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PhD position on protein-nanoparticle conjugates for single-molecule sensing

PhD position on protein-nanoparticle conjugates for single-molecule sensing

Applied Physics
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Job description

The Molecular Plasmonics group at Eindhoven University of Technology (The Netherlands, has an open PhD position on protein-nanoparticle conjugates for single-molecule studies of protein-protein interactions.


Proteins and their interactions are the cornerstone of biological processes. The dynamic cooperation between multiple species is key to various processes including chaperone-mediated protein folding. Herein multiple chaperone proteins cooperate to aid in folding of a peptide, and to prevent its aggregation. The dynamics of these multi-molecular interactions is not easily captured because current single-molecule sensors (a) only work in dilute solutions or (b) only resolve a single species at a time. Capturing the dynamics of such protein machinery at physiological conditions therefore remains one of the grand challenges in the field. In our group we have developed plasmon sensors with single-molecule sensitivity. These sensors employ single-molecule plasmon-enhanced fluorescence, are compatible with high concentrations, and give access to short (millisecond) timescales due to strong plasmon-enhancement of the fluorescence.

Project description

The candidate will develop plasmonic sensors for dynamic protein-protein interactions, particularly chaperone-mediated processes. The candidate will perform protein expression and chemical functionalization of plasmonic nanoparticles and quantify the functionalization using single-molecule microscopy. These protein-nanoparticle conjugates will then be used to study protein-protein interactions using plasmon-enhanced fluorescence. The latter will be done in collaboration with a postdoc in the group. The project will be co-supervised by dr. P. Zijlstra (Molecular Plasmonics) and Prof. M. Merkx (protein engineering).


Job requirements

We welcome applications from candidates with a MSc degree or equivalent in biophysical chemistry or a related field. Experience with optical studies of nanoparticles and protein chemistry is advantageous.

Conditions of employment

We offer a fixed-term, 4-year position in a research group with an excellent reputation. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, including:

A gross monthly salary between € 2.395,00 (first year) and € 3.061,00 (last year).
Additionally, 8% holiday and 8.3% end-of-year annual supplements.
Additional benefits, including excellent technical infrastructure, childcare, holiday savings schemes, and sports facilities.
Assistance for finding accommodation is offered for foreign students.
Personal development program aimed to develop your social and communication skills (see

Information and application



If interested, please use the 'apply now'-button at the top of this page. You should upload the following:

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

Please keep in mind; you can upload only 1 document up to 10 MB each.