PhD position in Biophysics of Intracellular Motion (1.0 FTE)


Faculty of Science and Engineering


University of Groningen

The University of Groningen is a research university with a global outlook, deeply rooted in Groningen, City of Talent. Quality has been our top priority for over four hundred years, and with success: the University is currently in or around the top 100 on several influential ranking lists.

The Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE) is the largest faculty within the University. We offer first-rate education and research in a wide range of science and engineering subject areas, from mathematics, astronomy and mechanical engineering, to interdisciplinary fields such as artificial intelligence, pharmacy and nanoscience. Our community has an open and informal character with students and staff from around the world.

The position we offer will be embedded in the Groningen Research Institute of Pharmacy (GRIP). Although GRIP is positioned within the Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE), it is physically located within the University Medical Centre Groningen (UMCG) of the Faculty of Medical Sciences (FMS) - hence, in ideal proximity to benefit from collaborations between the two faculties. Together with Medical Sciences, GRIP participates in the joint UMCG-FSE Research Institute GUIDE (Groningen University Institute for Drug Exploration). Pharmaceutical research within GRIP is highly multidisciplinary. It bridges the clinical and biomedical sciences on the one hand, and chemistry, mathematics (statistics) and physics on the other. The interaction between the pharmaceutical sciences and these fundamental and clinical sciences offers excellent opportunities for cutting-edge research.

Job description

Human cells use molecular motors to transport organelles, the organs of the cell, around inside the cell, thereby speeding up biological processes that would otherwise take too long. While there is a good understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying this transport, we understand much less of the larger-scale features of the motion. We have recently argued that organelle motion shares many similarities with the motion in a glass and here we aim to exploit this analogy to better understand organelle motion.

To this end, we will use fluorescence microscopy to follow objects moving in live cells, combined with advanced image analysis to extract quantitative information. The data will be analysed using mathematical models and approaches originally developed for glasses. Aside from answering the fundamental question of how objects move inside cells, the research also has an applied aspect, as both drug carriers and viruses hijack the same transport processes.

As a PhD candidate, you are committed to conducting independent and original scientific research, to report on this research in international publications and conference presentations, and to describe the results of the research in a PhD dissertation, to be completed within 4 years. In addition, you are expected to contribute to various teaching activities, such as supervision of BSc and MSc students.


You are expected to:

• hold a MSc degree in a scientific discipline relevant for the position. Applicants who do not yet hold a MSc degree, but expect to be awarded one in the near future are also welcome to apply. As the research topic is highly interdisciplinary, several different disciplines could be relevant, including (but not limited to): (bio)physics, nanotechnology, (biomedical) engineering, and the pharmaceutical sciences. The fit to the position and/or the willingness to explore a different discipline may be motivated in the cover letter
• be strongly motivated to obtain a PhD degree
• be able to work efficiently, independently as well as in a team
• be proficient in the English language (oral and written).

In addition, one or several of the following qualifications are beneficial but not required:

• experience in computer programming
• mathematical ability, at the level of multivariable calculus
• experience with (mammalian) cell culture
• experience with microscopy.

Conditions of employment

Contract length: 48 months.

We offer in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities:

• a salary of € 2,541 gross per month in the first year, up to a maximum of € 3,247 gross per month in the fourth and final year based on a full-time position (1.0 FTE)
• a holiday allowance and end-of-year bonus of respectively 8% and 8.3% of your yearly salary
• a full-time position (1.0 FTE) for four years: first, you will get a temporary position of one year with the option of renewal for another three years; prolongation of the contract is contingent on sufficient progress in the first year to indicate that successful completion of the PhD thesis within the contract period is to be expected. A PhD training program is part of the agreement and you will be enrolled in the Graduate School of the Faculty of Science and Engineering.

Consider our website for information about work at the University of Groningen:

Job Application

You may apply for this position until 24 July 11:59pm / before 25 July 2022 Dutch local time (CEST) by means of the online application form (click on "Apply" below the advertisement on the university website).

Applications for the position should include:

• a cover letter (1–2 pages) introducing yourself and describing your motivation to apply for this position and how your background fits with the position
• a CV (max 2 pages) demonstrating academic excellence, including details of BSc and MSc degrees
• copies of your academic records from your BSc and MSc studies
• contact details of two academic references who can provide information on your suitability for the position.

The University of Groningen strives to be a university in which students and staff are re-spected and feel at home, regardless of differences in background, experiences, per-spectives, and identities. We believe that working on our core values of inclusion and equality are a joint responsibility and we are constructively working on creating a socially safe environment. Diversity among students and staff members enriches academic de-bate and contributes to the quality of our teaching and research. We therefore invite ap-plicants from underrepresented groups in particular to apply. For more information, see also our diversity policy webpage:[…]/

Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP): and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers:

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.

Additional information

For additional information, please contact:

Dr Christoffer Åberg

In your application, please always include the job opening ID 222439

Digital application form