A vacancy for a PhD student is available in the Institute Biomedical Technology (IBiTech, http://ibitech.ugent.be ) at Ghent University. We are looking for a highly motivated and skilled researcher to perform state-of-the-art research in biophysical modeling. The research domain is precision medicine, which means that drugs are tailored to the individual patient's needs based on the patient's DNA. The PhD topic will focus on the prediction of the binding of drug molecules to proteins. The research encompasses method development, molecular dynamics simulations, and analysis of data, starting from modeling at the atomic and molecular scale.
Proteins interact with other molecules through their protein binding sites, which are functionally important regions on the protein surface. Each binding site usually binds one or a few specific molecules, the ligands. A ligand can be an ion, another protein, a nucleic acid, a small molecule, or a water molecule. By predicting the binding affinity for proteins with simulations, the efficiency of drug candidates can be assessed in silico, which is a topic that receives continued interest in drug discovery research. This PhD topic aims at the development of new methodological and computational solutions for the prediction of binding sites and their ligands. The methods aim at the prediction of binding affinity and binding dynamics for drug molecules, and screening all proteins in the protein database, which should enable inferences in drug pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics.
The student will be embedded in the BioMMeda research group at IBiTech, which creates a motivating environment to perform research. The PhD student will work towards a doctoral degree under supervision of Prof. An Ghysels through the doctoral schools program of Ghent University. A contribution to teaching can also be part of the job content. This research is performed in close collaboration with the group of Prof. Janez Konc at the Institute of Chemistry of the University of Ljubljana (Slovenia), and research visits to his group are foreseen in the course of the PhD. Locally, collaborations within the Cancer Research Institute Ghent network (CRIG, Ghent, Belgium) are encouraged, and international collaborations with other research groups are also possible.
Profile of the candidate
(1) The PhD student has excellent skills in physics/mathematics (for method development).
(2) The student has experience with scientific programming, data analysis, and dealing with large data (computational tools for generating and analyzing data of complex molecular systems).
(3) Ideally, the PhD student has also knowledge in statistical physics, biophysics or material physics, programming, scientific communication. Ideally, the student has already some experience with molecular simulations. Knowledge of protein dynamics is a plus but not necessary at the start of the PhD.
(4) Candidates should have an open attitude towards learning research skills.
(5) Language: fluency in English is required.
How to apply
- Your application must consist of the following:
1. A motivation letter
2. A curriculum vitae
3. Copies of the relevant diplomas
4. Grade lists (transcript of records of Bachelor and Master courses)
- The curriculum vitae should also mention a list of two professors with their institute and contact details, who have supervised you in your Bachelor and/or Master research project and who are willing to provide a letter of recommendation (later in the application process).
- The curriculum vitae should mention the dates (month and year) and locations (city and country) when you describe studies, positions, etc.
- The files should be saved as PDF and be named as follows: [your-name]_[type-of-file].pdf
Alternatively, the files can be combined to one single file, named as follows: [your-name]_all.pdf
- The application should be sent to [email protected] using the following subject line: "Application PhD: developing computational tools for precision medicine". Only complete applications will be considered. From all applications, a short-list of candidates will be made, who will be contacted for an interview (possibly over Skype).
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