The Engineering of Molecular NanoSystems l aboratory of the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) offers a two-year postdoctoral fellowship for a highly motivated organic chemist to work on the synthesis and development of supramolecular receptors for organophosphates and nucleotides.
This fellowship is offered in the context of a project funded by the European Research Council (ERC) aimed at the development of molecular transmembrane transporters for phosphorylated biomolecules.
In biology, lipid bilayer membranes function as impermeable barriers for ionic and hydrophilic species, which can only cross the membrane with the aid of dedicated membrane proteins. Synthetic organic compounds can also be used to transport ions of interest across membranes. They need to bind the ion in order to extract it from the aqueous phase into the bilayer, to then move across the membrane and to release the ion on the other side. The development of such mobile ion carriers is of interest for biochemical research and pharmaceutical or biotechnological applications.
The aim of the project is to develop synthetic anion receptors that are able to bind biologically relevant phosphorylated compounds, such as nucleotides. In the next stage of the project, the ability of these receptors to transport phosphates and nucleotides across membranes will be investigated.
The successful applicant will join the team of Dr. Hennie Valkenier to primarily work on the synthesis of receptors for phosphoryl groups and nucleotides. This involves the preparation of building blocks and their subsequent assembly into receptors using a Dynamic Combinatorial Chemistry approach. The interactions between the synthesised receptors and phosphorylated guests will be investigated using various physicochemical methods including NMR, microcalorimetry, and optical spectroscopy.
The successful applicant will work closely together with the PhD and Master students in the team, and be involved in the supervision. English and French are the main languages spoken in the laboratory, but all results will be disseminated in English (presentations, written reports, and articles). Participation in international conferences will be encouraged.
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