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PhD in Ice-Binding protein polymers

PhD in Ice-Binding protein polymers

Are you fascinated by ice-binding proteins? Are you interested in (computer-aided) protein engineering, ice crystal growth, and biomineralization? Are you passionate about your research? Do you want to work in a multidisciplinary team?
Chemical Engineering and Chemistry
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Job description

A remarkable class of biopolymers known as ice-binding proteins alleviate the risk of freeze injury throughout the Kingdoms of Life by keeping the nucleation and growth of ice crystals in check. Yet, the application potential of analogues of ice-binding proteins as cryoprotectants has remained underexploited. This is because we are yet to unravel and utilize the structure-function relations, which govern their activity as inhibitors of ice recrystallization and promoters of ice nucleation at the single-molecule level in vitro and within a complex biological environment. In this project you will design and synthesize and study new ice-binding protein-polymers, with the aim to modulate independently their ability to inhibit recrystallization, control nucleation, and shape ice crystals at submicromolar concentrations. You will develop efficient synthesis and purification strategies suitable for upscaling to fabricate these powerful materials at large scale and relatively low cost. You will obtain the ice-binding protein-polymers as recombinant proteins encoded by synthetic genes that are designed and constructed by yourself. You will establish structure-activity relations to customize activity and – in collaboration with other group members – investigate their ice-binding at the single molecule level as well as their application potential in biomedicine.

Job requirements

  • A master’s degree (or an equivalent university degree) in Molecular Biology, Biomedical Technology, Molecular (Life) Sciences, Bionanotechnology, Molecular Biophysics, or related discipline.
  • A research and goal-oriented attitude.
  • A solid background in molecular biology, preferably with experience in fermentation / bioprocess technology, and with  a clear affinity for (computer-aided) protein engineering, biophysics, and/or soft matter science.
  • Experience with microscopy (optical/fluorescence/cryo-TEM/AFM), crystallization and microfluidics is preferred.
  • Ability to work independently and enthusiastic about working in a dynamic, interdisciplinary, and international context.
  • Fluent in spoken and written English. Good communication skills.

Conditions of employment

  • A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university with the possibility to present your work at international conferences.
  • A full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation after one year.
  • To support you during your PhD and to prepare you for the rest of your career, you will have free access to a personal development program for PhD students (PROOF program).
  • A gross monthly salary and benefits in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement for Dutch Universities.
  • Additionally, an annual holiday allowance of 8% of the yearly salary, plus a year-end allowance of 8.3% of the annual salary.
  • A broad package of fringe benefits, including an excellent technical infrastructure, moving expenses, and savings schemes.
  • Family-friendly initiatives are in place, such as an international spouse program, and excellent on-campus children day care and sports facilities.

Information and application

For further information on this vacancy please contact

Prof. Dr. Ir. Ilja Voets, i.voets[at] or +31 40 247 5303

For information about terms of employment, please click here or contact Leo van Houten, l.v.houten[at] or +31 40 247 8269

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We invite you to submit a complete application by using the 'apply now'-button on this page. The application should include a:

  • Cover letter in which you describe your motivation and qualifications for the position.
  • Curriculum vitae, with information on education, employment, and research experience including a list of your publications and the contact information of three references.
  • A letter of recommendation from one or more of your references
  • A copy of your MSc graduation thesis or internship report.

We do not respond to applications that are sent to us in a different way.

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We look forward to your application and will screen it as soon as we have received it. Screening will continue until the position has been filled.