Skip to content  

Werken bij de TU/e

PhD in “Engineering protein-DNA nanoswitches for continuous biosensing”

PhD in “Engineering protein-DNA nanoswitches for continuous biosensing”

Biomedical Engineering



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 (


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

  • A chemist/biophysicist (master’s degree or an equivalent university degree) who enjoys working in a multidisciplinary academic environment and wants to apply state-of-the-art biomolecular engineering to develop new concepts for continuous biosensing.
    The ideal candidate would have experience with bioconjugation chemistry, protein engineering and DNA nanotechnology, but excellent candidates with a background in one area (and a desire to master the others) will of course also be considered. Important personal skills include strong analytical skills, an ability to manage projects, collaborate with external parties and be self-driven.
  • A research oriented attitude.
  • Ability to work in a team.
  • Fluent in spoken and written English.


  • 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.

Informatie en sollicitatie

More information

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] 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] or +31 40 247 7310.

Please visit to find out more about working at TU/e!


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, including a list of your publications and the contact information of at least two references.
  • Brief description of your MSc thesis.

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.

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

Please keep in mind you can upload only 5 documents up to 2 MB each. If necessary please combine files.