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PhD Position in Protein Biophysics / Single-molecule Atomic Force Microscopy in Zürich

Studierende finden an der ETH Zürich ein Umfeld, das eigenständiges Denken fördert, Forschende ein Klima, das zu Spitzenleistungen inspiriert.


100%, Basel, temporary

Activities in the Molecular Systems Engineering Lab (Prof. Michael Nash) focus on molecular engineering and single-molecule biophysical studies on therapeutic proteins. Our goal is to understand, design, produce and evolve biomolecular systems in pursuit of new diagnostic and therapeutic technologies. We use protein engineering, biotechnology and single-molecule methods to study and control how proteins function at the molecular and mechanistic levels.

Project background

The PhD position is in the ETH Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering (D-BSSE) located in Basel, Switzerland. This project is a collaboration between Prof. Viola Vogel (ETHZ D-HEST) and Prof. Michael Nash (ETHZ D-BSSE and Univ. of Basel). The Nash Lab () is a jointly affiliated lab between the ETH Zurich Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering in Basel, Switzerland and the University of Basel, Department of Chemistry.

Job description

We offer a PhD position funded by an ETH Grant studying molecular aspects of early fertilization. Fertilization is an essential process in sexual reproduction that occurs when sperm and egg recognize each other and fuse together through series of molecular interactions. Recently, the proteins involved in the initial steps of sperm-egg adhesion were reported. However, no prior studies examine recognition of these proteins from a mechanical perspective. The goal of this project is to resolve the molecular details of sperm-egg protein complex formation, and to probe force-activated binding, force-induced conformational changes, and the influence of genetic mutations on sperm-egg protein interactions using atomic force microscopy (AFM) and single-molecule force spectroscopy (AFM-SMFS). This will provide insights into the molecular processes involved in the first steps of fertilization and aid in the development of new contraceptives.

Your profile
  • MSc in biochemistry, molecular biology, physics, chemical engineering, bioengineering (or a related field)
  • Skilled in protein science, protein structural analysis
  • Motivated to work in a highly interdisciplinary team
  • Interested in experimental aspects including protein engineering, surface chemistry, and atomic force microscopy.
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 with the following documents: CV, bachelor and masters grade transcripts, statement of interest, and contact details of three referees. Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered.

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