PhD in Biophysics

This job offer has expired

    Poznan University of Technology
    ChemistryPhysical chemistry
    PhysicsChemical physics
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    12/04/2019 23:00 - Europe/Brussels
    Poland › Poznań


Project title

HYDRA – Elucidating the Role of Hydration Heterogeneity and Hydrophobic Mismatch in Biomimetic Cell Membranes Organization.


Keywords: biological water / structure of water / cell membrane hydration / hydrophobic mismatch / lipid bilayer / biophysics / fluorescence microscopy / atomic force microscopy / sum frequency generation


Project description

The cellular plasma membrane is an intricately organized organelle, which separates the intracellular machinery from the extracellular milieu. Cell membranes are chemically highly heterogeneous, yet their components work in a concerted manner, facilitating a broad range of important cell functions. These thin bilayers of lipids orchestrate the transport in and out of the cell, direct cellular proteins and interface the cell with the extracellular environment. The organization of the cell membrane involves: assembly into domains, whose properties differ from those of the surrounding membrane; and intricate interactions with the hydrating water. Defects in the organization of the membrane components translate into dysregulation in their activity, which may lead to pathologies affecting the entire organism. Clearly, understanding the lateral organization and hydration of lipids and proteins in cell membranes is of utmost importance. The goalof the proposed research line is to provide micro- and nano-scale, molecular-level insights into the structural and physicochemical heterogeneity of model biological membranes and their hydration layer. These insights will unravel correlations between membrane hydration structure, chemical composition and organization with unprecedented levels of chemical specificity, sensitivity, and spatiotemporal resolution. The acquired knowledge will reveal the mechanisms that give rise to many fascinating aspects of cell membrane organization and regulation. This will be achieved by using a unique combination of microscopic and spectroscopic techniques: fluorescence microscopy, atomic force microscopy, and infrared micro spectroscopy. This combination will ensure ultrahigh spatial resolution, high chemical specificity and single molecule sensitivity.


This project will be realized in a new, highly motivated research team with a focus on strong international publication output, effective collaborations and teamwork. The project will be carried out in a close collaboration with the group of Prof. Maria Garcia-Parajo from the Institute of Photonic Sciences in Barcelona, Spain, as well as with the group of Prof. Mischa Bonn from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany. More information on the team can be found at www.piatkowskilab.com


Brief description of the host institution

The project will be realized in the Institute of Physics, which is part of the faculty of Technical Physics at the Poznan University of Technology.

Poznan University of Technology (PUT) is one of the biggest universities in Poland, regularly rating amongst the top 5 technical universities in the country. It offers education at 10 faculties, which provide students with a choice of 27 fields of study. More than 20,000 students of I and II cycles, Phd students and participants of post-graduate programmes receive education here. More than 1,200 academic staff care about their education. Poznan University of Technology is also an important centre of scientific research. The proportion of funds for research projects grows year by year. The University's researchers receive the most prestigious national and international (such as ERC) research grant and state awards for achievement in science.

Within over 20 years since its creation, the faculty of Technical Physics has established itself as a strong research centre carrying out research at the borderline of physics, chemistry, biology and material sciences. It realizes several dozens of research grants funded by the national funding agencies and collaborative international grants. It maintains active collaborations with a number of universities and research centres worldwide, Polish Universities and Polish Academy of Sciences.

More Information


1. Project carried out in a young and ambitious environment,

2. PhD student position in a top-ranked technical university in Poland,

3. Access to modern equipment and facilities,

4. Interdisciplinary collaborations with foreign partners, international experience gained through a number of collaboration visits,

5. Participation in scientific conferences and training courses,

6. This project will be realized in a newly established, highly motivated research team with a focus on strong international publication output, effective collaborations and teamwork.For details see www.piatkowskilab.com

Eligibility criteria

You should hold a MSc degree (or You are close to obtaining one within the next few months) in Chemistry, Biochemistry/Biophysics, Physics or any field related to soft matter sciences. You must hold an attested copy of scientific degree (MSc), diploma in English.

Selection process

  1. Resume (CV including your relevant professional experience, knowledge of experimental techniques, a list of potential publications and contact details of your M.Sc. supervisor and/or another academic referee),
  2. Motivation letter with a brief description of why you want to pursue research studies and why do you want to join our research team,
  3. Reference letter,
  4. Please include in your CV the following clause: "I agree to the processing of personal data contained in my job application for the needs necessary to carry out the recruitment process conducted by Poznan University of Technology with headquarters in Poznan./Wyrażam zgodę na przetwarzanie moich danych osobowych zawartych w dokumentach aplikacyjnych przez Politechnikę Poznańską z siedzibą w Poznaniu w celu przeprowadzenia obecnego postępowania rekrutacyjnego.”

Applications should be sent to Dr Lukasz Piatkowski (lukasz.j.piatkowski@put.poznan.pl) quoting "PhD FirstTeam [Surname of the Applicant]" in the email subject.

Additional comments

For additional information feel free to contact: lukasz.j.piatkowski@put.poznan.pl

Preferred starting date is 01.09.2019. However, later starting date is possible (~October).

Web site for additional job details

Offer Requirements

    Physics: Master Degree or equivalent
    Chemistry: Master Degree or equivalent
    Biological sciences: Master Degree or equivalent
    ENGLISH: Excellent


1. Ability to design, execute and evaluate research experiments independently,

2. Ability to collaborate with others,

3. Highly capable of communicating scientific results in English, both orally and in writing,

4. Have a professional approach and self-motivation,

5. Capable of analyzing and working with complex issues.

Specific Requirements

1. Very good level of written and oral English language,

2. Has solid background in molecular physics, biophysics, spectroscopic and microscopic techniques,

3. Experience with fluorescence microscopy (bulk, single molecules, fluorescence techniques), atomic force microscopy (especially on soft matter) or vibrational spectroscopic techniques(Raman, FTIR, SFG) is not required, but you should have the strong desire to learn these skills,

4. Experience with membrane biophysics, especially preparation and characterization of biomimetic cell membranes, lipid monolayers or vesicles and/or AFM techniques will be beneficial,

5. Knowledge on scientific software such as Matlab and/or LabVIEW will be beneficial,

6. Have a professional approach and self-motivation,

Note that in order to be employed in the project as a PhD student you have to be admitted to third-cycle (doctoral) studies. At the Faculty of Technical Physics at Poznan University of Technology this typically takes place in September. The studies normally last four years, but it is possible to defend a thesis earlier. PhD students are expected to carry out limited teaching duties.

Work location(s)
1 position(s) available at
Poznan University of Technology
Piotrowo 3

EURAXESS offer ID: 368227


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