Postdoctoral position to characterize the rheological properties of cellular systems

Updated: about 2 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 26 Aug 2021

Postdoctoral position to characterize the rheological properties of cellular systems

The Biophysics Group of Prof. Daniel Müller is part of the strongly interdisciplinary Department Biosystems Science and Engineering. The aim of the department is to explore fundamental properties of biosystems and to use them for the development of tomorrow's biotechnological and medical applications.

Project background

The physiological state of tissues is largely influenced by the complex interplay between the mechanobiological properties of cells and the extracellular matrix (ECM), which contributes significantly to the development and progression of diseases, such as the leading causes of death worldwide related to cancer and fibrosis. Therefore, the systematic characterization of the mechanical properties of cells and tissues in diseased and healthy states provides an understanding of how mechanics drives disease. To date, most biophysical approaches characterize the mechanical properties of biological systems at a single frequency, although these properties are frequency-dependent, urging novel high-speed and high-resolution nano-rheological approaches. 

In this project, we will develop an atomic force microscopy (AFM)-based rheological method and protocols to characterize the active and passive mechanical response of cells and tissues over a wide range of frequencies. In addition, we aim to understand biophysical properties that are internal to cells and how they are modulated by the ECM.

Job description

This 24-month postdoctoral position is an original research project at the interface of academia and industry. The project is embedded in a collaboration between the biophysics lab of Prof. Daniel J. Müller at the ETH Zürich in Basel and Nanosurf AG in Liestal and focuses on the measurement of mechanical properties of cellular systems from AFM-based nano-rheological experiments. This requires the establishment of experimental procedures, analytical theories and simulations to quantify the relevant mechanical information. 

The successful candidate will have the opportunity to work in a highly innovative and collaborative environment at the interface of academic research and high-tech product development. The position is funded for a period of 24 months and is located in the Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering at ETH Zurich in Basel, planned start date is October 1, 2021.

Your profile

We are looking for a highly motivated postdoc with a strong theoretical background in cellular biophysics, AFM-based mechanical measurements, or related fields in combination with experimental experience. As you will be embedded in an international team, excellent communication and presentation skills in English are essential. You should also have a strong interest in working on projects independently. Experience with COMSOL or similar simulation software as well as with cell culture is a plus.

ETH Zurich

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.


We look forward to receiving your online application. Applicants should submit a personal statement, a CV including a list of all scientific publications, and 2-3 references.

Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered.

Further information about the biophysics group can be found on our website: . For further information, please contact Prof. Daniel Müller, email (no application documents).

In line with our values, ETH Zurich encourages an inclusive culture. We promote equality of opportunity, value diversity and nurture a working and learning environment in which the rights and dignity of all our staff and students are respected. Visit our Equal Opportunities and Diversity website to find out how we ensure a fair and open environment that allows everyone to grow and flourish.

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