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PhD in active self-organization of DNA-coated vesicles

PhD in active self-organization of DNA-coated vesicles

Are you fascinated by the way cells organize into intricate structures and do you have a background in chemistry or physics? We are looking for an enthusiastic young scientist to join our team and help develop experimental model systems for bioinspired self-organization.
Irène Curie Fellowship
Chemical Engineering and Chemistry
Date off
Reference number

Job description

In our lab, we take a biomimetic approach to addressing fundamental questions about biological self-organization. We build experimental model systems using soft materials such as vesicles, colloids, emulsions, and polymers, that mimic specific features of living systems, such as the ability to self-organize, to move directionally, or to communicate chemically.

In this project, you will produce an experimental model of DNA-coated vesicles with controllable stickiness to learn about the role of adhesion changes on cell motion. To grow from a shapeless clump into an intact animal, cells must move by pushing each other out of the way. How strong the cells stick together plays an important role in this process, but it is unknown how exactly changes in their stickiness affect their movement. You will address this question.

Practically, you will work develop skills in microfluidics, DNA nanotechnology, microscopy, and image analysis to make and study the model system. You will also compare your findings to literature results from simulations and living cells.

You will join a diverse team of chemists, physicists, and biologists in the Self-Organizing Soft Matter lab with a range of nationalities. Our lab encourages collaborations and teamwork and fosters an inclusive working environment.

Job requirements

We are seeking a talented, motivated, and enthusiastic young researcher with a background in physical chemistry or soft matter.

The successful candidate has:

  • A master’s degree (or equivalent university degree) in Physical Chemistry, Soft Matter, or a related topic
  • A quantitative approach to research
  • Scientific curiosity and motivation to do original, fundamental research
  • Ability to work in an interdisciplinary team of physicist and chemists
  • Motivation to develop your teaching skills and coach students
  • Good communication skills: you must be fluent in spoken and written English

You should be interested in honing your experimental skills including microfluidics, DNA nanotechnology, microscopy, and quantitative image analysis. You should be interested a critical comparison between experimental data and theoretical predictions.

An interview and a scientific presentation are part of the selection process.

Conditions of employment

A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university, in an interdisciplinary setting and within an international network. You will work on a beautiful, green campus within walking distance of the central train station. In addition, we offer you:

  • Full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation (go/no-go) after nine months. You will spend 10% of your employment on teaching tasks.
  • Salary and benefits (such as a pension scheme, paid pregnancy and maternity leave, partially paid parental leave) in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, scale PhD (min. € 2.770 max. € 3.539).
  • A year-end bonus of 8.3% and annual vacation pay of 8%.
  • High-quality training programs and other support to grow into a self-aware, autonomous scientific researcher. At TU/e we challenge you to take charge of your own learning process.
  • An excellent technical infrastructure, on-campus children's day care and sports facilities.
  • An allowance for commuting, working from home and internet costs.
  • A Staff Immigration Team and a tax compensation scheme (the 30% facility) for international candidates.

Information and application

About us

Eindhoven University of Technology is an internationally top-ranking university in the Netherlands that combines scientific curiosity with a hands-on attitude. Our spirit of collaboration translates into an open culture and a top-five position in collaborating with advanced industries. Fundamental knowledge enables us to design solutions for the highly complex problems of today and tomorrow. 


Do you recognize yourself in this profile, and would you like to know more?
Please contact the hiring manager, Pepijn Moerman, p.g.moerman[at]

Visit our website for more information about the application process or the conditions of employment. You can also contact Leo van Houten, l.v.houten[at] or +31 40 247 8269.

Are you inspired and would like to know more about working at TU/e? Please visit our career page.


We invite you to submit a complete application by using the apply button. The application should include a:

  • Cover letter in which you describe your motivation and qualifications for the position.
  • Curriculum vitae, including a list of your publications and the contact information of three references.

We look forward to receiving your application and will screen it as soon as possible. The vacancy will remain open until the position is filled.