PhD position

Location
Leuven, (BE)
Posted
Nov 26, 2019
End of advertisement period
Jan 05, 2020
Academic Discipline
Life sciences, Biological Sciences
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Hours
Full Time

PhD position on 'Microfluidic Bottom-Up Reconstruction of Biomemetic Membranes: The Ins and Outs'

The Division of Mechatronics, Biostatistics and Sensors (MeBioS) performs groundbreaking research on innovative sensor technologies and the associated data analysis methods to understand and control the quality of products and ongoing processes. The Biomimetics research group focuses on replicating biological functions via engineered micro- and nano-systems for biomedical applications.

Website unit

Project The structural basis of the cellular membrane is based on a phospholipid bilayer. This environment is the workplace of many biomolecular complexes, whose correct function is key to a wide diversity of important biological processes. Replicating this environment in vitro offers many interesting opportunities: from empowering the study of biomolecular function in simplified formats (that minimize experimental confounding effects); to enabling the reconstruction of artificial cell facsimiles. The use of microfluidic technology has been shown to be a promising approach for the reconstruction of lipid bilayer membranes. Yet, adequate strategies are still missing in order to manufacture these membranes with the necessary complexity to make them fully usable for experimentation. In this project, we will explore a diversity of strategies in order to achieve this goal.

Specifically we will: 

  • Adapt adequate microfluidic protocols to robustly construct lipid bilayer environments with biologically relevant characteristics (i.e. lipid asymmetry and complex composition).
  • Develop adequate membrane insertion protocols for a diversity of biomolecular complexes, focusing on specific systems of the inner (cytoskeleton) and outer (hematopoietic receptors) membrane.
  • Implement screening strategies to test for the adequate biological replication of the function of these biomimetic complexes.

Profile

Are you an energetic and versatile biologist/biochemist, willing to do research at the interface of several disciplines (from biochemistry to advanced experimental systems)? Then you may be the perfect scientist to join our team. The ideal candidate will already possess the following skills (although commitment/capacity to acquire them rapidly may also suffice):

  • Prior involvement in the production of artificial lipid-bilayer membranes and in carrying out screens on these systems.
  • Experience in working with membrane proteins and/or cell-free membrane protein expression systems.
  • Practical knowledge of manufacturing and operating microfluidic devices.

Important: candidates interested in this position must hold a MS degree (inBioscience Engineering, Bioengineering, Biochemistry, Biology or similar) froman European university.

Offer

  • We offer a full-time PhD position for 1 year. After positive evaluation, the contract can be extended to 3 additional years (4 years in total).  
  • Excellent guidance by our young, dynamic and multidisciplinary team.
  • State of the art research infrastructure.
  • A challenging job in a young, dynamic environment. High level scientific training at a top-ranked university.
  • Being part of a world-class research group.

Remuneration according to the KU Leuven salary scales (https://www.kuleuven.be/personeel/jobsite/en/phd-info).

Interested?

For more information please contact Prof. dr. Xevi Casadevall i Solvas, tel.: +32 16 37 71 03, mail: xevi.casadevall@kuleuven.be.

You can apply for this job no later than January 05, 2020 via the online application tool

KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at diversiteit.HR@kuleuven.be.

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