Thursday, April 01, 2010

PhD position: Magnetic Manipulation of Molecules in Living Cells

Research
The aim in this project is to develop an innovative biophysical approach based on the use of magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) that will allow us to exert forces on, and actively manipulate, individual receptor proteins on the surface of living cells using smart external magnetic fields. It is anticipated that active manipulation of these receptor proteins will provide a very powerful tool that will give new insights into biophysical processes in cells. Exploring the physics of this new technology is the primary objective. To demonstrate the power of this biophysical method, it will be applied to address key issues in cell signaling. By controlling the aggregation of membrane-associated receptor molecules, the state of immune system T cells can be actively switched from an `inactive` to an `active state`, thereby mimicking a process that is crucial in cell signaling.


The work will be carried out in the Biophysical Engineering Group, which has a long-standing experience in developing physical tools to study biology on the molecular and cellular scale. The group has a well equipped laboratory with a wide variety of both home-build and commercial setups such as AFM, optical tweezers, magnetic tweezers, FLIM, TIRF and CLSM. The current project builds on the vast experience of the group in the application of magnetic tweezers to cell biophysics (see e.g. a.h.b.deVries et al., 2007, Nano Letters 7:1424-1427). You can expect to be part of a team of enthusiastic and inspiring colleagues. The research group is part of the MIRA Institute for Biomedical Technology and Technical Medicine and the MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology, and participates in the new Twente Graduate School. For the application of the method on living cells we will collaborate with prof. C.G. Figdor from the NCMLS at the Radboud University of Nijmegen.

Job description
You will design and fabricate a magnetic tweezers setup to generate appropriate external magnetic fields and integrate this with a state-of-the-art fluorescence microscope. You will perform Brownian dynamics simulations and develop an experimental model system based on artificial membranes in order to characterize the physical aspects of protein manipulation using MNPs. You will assess various techniques (optical and non-optical) to visualize the magnetically induced changes in protein/MNP distributions. Finally you will apply the method to study receptor aggregation dynamics in T-cells.

Location
University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands.

Requirements
We are looking for an experimentalist with a background in experimental (bio-) physics, who is interested to work in the new and rapidly developing field of nanobiophysics.

Conditions of Employment
When fulfilling a PhD position at the FOM foundation, you will get the status of junior scientist.
You will have an employee status and can participate in all the employee benefits FOM offers. You will get a contract for 4 years. Your salary will be up to a maximum of 2,610 euro gross per month.
You are supposed to have a thesis finished at the end of your four year term with FOM.
A training programme is part of the agreement. You and your supervisor will make up a plan for the additional education and supervising that you specifically need. This plan also defines which teaching activities you will be responsible (up to a maximum of 10% of your time). The conditions of employment of the FOM-foundation are laid down in the Collective Labour Agreement for Research Centres (CAO-Onderzoekinstellingen), more exclusive information is available at this website under Personeelsinformatie (in Dutch) or under Personnel (in English).
General information about working at FOM can be found in the English part of this website under Personnel. The `FOM-sollicitatiecode` (in Dutch) applies to this position.

Contact
For more information please contact Hans Kanger tel.: +31 (0)53 489 37 26, or Prof. Vinod Subramaniam.

Website
http://www.universiteittwente.nl

Applications
Dr.ir. J. S. Kanger
Biophysical Engineering Group
University of Twente
PO Box 217
7500 AE Enschede
The Netherlands

or by email to:
BPE@tnw.utwente.nl
Incomplete or mass-mailed applications will not be considered. Applications should include a resume, list of grades, and a one-page motivation.

Closing time
31 March 2010

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