PhD position `Nanomotor-based cell targeting and sorting (m/v)

Updated: 7 months ago
Deadline: 30 Apr 2020

Reference number


Job description
Bio-Organic Chemistry Group, Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry

Our ambition is to create hybrid cells and organelles that can be used to mimic and adjust cellular processes. We employ expertise from polymer science, nanotechnology and cell biology to achieve our goals. Are you the enthusiastic PhD student that fits in our group of excellent researchers? 

The research of the group Bio-organic Chemistry focuses on compartmentalization strategies to construct micro and nanocapsules which can be applied in the areas of nanomedicine and artificial cell research. We design smart delivery vehicles that for example cross the blood brain barrier or are used in cancer therapy. We use nanoparticles as scaffolds for vaccine development. We construct capsules with life-like properties, such as metabolism, organelle-mimetic behavior and cell growth and motility. In our research we combine techniques from protein engineering, polymer chemistry and bioconjugation approaches to create particles with bioactive properties.

Further information on the research interests of Prof. Jan van Hest can be found on their website.

A PhD position is open in the field of Nanomotor-based Science

Nanomotor-based cell targeting and sorting

The main focus of this project will be to develop nanomotors based on polymer vesicles that can recognize, bind and isolate specific cells. Bowl-shaped vesicles, also known as stomatocytes, will be created out of biodegradable block copolymers prepared from poly(ethylene glycol)-poly(D,L- lactic acid) and loaded with enzymes, specifically glucose oxidase and catalase. Their surface will be decorated with glycopolymers to interact with specific cell types. After binding, the addition of a gradient of a biological fuel (glucose) will induce motion in the nanomotors and hence motion of the bound cells. This will lead to separation of bound cells from unbound cells, and results in cell sorting. Besides cell binding, also cell uptake will be studied.

Job requirements



Applicants should hold or expect to attain, as a minimum a 2:1 Honours degree, or equivalent, in Chemistry, Materials Science, Analytical Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Biomedical Science, Polymer Chemistry, Pharmaceutics or a related area.

Knowledge and Experience


  • Research project carried out in at least one of the above disciplines.
  • A demonstrated knowledge of at least three of the following: pharmaceutical formulation development, drug delivery, cell culture/molecular biology, nanotechnology, polymerisation techniques.
    Work placement undertaken in an industry related to the above disciplines

Skills and Competencies


  • Applicants whose first language is not English must submit evidence of competency in English, please see Eindhoven University of Technology’s English Language Requirements for details.
  • Evidence of interest, aptitude and research experience in the above disciplines.
    Marie-Curie Fellowship Mobility Requirement:
    At the time of recruitment by the TU/e, the candidate must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work or studies) in The Netherlands for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to their recruitment

Conditions of employment

We offer a challenging job for four years in a highly motivated team at a dynamic and ambitious University. You will work with innovative analytic equipment and you will be part of a highly profiled multidisciplinary collaboration where expertise of a variety of disciplines comes together. The TU/e is located in one of the smartest regions of the world en part of the European technology hotspot ‘Brainport Eindhoven’; well-known because of many high-tech industries and start-ups. A place to be for talented scientists! The gross monthly salary in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement of the Dutch Universities (CAO NU), starts with € 2.191,= in the first year to € 2.801,= in the fourth year. Besides this the TU/e has holiday- and end-of the year allowances, an excellent package of attractive benefits for employees and a modern sports complex. Assistance for finding accommodation can be given. Especially for PhD students the TU/e also offers opportunities for personal development. We do this by offering every PhD student a series of courses that are part of the Proof program as an excellent addition to your scientific education.

Information and application

More information about this vacancy can be obtained with Jan van Hest (e-mail: j.c.m.v.hest(at) ;

More information about job conditions and application can be obtained with mr. Leo van Houten (email: l.v.houten(at) )


The application should consist of the following parts:

  • a brief letter explaining/motivating your interest in the position;
  • a detailed Curriculum Vitae, including a list of publications (if appropriate);
  • a complete list of courses taken and grades obtained (including transcripts of academic records);
  • one-page summary of the MSc thesis;
  • contact details of two referees;
  • proof of English language skills (if applicable);
  • any other relevant information.
    Please send us your application before May first, 2020, using the 'apply now'-button on top of this page.

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