PhD student on cellulose biohybrid materials

Updated: 31 minutes ago

Empa - the place where innovation starts

Empa is the research institute for materials science and technology of the ETH Domain and conducts cutting-edge research for the benefit of industry and the well-being of society.

The Empa Laboratory of Cellulose & Wood Materials invites applications for a PhD student position on the self-assembly of nanocellulose and fungal proteins into functional cellulose biohybrid materials:

PhD student on cellulose biohybrid materials

Together with our team of experienced scientists, you will contribute to the development of the next generation of sustainable biocomposite materials. This project bridges our activities in the fields of nanocelluloses and applied fungal biotechnology. The goal of the project is to investigate, at a fundamental level, the mode of interaction of nanocelluloses and fungal protein aggregates and use this knowledge to tune their mutual co-assembly. We envision that the generated knowledge will lead to the discovery of novel functional material formulations (e.g. films, functionalized aerogels, foams and emulsions) that could have biomedical (e.g. antimicrobial coatings, drug delivery) or food science applications (e.g. stable foams/emulsions).

Your challenges

Extract and characterize proteins from different fungal strains.

  • Develop protein aggregation protocols and investigate the physical and structural properties of the formed aggregates.
  • Study the combined self-assembly of nanocelluloses and extracted fungal proteins at interfaces and in bulk.
  • Characterize self-assembled materials using state-of-the art techniques.
  • Investigate the possibility to express engineered forms of fungal strains for material science applications.
  • Publish in peer-reviewed high-impact factor journals and present at international conferences.

Your profile

  • MSc in Biochemistry, Biotechnology, Applied microbiology or related disciplines.
  • Self-motivated, critical-thinking, open-minded and communicative, with a strong interest to work in an interdisciplinary research environment.
  • Demonstrated aptitude for scientific creativity and non-conventional thinking.
  • Experience in materials science is an advantage but not a prerequisite.
  • Fluent in written and oral English.
We offer

a fully funded PhD position at Empa, the Swiss research institute for materials science and technology, to conduct cutting-edge research for the benefits of industry and the wellbeing of society. Applications are open immediately and will remain open until April 30, 2021.

For additional information, please contact Dr. Gustav Nyström ( and Dr. Silvia Campioni (

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