PhD position in biophysics: Cell division at the nanoscale (1.0 FTE)

Updated: about 1 month ago
Deadline: 29 Aug 2022


Since its foundation in 1614, the University of Groningen has established an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative university offering high-quality teaching and research. With its 36,000 students and Nobel prize winning researchers, University of Groningen ranks among the top universities globally. It is situated in the vibrant capital of the northern Netherlands, Groningen.

We offer this position in the stimulating, diverse, international research environment of the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials. A world-class academic institute with a multi-disciplinary research programme that encourages close collaborations between theoretical and experimental groups with different expertise.

Job description

We are looking for a PhD candidate with a biophysics background. The aim of this PhD project is to develop (live-cell) STED super resolution microscopy methods to visualize how the DNA copies are separated during cell division. Affinity for wet-lab work, and experience in general programming (Python) and optics are desirable.

You will have the following main responsibilities and tasks:

• develop protocols for optimal labelling of cell-division proteins for STED and expansion microscopy
• develop image analysis algorithms using Python
• investigate minimal impact imaging protocols.

We are studying how protein structures change during cell division with STED microscopy. Cell division is a very dynamic process, and errors in this phase of the cell cycle have far-reaching consequences. Visualizing the protein dynamics at relevant scales is not trivial, as the dynamical interplay is at scales much smaller than the diffraction limit of light, and thus beyond the reach of traditional microscopes. STED microscopy however does allow imaging with a resolution of 30-40 nanometres even in living cells. In fixed cells, the combination with STED and expansion microscopy even reaches better resolutions. To successfully study this dynamic process is challenging.

With your biophysics background, and affinity for programming and wet-lab work, you are the ideal fit to lift our research to another level! The work will be diverse, including (live-cell) sample preparation, protocol optimization, measurements and software development for data analysis.

You will work in an interdisciplinary and international research environment with local colleagues and international collaborators from physics, biomolecular sciences, and informatics.


You have/are:

• a European Master’s degree (or equivalent) in physics, biophysics, nanoscience or biomedical engineering
• an excellent track record
• highly motivated and able to work in a multidisciplinary and international work environment
• excellent communication skills in both oral and written English
• experience in programming (e.g. python, …).
Experience in (cell)biology is highly appreciated but not required.

Conditions of employment

We offer you following the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities:

• a salary of € 2,541 gross per month in the first year, up to a maximum of € 3,247 gross per month in the fourth and final year
• a holiday allowance of 8% of gross annual income and an 8.3% end-of-the-year allowance
• a minimum of 29 holidays and additional 12 holidays in case of full-time employment
• a full-time position (1.0 FTE).

The successful candidate will first be offered a temporary position of one year with the option of renewal for another three years. Prolongation of the contract is contingent on sufficient progress in the first year to indicate that successful completion of the PhD thesis within the next three years is to be expected. A PhD training program is part of the agreement and the successful candidate will be enrolled in the Graduate School of Science and Engineering.

The preferred starting date is as soon as possible


For information you can contact:

Rifka Vlijm, Assistant Professor,

(please do not use the email addresses above for applications)

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