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  3. PhD position: Nano-optics to probe protein structures

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PhD position: Nano-optics to probe protein structures

Understanding the structure, aggregation, and folding of proteins is a major research area nowadays. Improper folding and aggregation of specific proteins are …

ongeveer 2 maanden geleden


Drienerlolaan, Enschede, Overijssel
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 - 38 uur
€ 2395 - € 3061 per maand


Understanding the structure, aggregation, and folding of proteins is a major research area nowadays. Improper folding and aggregation of specific proteins are among the common cause of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. These diseases currently have a growing prevalence in the world and a high societal economic cost. While protein aggregation has been widely studied, there exists a manifold of questions about the evolution of structural conformations of single proteins before and during aggregation, the aggregation rates of single protein molecules binding to a fibril, and the forces and mechanisms that influence aggregation at the single-molecule level. Insight into these mechanisms can have a great implication for neurodegenerative diseases.

The aim of this project is to realise novel nanophotonic structures that confine optical fields in a deep subwavelength space to probe the structure of single protein molecules. Localized plasmons from plasmonic nanocavities can enhance optical intensity by several orders of magnitude and this will be used to amplify the weak intensity from single proteins. This project will explore new approaches to efficiently interface nano-optical light confinement with protein molecules without influencing their aggregation rates or structures. We are interested to study alpha-synuclein protein, which is the main cause of Parkinson’s disease and it contributes to other neurogenerative diseases. You will work with a team that has expertise in biophysics, single molecule spectroscopy, and nanophotonics.


1. You have a master’s degree (or equivalent) in physics, electrical engineering, physical chemistry or related fields with a strong background in experimental optics.

2. Experience with nanofabrication techniques and scientific programming (e.g., with Matlab or Python) are added advantages.

3. You are interested to learn new techniques and contribute to building new optical setups.

4. You enjoy working and collaborating with colleagues in a multidisciplinary team.

5. You have excellent communication skills in English, demonstrated with either an appropriate qualification in English or from previous education background.


  • A full-time 4-year PhD position.
  • Excellent and dynamic environment for researchers within our research institute MESA+ (www.utwente.nl/mesa), an attractive campus and lots of facilities for sports and leisure.
  • An offer for a personal development program within the Twente Graduate School.
  • A gross monthly salary of € 2.395 in the first year, up to € 3.061 in the fourth year.
  • A holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary, and a year-end bonus of 8.3%.
  • Full status as a University of Twente employee, including pension and health care benefits.