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PhD position on nanoplasmonic sensing of single-molecule protein interactions

PhD position on nanoplasmonic sensing of single-molecule protein interactions

The Molecular Plasmonics group at Eindhoven University of Technology have an open position (4-year PhD) wherein the candidate will develop plasmonic nanosensors to study weak and multi-valent single-molecule protein interactions.
Applied Physics and Science Education
Date off
Reference number

Job description

Protein-Protein Interactions (PPIs) form the foundation of many physiological processes. Single-molecule studies of PPIs have revealed a wealth of information on interaction dynamics, conformational changes, and their modulation. The work-horse technique to study single molecules is fluorescence microscopy, but the diffraction limit of light limits this approach to low (nanomolar) protein concentrations. Many protein interactions in our body occur at high micromolar concentrations, which remain extremely difficult to study with existing techniques. In our group we have developed plasmon-mediated approaches that enable the study of single-molecule interactions at high concentrations. This approach is based on plasmon-enhanced fluorescence that exploits the strong confinement of the excitation volume by a plasmonic nanoparticle, while simultaneously enhancing the fluorescence intensity.

Project description
The candidate will use plasmon-enhanced fluorescence microscopy to study PPIs at high micromolar concentrations. The project will focus on 14-3-3 protein and its interactions with multivalent binding partners. The candidate will functionalize gold particles with protein and use single-molecule microscopy to quantify the timescales and heterogeneity of multivalent PPIs. In addition the candidate will push the limits of plasmon-enhanced single-molecule sensing in terms of protein concentration and temporal resolution.

The project will be supervised by dr. P. Zijlstra and co-supervised by prof. L. Brunsveld (Chemical Biology group) at TU/e. Close collaboration is expected with a PhD student in the group of Brunsveld working on the expression and functionalization of the proteins.

Job requirements

We welcome applications from candidates with a MSc degree in physics or biophysics with experience in single-molecule microscopy. Affinity with nanoparticle functionalization or quantitative analysis of microscopy data is an advantage.

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 (go/no-go) after nine months.
  • To develop your teaching skills, you will spend 10% of your employment on teaching tasks.
  • To support you during your PhD and to prepare you for the rest of your career, you will make a Training and Supervision plan and you will have free access to a personal development program for PhD students (PROOF program).
  • A gross monthly salary and benefits (such as a pension scheme, pregnancy and maternity leave, partially paid parental leave) 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.
  • Should you come from abroad and comply with certain conditions, you can make use of the so-called ‘30% facility’, which permits you not to pay tax on 30% of your 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

More information

Do you recognize yourself in this profile and would you like to know more? Please contact
dr. P. Zijlstra, p.zijlstra[at]

For information about terms of employment, click here or contact HRServices.flux[at]

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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 one-page cover letter explaining your motivation and suitability for the position;
  • a detailed Curriculum Vitae;
  • a copy or link to your MSc thesis;
  • contact information of two references;
  • copies of diplomas with course grades;

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

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

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