Universiteit Leiden

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Postdoctoral Research Associate in the mechanics of living materials

Wetenschappelijke functies, PhD-posities
Omvang (fte)
Geplaatst op
21 februari 2023
17 maart 2023 Vacature gesloten

The Faculty of Science and the Leiden Institute of Physics is looking for a:

Postdoctoral Research Associate in the mechanics of living materials
Vacancy number: 23-126

Key responsibilities 
Living materials are made of cells or cell components, birds, or even people and robots. They are driven from the inside out, leading to phenomena such as flocks of birds and crowd waves at concerts. The physics of this active matter is highly relevant to developmental biology, as it helps us understand how how organisms develop and maintain their shape. Many of these processes are driven by single-layer epithelial cell sheets in a feedback loop between active processes, cell shapes and stresses that lead to emergent flows.

The aim of this project is, based on recent progress in extending vertex models, to build a model that incorporates these processes from the bottom up.  We will focus on understanding the emergent active mechanics, flows, and rigidity of such materials that incorporate microscopic internal pulling forces. At the same time, we will assess how biology can functionalise them and make predictions for processes such as gastrulation and germ band extension in drosophila or the chick embryo, and separately for in-vitro systems such as MDCK sheets and model organoids.

Selection Criteria
•    PhD in Physics or a related discipline and a good publication record
•    A background in soft condensed matter theory
•    Strong computational skills in either python or matlab and knowledge of C/C++ 
•    A genuine interest in interdisciplinary science and talking to biologists  
•    Creative and independent thinker
•    Good communication skills, and good English language level
You will be joining the group of Silke Henkes (https://henkesgroup.nl/Group/Main/), part of the SLAM group of soft and active matter research groups in Leiden (https://slam-leiden.nl/Slam/Main/).

Research at our faculty
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 organised in eight institutes. These institutes offer eight bachelor’s and twelve master’s programmes. The faculty has grown strongly in recent years and now has more than 2,300 staff and almost 5,000 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. 
For more information, see  https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/science  and  https://workingat.leiden.edu/ 

The Lorentz Institute
You will be become part of the Lorentz Institute, the oldest institute of theoretical Physics in the Netherlands. 

Terms and conditions 
We offer a full-time appointment of initially one year, with a possible extension after a positive evaluation of the progress of the research, personal capabilities and compatibility. Salaries range from € 3.557,-  to € 4.670,-  gross per month; (pay scale 10 in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities).
Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %), training and career development. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break.
Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups.

Enquiries can be made to Dr. Silke Henkes shenkes@lorentz.leidenuniv.nl.  
To apply for this vacancy, please send an email to Dr. Silke Henkes (shenkes@lorentz.leidenuniv.nl), quoting the vacancy number. Please ensure that you upload the following additional documents:

  • CV including publication list
  • Research statement (3 pages maximum)
  • Name and contact information of at least 2 references     

Review of applications will begin immediately. Only applications received before 17.03.2023 can be considered.

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