18 December 2011

PhD Project - Biophysics / Physical Chemistry

 Contacto correo-e:rrichter@cicbiomagune.es
Nano and microscale mechanics of polysaccharide-rich cellular coats

In this project, the PhD fellow will use state-of-the-art methods based on atomic force microscopy and microinterferometry to study the interactions between proteins and polysaccharides, on the molecular and supramolecular level.

Many cells surround themselves with a hydrogel-like coat that is rich in the polysaccharide hyaluronan. Hyaladherins, a family of proteins that bind to hyaluronan, keep the pericellular coat together and modulate its properties, in ways that are not well understood. The mechanical properties of pericellular coats are functionally important, for example in cartilage, in fertilization or in the fluid flow in blood vessels.
The goal of this research project is to understand the physical principles that underlie the structure and function of pericellular coats. The successful candidate will develop and use methods, based on atomic force microscopy, to quantify the interaction forces and mechanical properties inherent to hyaluronan-rich matrices. Interactions will be studied on the molecular and supramolecular levels. Experimental results will be confronted with polymer physics theory.

The research team is multidisciplinary. We combine novel approaches of surface biofunctionalization and a toolbox of state-of-the-art biophysical characterization techniques to create biomimetic supramolecular architectures, for the study of fundamental biological questions and for biotechnological applications.
The team is part of a young research center for biomaterials, which offers excellent working conditions and has been recently equipped with state-of-the-art instruments, including atomic force, confocal, and electron microscopes, a variety of surface-sensitive (QCM-D, ellipsometry, SPR) and spectroscopic (ATR-FTIR, fluorescence) techniques.

The applicant should hold an MSc degree or equivalent. He/she should have keen interest in multidisciplinary work, and a strong drive to excel in a competitive international research environment. A background in physics, physical chemistry, engineering, or a closely related field is required. Skills in computer programming and/or biology are of advantage. The project can be started immediately. The working language is English. The position is offered by the CIC biomaGUNE for up to 4 years.

Información complementaria de la oferta:
Interested? Please send an informal application with a motivation letter on why you want to join the project, your CV, a transcript of your university record and the contact information of two referees to Ralf Richter (rrichter@cicbiomagune.es). Further information about the Richter Group can be found on www.cicbiomagune.es.

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