The Biozentrum of the University of Basel is one of the leading life sciences institutes in the world. It consists of 30 groups and 500 employees that research how molecules and cells create life, spanning the scale from atom to organism. Founded in 1971, the Biozentrum has been the birth place of many fundamental discoveries in biology and medicine, spawning several Nobel Laureates.
A PhD position funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation is available from September 2021 onwards in the group of Prof Jan Pieter Abrahams at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel.
Cryo-electron microscopy can reveal the atomic structures of biological molecules by focusing the electrons that are scattered by the sample into an image. These electron images have low contrast and are very noisy, because electron beam damages the sample.
The Abrahams group has generated strong evidence that the signal-to-noise ratio of the electron image can be boosted significantly by measuring the scattered electrons directly. This resulted in the development of protein nano-crystallography (micro-ED) and we are extending the method to include non-crystalline samples and single molecule electron diffraction (simED). Novel, dedicated hardware will allow us to develop methods for automatically generating vast amounts of electron diffraction data short periods of time. We aim to develop novel tools based on Artificial Intelligence and Big Data technologies for interpreting these data. An important biological focus of our group is on molecular machines for protein degradation. (I. Mohammed, K. A. Schmitz, N. Schenck, T. Maier, J. P. Abrahams, Catalytic cycling of human mitochondrial Lon protease. Sci. Adv. 7, eabf0156 (2021).
Part of the work will be performed at, and will be supported by the Paul Scherrer Institute (https://www.psi.ch/en ).
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