Immunoassays form the cornerstone of today`s clinical biomolecular diagnosis. However, translation of traditional heterogeneous immunoassays into point-of-care assays has proven challenging, because they require multiple incubation and washing steps, the addition of exogenous reagents, and external calibration. In recent years the Merkx group pioneered the development of bioluminescent sensor proteins that allow affinity-based detection directly in blood plasma using the camera of a smart phone as the sole piece of equipment. E.g. we developed a platform of bioluminescent sensor proteins (LUMABS) that allow antibody detection directly in solution. Antibody binding to LUMABS results in a change in color of the emitted light from green to blue that can be detected in blood at pM concentrations. Together with our Japanese collaborators we also developed a prototype of a fully integrated paper-based device for use with LUMABS and other BRET sensors, allowing the detection of 3 different antibodies in a finger prick of whole blood in 10 minutes. We are now looking for a post-doc to further develop the LUMABS platform towards clinical and commercial applications in therapeutic antibody drug monitoring and develop a generic bioluminescent sandwich immunoassay format to expand the scope of targets beyond antibodies.
The protein engineering group headed by Prof. Dr. Maarten Merkx combines approaches from protein engineering, chemical biology, and synthetic biology to develop biomolecular sensors and actuators for applications in intracellular imaging, point-of-care diagnostics, and antibody-based therapies. An important research theme is the engineering of biomolecular switches, which include fluorescent and bioluminescent sensor proteins for intracellular imaging, photo-switchable proteins, and protein- and DNA-based sensors for antibody detection and actuation. The protein engineering group is part of the Laboratory of Chemical Biology, the Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Institute of Complex Molecular Systems (ICMS). The lab has modern facilities for molecular biology, protein expression and purification, organic synthesis, fluorescence microscopy and cell biology. Excellent opportunities exist to collaborate with groups within the BME department and ICMS working in the fields of molecular diagnostics and lab-on-a-chip technology.
We are looking for a scientist with a background in protein engineering/chemical biology/synthetic biology who enjoys to work in an academic environment and translate his/her knowledge towards point-of-care diagnostics. The post-doc will develop new protein sensor formats, but will also be involved in the translation of our sensor technology towards commercial applications. She/he will be involved in collaborating with industrial partners, will have the opportunity to take part in a venture challenge and other activities to result in a start-up company. Important personal skills include a proven ability to manage projects, collaborate with external parties and be self-driven. You should be fluent in English and enjoy working in a multidisciplinary group of scientists.
Further information can be obtained by: Prof. Dr. M. Merkx, phone +31 40 247 4728 and e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your application can be addressed to Prof. Dr. M. Merkx. Applications must include a personal motivation letter, a Curriculum Vitae including the names and contact details of at least two references, and an overview of current research activities and interests (1-2 pages).