated and enthusiastic PhD student to work in the field of mechanobiology. The interdisciplinary project concerns the …

25 dagen geleden


Mekelweg, Delft, Zuid-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 - 38 uur
€ 2325 - € 2972 per maand


We are looking for a highly motivated and enthusiastic PhD student to work in the field of mechanobiology. The interdisciplinary project concerns the development of a nanoelectromechanical system that integrates surface acoustic wave (SAW) and nanopore technologies to mechanically manipulate biological molecules and materials in biomimetic membranes.
Sensing mechanical cues is crucial for many biological processes. Mechanically-activated protein ion channels detect blood flow, lung inflation and sound waves and are responsible for the regulation of heart beating, breathing and hearing. These protein nanopores respond to pressure by enabling or blocking ion transport across biological membranes. Malfunctioning of these channels accounts for dozens of human diseases. To understand the nanomechanical opening/closing mechanisms of these proteins, it is essential to use tools that can track their dynamic response in real time.
You will create an experimental platform that interfaces acoustic tweezers with high-resolution ionic current detection to study the effect of SAW stimulation on the localization and actuation of force-sensitive protein nanopores. Using fluorescence microscopy and single-molecule conductance measurements, you will (i) monitor the spatial and temporal organization of biomolecules on the nanofluidic chip and (ii) measure the ionic current across the membrane to detect conformational changes induced by membrane perturbation in real-time. In addition, by creating mimics of normal and stiffer membranes (e.g. tumor tissue), you will investigate how the mechanical properties of the membrane influence ion transport through the nanopore.
Results from the project will, on one hand, yield fundamental knowledge of biomechanics at the single-molecule level, and on the other, they will form the basis for a novel lab-on-chip device that enables screening of compounds that inhibit or enhance transmembrane protein function.


Applicants should have the following qualifications:
• MSc degree in (bio)physics, nanoscience, engineering or a related area.
• Expertise in MEMS/NEMS, single-molecule techniques or synthetic biology is a plus.
• Strong experimental and analytical skills.
• Creative and organized, with a keen interest in interdisciplinary research.
• Collaborative attitude, with good interpersonal and communication skills.
• Proficient in spoken and written English.


TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount for health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. An International Children’s Centre offers childcare and an international primary school. Dual Career Services offers support to accompanying partners. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.
As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment; an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor; and a Doctoral Education Programme aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills. Please visit www.tudelft.nl/phd for more information.

Additional information

For information about this vacancy, you can contact Dr Sabina Caneva, Assistant Professor, email: s.l.caneva@tudelft.nl, tel: +31(0)682662966.
For information about the selection procedure, please contact Irina Bruckner, HR advisor, email: application-3mE@tudelft.nl.

Applications should include:
• a letter of motivation,
• a detailed CV, including a list of publications (if any) and a summary of your MSc thesis,
• academic transcripts,
• names and contact details of three references.

Please email your application to Irina Bruckner, email: application-3mE@tudelft.nl. When applying for this position, always refer to the vacancy number 3mE20-45.
Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until the position is filled.


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