1-2 PhD students in Molecular Biophysics with a focus on ultrafast imaging with X-ray lasers

Updated: about 1 month ago
Deadline: 26 Apr 2024

Published: 2024-03-25

Are you interested in working with ultrafast imaging of biological samples with X-ray lasers, with the support of competent and friendly colleagues in an international environment? Are you looking for an employer that invests in sustainable employeeship and offers safe, favourable working conditions? We welcome you to apply for a PhD position at Uppsala University.

The Department of Cell and Molecular Biology is organized into seven research programmes which all focus on different areas of cell and molecular biology: Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, Microbiology and Immunology, Molecular Biology, Molecular Biophysics, Molecular Evolution, Molecular Systems Biology and Structural Biology. The scientific basis of what we do lies in biology, but our research overlaps with other areas such as medicine, computer science, mathematics, chemistry, engineering sciences and physics. In total, we are over 200 staff and ~50 Ph.D. students. Please read more about the department’s work at https://icm.uu.se .

Uppsala University has a long tradition of successful research – among its alumni are 16 Nobel Prize laureates, including, most recently, Svante Pääbo. The Department of Cell and Molecular Biologyis one of the most international, broad and distinguished molecular bioscience departments in Europe. The department comprises seven research programs with about 250 employees.

The Laboratory of Molecular Biophysics at the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology promotes research and discoveries at the frontiers of photon science by exploring and exploiting photon-material interactions on short time scales, at high photon frequencies. It produced the scientific case in imaging for the construction of the first X-ray free-electron laser, the LCLS. It also includes groups with expertise in broad range of areas such as single-molecule microscopy, mass spectrometry, cryogenic electron microscopy and crystallography.

The Laboratory maintains robust international connections through an extensive network of esteemed collaborators spanning the globe. Notable partnerships include the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, University of Oxford, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, National University of Singapore, University of Hamburg, and Arizona State University. As part of our commitment to providing a well-rounded and globally-oriented education, we encourage and facilitate opportunities for all PhD students to gain valuable international experience during their doctoral studies.

The position is located in the research group of Filipe Maia, head of the laboratory, and is funded by the ERC consolidator project FemtoPix - Imaging Ultrafast Single Particle Macromolecular Dynamics with X-ray Lasers.

Conformational dynamics are crucial for the functioning of most macromolecules and a deeper understanding of these motions holds great promise for future discoveries in biology. But it is difficult to probe the structure of macromolecules away from their most stable conformations, and time-resolved studies remain limited by the available techniques. Since the first X-ray free-electron lasers (XFELs) were proposed, the idea of obtaining images of individual proteins frozen in time has fascinated and inspired many, and we have been at the forefront of this quest. The combination of advances in XFEL technology with new instrumentation has brought the dream of imaging hydrated single proteins by X-ray diffraction within reach. The overall aim of this PhD project is to develop the science and technology to help make ultrafast single-protein imaging a reality, by (a) developing diagnostics suitable for nanosized samples, (b) design and build new sample delivery instrumentation to enable single protein X-ray diffraction experiments, (c) perform and analyse time-resolved single protein imaging experiments. The project combines experimental with computational work. This is a truly interdisciplinary research area that brings together physics, biology and data science.

To meet the entry requirements for doctoral studies, you must

  • hold a Master’s (second-cycle) degree in Biophysics, Physics, Biochemistry, or a related discipline
  • have completed at least 240 credits in higher education, with at least 60 credits at Master’s level including an independent project worth at least 15 credits, or
  • have acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way.

The successful applicant has a strong background in biophysics, physics, biochemistry or a related area and is interested in novel imaging methods. An understanding of X-ray diffraction methods, optics, cryo-electron microscopy, vacuum and laser technology is specially desired. Documented computer programming experience is also a strong merit. The applicant should preferably have a good understanding of spoken and written English. The PhD project is part of a larger project, and special emphasis will therefore be placed on the interpersonal skills, teamwork, and the ability of the candidate to interact with researchers across different disciplines and backgrounds.

Rules governing PhD students are set out in the Higher Education Ordinance chapter 5, §§ 1-7 and in Uppsala University's rules and guidelines .

About the employment
The employment is atemporary position according to the Higher Education Ordinance chapter 5 § 7. Scope of employment 100 %. Starting date as agreed. Placement: Uppsala

For further information about the position, please contact: Filipe Maia, [email protected], +46 70 425 0171

Please submit your application by 26 April 2024, UFV-PA 2024/952.

Are you considering moving to Sweden to work at Uppsala University? Find out more about what it´s like to work and live in Sweden .

Uppsala University is a broad research university with a strong international position. The ultimate goal is to conduct education and research of the highest quality and relevance to make a difference in society. Our most important asset is all of our 7,600 employees and 53,000 students who, with curiosity and commitment, make Uppsala University one of Sweden’s most exciting workplaces.

Read more about our benefits and what it is like to work at Uppsala University

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Submit your application through Uppsala University's recruitment system.

Placement: Department of Cell and Molecular Biology

Type of employment: Full time , Temporary position

Pay: According to local collective agreement

Number of positions: 1

Working hours: 100%

Town: Uppsala

County: Uppsala län

Country: Sweden

Union representative: ST/TCO [email protected]
Seko Universitetsklubben [email protected]
Saco-S-föreningen [email protected]

Number of reference: UFV-PA 2024/952

Last application date: 2024-04-26

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