PhD student in single-molecule Biophysics

Job description

PhD student in the field of single-molecule-fluorescence microscopy

Job description:
Fluorescent-based single-molecule techniques offer unique possibilities to study biological processes on the molecular level with high spatial and temporal resolution [1]. In your Ph.D. work, you will probe and characterise DNA to protein interactions using single-molecule FRET, a highly sensitive technique used for measuring nanometre distances between and within single biomolecules. In particular, we are interested in monitoring DNA polymerases and DNA ligases whilst they are performing their catalytic function of processing DNA. DNA polymerases are involved in DNA replication and DNA repair. Most polymerases achieve an incredibly high fidelity, which is required for maintaining the genomic integrity of every living cell. Nonetheless, the molecular base of the fidelity is currently only poorly understood. DNA ligases, on the other hand, are necessary to create the final phosphodiester bond between two single strands to finish the successful repair of DNA. In a first stage, you will employ ultra-sensitive FRET-based DNA sensors to detect the binding and dissociation of unmodified enzymes to DNA. In a second stage, using fluorescently-labelled variants of the enzymes, you will use the obtained distance information to generate a precise structural and dynamical model of the enzymes acting on DNA. You will also have the chance to use and characterise novel nanofluidic devices, designed to push the general detection limit and achievable throughput in single-molecule experiments.

[1]: Surfing on a new wave of single-molecule methods, J. Hohlbein et al., Phys. Biol., 7, 031001, 2010


        Due to the interdisciplinary nature of our research, we are looking for an excellent and highly motivated applicant with a MSc degree in molecular (life) sciences/ (bio-)physics/ (bio-)chemistry/ or equivalent. Ideally, you have proven knowledge (and some hands-on experience) on biophysical techniques such as fluorescence microscopy or other spectroscopic methods. Further experience in single-molecule techniques and molecular methods is advantageous but not mandatory. For the computational part of the work, some experience in programming (C/C++, Matlab, or similar) is welcome. An good command of the English language is required.

Conditions of employment

We offer you a temporary position for a period of 18 months with extension of 2.5 years after successful evaluation. Gross salary per month € 2062 in the first year rising up to € 2638 per month in the fourth year. We not only offer a competitive salary but also good (study) leave and a pension of the ABP Pension Fund. Foreign applicants might be entitled to the 30% rule (

Additional information
For more information about this position, please contact Dr. Johannes Hohlbein (, For more information about the contractual aspects, please contact mw. J. van Meurs, HR advisor, telephone number +31 3174 80101.

You can apply online at until the 1st of May 2013.

Contract type:                  Temporary,                          Tijdelijk dienstverband             


Wageningen UR (University & Research centre)

The Laboratory of Biophysics ( focuses a large part of its activities on the study of biological macromolecules using various (micro-)spectroscopic techniques. The group is also running the MicroSpectroscopy Centre, where most of the research will be performed, and the Wageningen NMR Centre.

The Agrotechnology & Food Sciences Group is part of Wageningen UR where fundamental and applied sciences complement each other. As an important European player, we carry out top-level research and work alongside authoritative partners within the international business world as well as the government on “Healthy food in a biobased society”. We have a crucial role in innovations within the market. Entrepreneurship and professionalism are what define us. In short, we are an interesting, international employer of stature.

Wageningen University and Research centre
Delivering a substantial contribution to the quality of life. That's our focus – each and every day. Within our domain, healthy food and living environment, we search for answers to issues affecting society – such as sustainable food production, climate change and alternative energy. Of course, we don’t do this alone. Every day, 6,500 people work on ‘the quality of life’, turning ideas into reality, on a global scale.

Could you be one of these people? We give you the space you need.

For further information about working at Wageningen UR, take a look at

Acquisition regarding this vacancy is not appreciated.

Additional information

        More information about employer          Wageningen UR (University & Research centre)          on AcademicTransfer.                Direct link to this job opening: