Τίτλος: PhD position in biophysics/ultrafast spectroscopy
The project is funded by the VICI grant ‘Shedding light on the optogenetics toolbox’ to Dr. John Kennis. In the past two decades, genetically encoded fluorescent proteins such as GFP have revolutionized the life sciences by enabling observation of cellular processes through fluorescence microscopy. Generalizing the concept of genetically encoded probes, a newly emerging field called ‘optogenetics’ is utilizing genetically encoded photoreceptor proteins to directly control cellular processes and organism behavior with light. The optogenetics toolbox includes LOV, BLUF and phytochrome photoreceptors artificially fused to effector domains with desired function. The scientific question to be addressed here is: what is the molecular basis of the light-activated function of photoreceptor proteins? To predict if and how a photoreceptor protein will interact with the output domain of choice, one has to resolve structural changes from the moment of photoactivation on the picosecond-nanosecond timescale until their effector activation on the millisecond timescale. Two novel structural-spectroscopic techniques, Transient Stimulated Raman Spectroscopy and 2-Dimensional IR spectroscopy, in combination with specific isotope-labeling strategies, hold the promise to provide both structural and temporal resolution to unravel photo-initiated protein conformational changes. The proposed experiments will provide unique dynamic-structural insights in photoreceptor activation.
The candidate will study photosensory proteins by means of a visible pump – 2D IR probe to determine dynamics of the secondary and tertiary protein structure as a function of time after photoactivation. In addition, he/she will investigate such proteins by means of transient stimulated Raman spectroscopy. In this way, a complete picture of protein activation from photon absorption by the chromophore, interaction between chromophore and protein, and resulting protein dynamics can be painted. The candidate will publish the results in international peer-reviewed journals and conclude the project with a doctoral thesis.
Sites or segments of the protein and chromophore will be isotopically labeled to confer specificity to the 2D IR and stimulated Raman signals. For sample preparation and isotope labeling, collaborations with specialized group are in place and will not be a task of the candidate.
All spectroscopic equipment to carry out the research is available at LaserLaB Amsterdam. This includes two newly installed pairs of synchronized amplified Ti:sapphire laser systems timeable between femtoseconds and milliseconds, with all necessary wavelength-conversion, pulse shaping and detection equipment.
We are looking for an excellent and highly motivated candidate with a MSc degree or equivalent in Physics, Physical Chemistry or Biophysics. Experience with advanced time-resolved optical spectroscopy is advisable. The candidate should have a strong interest in laser spectroscopy, biophysics and protein function, is required to have excellent communicative skills and to be able to work in an international and interdisciplinary team of researchers. The candidate must have good ability to write and read English.
The initial appointment will be for a period of 1 year. After satisfactory evaluation of the initial
appointment, it can be extended for a total duration of 4 years. You can find information about our excellent fringe benefits of employment at www.workingatvu.nl like:
• remuneration of 8,3% end-of-year bonus and 8% holiday allowance;
• a minimum of 29 holidays In case of full-time employment;
• generous contribution (70%) commuting allowance based on public transport;
• discounts on collective insurances (healthcare- and car insurance).
The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel, and amounts € 2.083,- gross per month in the first year up to € 2.664,- in the fourth year (salary scale 85) based on a full-time employment.
Dienstverband: Temporary, 1 year
VU University Amsterdam is one of the leading institutions for higher education in Europe and aims to be inspiring, innovative, and committed to societal welfare. It comprises twelve faculties and has teaching facilities for 25.000 students.
Research at the Faculty of Sciences focuses on the areas of Life & Health, Networked World, Fundamentals of Science, and Energy & Sustainability. The faculty’s teaching activities are directly linked to this excellent research. Cooperation with other faculties on the VU University Amsterdam campus generates attractive, high-quality Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes.
At international level, the faculty cooperates closely with leading scientific institutes and other partners.
In the context of the VU University Amsterdam management programme, the faculty is cooperating closely with the Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences to optimize the support of teaching and research. During the upcoming period, the faculty, together with the Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences, will be facing the challenge of how to further flesh out cooperation between VU University Amsterdam’s science faculties and those of the University of Amsterdam.
At the LaserLaB Amsterdam, located on the campus of the VU University in Amsterdam, the laser-oriented research activities of several groups from different disciplines in Physics, Chemistry, and Biology are concentrated. Some 100 scientists are involved in laser-oriented scientific research of applied and fundamental nature. Increasingly, the use of lasers in the Life Sciences is expanding with a focus on interdisciplinarity of research.
For additional information please contact:
Applicants are requested to write a letter in which they describe their abilities and motivation, accompanied by a curriculum vitae and one or two references (name(s) and e-mail address(es).
Please send your application before October 17th, 2013 to:
VU University Amsterdam
Faculty of Sciences
Please mention the vacancy number in the e-mail header or at the top of your letter and on the envelope.
Any other correspondence in response to this advertisement will not be dealt with.