Universiteit Leiden

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PhD candidate to study the relationship between protein folding and metal-binding

Vacancy number
Job type
PhD positions
Hours (in fte)
External/ internal
Placed on
30 June 2020
Closing date
31 July 2020 Vacancy closed

The Faculty of Science and the Leiden Institute of Chemistry are looking for a

PhD candidate to study the relationship between protein folding and metal-binding

Project description
The presence of a metal ion is critical for a multitude of proteins to function. Such functions are diverse, from signaling, to catalysis, and sensing. One way to mimic and potentially emulate such proteins is to design metal-binding proteins from scratch. A fundamental aim of this field of de novo metalloprotein design is understanding how protein folding and metal-binding affect one another. This relationship can, in turn, affect the function of such proteins.

The aim of this project is to uncover the effects of protein folding on metal-binding and vice versa using helical protein scaffolds. The PhD candidate will design and synthesize a range of metal-binding peptides and proteins using solid-phase peptide synthesis and bacterial protein expression techniques. The metal-binding abilities of the resulting proteins will be quantified and their structures will be characterized in the presence and absence of metals in order to unravel the basis of this complex relationship.

Selection criteria

  • A relevant degree in Chemistry or Biochemistry;
  • Experience with solid-phase peptide synthesis and/or the production of recombinant proteins;
  • Experience with/knowledge of techniques including CD, ITC, NMR and crystallography is an advantage;
  • The ability to work as a team player and an enthusiasm for research;
  • Fluency in the English language.

Our organisation
The Faculty of Science is a world-class faculty where staff and students work together in a dynamic international environment. It is a faculty where personal and academic development are top priorities. Our people are committed to expand fundamental knowledge by curiosity and to look beyond the borders of their own discipline; their aim is to benefit science, and to make a contribution to addressing the major societal challenges of the future.

The research carried out at the Faculty of Science is very diverse, ranging from mathematics, information science, astronomy, physics, chemistry and bio-pharmaceutical sciences to biology and environmental sciences. The research activities are organized in eight institutes. These institutes offer eight bachelor’s and twelve master’s programs. The faculty has grown strongly in recent years and now has more than 1,300 staff and almost 4,000 students. We are located at the heart of Leiden’s Bio Science Park, one of Europe’s biggest science parks, where university and business life come together.

The chemistry and life science research in the Leiden Institute of Chemistry (LIC) is organized around two major research areas: ‘Chemical Biology’ and ‘Energy & Sustainability’. The institute’s research themes illustrate the central position of chemistry between biology, medicine and physics. The various research topics carried out within these themes are ideal for executing interdisciplinary research.

Terms and conditions
We offer a position for initially one year. After a positive evaluation of the progress of the thesis, personal capabilities, and compatibility, the appointment will be extended by a further three years. Salary range from € 2,395.- to € 3,061.- gross per month (pay scale P in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities). The position is available from October 1st, 2020.

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3%), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. For international spouses we have set up a dual career programme. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break.

All our PhD students are embedded in the Leiden University Graduate School of Science. Our graduate school offers several PhD training courses at three levels: professional courses, skills training and personal effectiveness.

Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups.

Enquiries can be made to Aimee Boyle, email a.l.boyle@chem.leidenuniv.nlIf you have any questions about the procedure, please contact secretary Michelle van der Haar, email m.haar@chem.leidenuniv.nl.

To apply for this vacancy, please send an email m.haar@chem.leidenuniv.nl. Please ensure that you quote the vacancy number and include the following documents in your application:

  • A letter of motivation, including what interests you about this position;
  • An update-to-date CV;
  • The transcripts of your studies and a copy of your degree;
  • The contact details of two references, including names, affiliations, and email addresses.

Only applications received no later than July 31, 2020 will be considered.

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