The ability to continuously monitor biomolecular markers has the potential to revolutionise health care by allowing real-time monitoring of disease progression. Commercial sensors are available for continuous monitoring of glucose, but do not exist for other molecules that are important for monitoring disease status and treatment effect, including peptides, proteins, hormones, and drugs. The PhD student will combine DNA nanotechnology with state-of-the-art protein engineering and bioconjugation chemistry to create antibody-DNA nanoswitches that allow biomarker detection using bioluminescent sensor proteins and particle-based optical detection methods. The newly developed sensors will be integrated into advanced single-molecule optical detection methods based on tethered particle motion (TPM) and nanoplasmonics to enable continuous monitoring of a variety of important inflammation markers. The PhD project is part of CONSENSE, a European-wide Marie-Curie ETN program that combines advanced molecular engineering with tailored optical detection technologies to yield generic, affinity-based biosensing technologies (https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/955623).
The PhD student will be embedded in the protein engineering group headed by prof. dr. Maarten Merkx. The Merkx group operates at the interface of protein engineering, chemical biology and synthetic biology and develops biomolecular sensors and actuators for applications in intracellular imaging, point-of-care diagnostics, and antibody-based therapies. The group is part of the laboratory of chemical biology and the Institute of Complex Molecular Systems (ICMS). The laboratory of chemical biology has state-of-the art facilities and expertise in the area of molecular biology, cell biology and protein engineering, in synthetic, analytical and physical chemistry (NMR, LC-MS, optical spectroscopy, ITC, lifetime measurements, FACS). The CONSENSE training network brings together internationally leading pioneers in biomolecular switch engineering with research groups that have an excellent track record in biosensor development using advanced optical approaches, including two high-tech companies that have spun out from these groups. The consortium is completed by a strong network of partner industries and organizations and will provide excellent training to 15 PhD students, allowing them to develop professionally and perform world-class research to advance the field of continuous biomolecular monitoring for healthcare.
We are looking for
Do you recognize yourself in this profile and would you like to know more? Please contact
Maarten Merkx, Professor of Protein Engineering, m.merkx[at]tue.nl or +31 40 247 4728
For information about terms of employment, click here or contact Sascha Sanchez, HR advisor, s.j.m.g.sanchez.van.oort[at]tue.nl or +31 40 247 7310.
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