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PhD position in Molecular Biology & Biophysics in Zürich

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


100%, Zurich, fixed-term

The Wieczorek Lab at the Institute of Molecular Biology & Biophysics at ETH Zurich investigates the physical principles underlying the self-assembly of complex intracellular structures from biomolecules. The group uses the microtubule cytoskeleton as a model system. We apply state-of-the-art methods in structural biology, in vitro biochemical reconstitutions, and single molecule biophysics to understand how diverse multi-microtubule assemblies form from a common tubulin “building block”. The results of our work are important for understanding the molecular basis of diseases such as cancer and neurodegeneration, which are often directly linked to defects in microtubule network assembly.

Project background

Previously, we solved the structure of the gamma-tubulin ring complex (gamma-TuRC), a huge multiprotein assembly proposed to nucleate and organize microtubules in cells. We are broadly interested in exploring the following open questions:

1) How does the gamma-TuRC regulate microtubule architecture?
2) How do gamma-TuRC co-factors interact with and regulate the various biochemical functions of the complex?
3) How are various microtubule networks properly established and regulated by the gamma-TuRC in conjunction with tubulin and other microtubule-associated proteins?

The potential candidate will have the opportunity to explore these and other fundamental cell biological questions as the basis of their PhD project in the group.

Job description

We are looking for an enthusiastic and highly-motivated candidate to investigate how microtubules self-assemble. The successful candidate will develop a cutting-edge assay for visualizing the dynamics of microtubule assembly at single molecule resolution.

The group has access to state-of-the-art light and electron microscopy instrumentation, including a Nikon N-STORM equipped for TIRF microscopy and three Titan Krios microscopes, all hosted and maintained at ETH Zurich’s imaging facility, ScopeM.

This is a fully-funded position for 4 years with an anticipated start date of January 1st, 2023 (negotiable). Further project details will be discussed in the interview.

Your profile
  • Bio-engineering or physics background with hands-on experience in optics/microscopy and image processing
  • Research interest in physics, optics, microscopy and biochemistry
  • An MSc degree in bioengineering, physics, biophysics, or other disciplines related to the PhD position
  • Experience with basic molecular biology, cell culturing, and/or protein purification methods are a plus
  • Curiosity about the inner workings of the cell and a passion for basic science are a plus
  • The writing of scientific papers and active participation in internal meetings and in international conferences will require a good knowledge of English
Your workplace
Your workplace

We offer

ETH Zurich is a family-friendly employer with excellent working conditions. You can look forward to an exciting working environment, cultural diversity and attractive offers and benefits.

We value diversity
In line with our values, ETH Zurich encourages an inclusive culture. We promote equality of opportunity, value diversity and nurture a working and learning environment in which the rights and dignity of all our staff and students are respected. Visit our to find out how we ensure a fair and open environment that allows everyone to grow and flourish.
Curious? So are we.

We look forward to receiving your online application with the following documents:

  • Cover/motivation letter that demonstrates your suitability for the offered position and addresses the research questions you would like to develop within the doctoral project at ETH
  • Curriculum vitae with a complete academic record
  • Copies of Bachelor's and Master (if available) degrees
  • Name and contact information of two references

Evaluation of applications will start immediately and will continue until a suitable candidate has been identified. Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered.

Further information about the Institute of Molecular Biology & Biophysics can be found on . Questions regarding the position should be directed to Prof. Dr Michal Wieczorek, Tel +41 44 633 66 54 or email michal.wieczorek@biol.ethz.ch (no application documents).

About ETH Zürich
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.

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