PhD positions: Diamond magnetometry of free radicals during stress responses


Biomedical Engineering

Working Enviroment

The project will be carried out in the Bioimaging and Bioanalysis group led by Dr. Romana Schirhagl within the department of Biomedical Engineering. We are a young and interdisciplinary team consisting of biologists physicists and chemists. We have unique home built state of the art equipment available to do nanoscale magnetometry as well as facilities for biological or chemical experiments. Our goal is to apply diamond magnetometry to understand processes related to stress in cells.

Research project
The project (Diamond magnetometry of free radicals during stress responses) is funded by the European Union via the ERC starting grant Stress Imaging.
Conventional magnetic resonance equipment is the gold standard in many different fields. However, the inherently small signals limit the technique in terms of spatial resolution. To solve this problem we use fluorescent defects in diamond which change their magnetooptical properties based on their magnetic surrounding. As a result we can detect magnetic resonances optically without the need of a conventional magnetic resonance equipment. Since optical detection is very sensitive this allows even the detection of the magnetic signal of single electrons. In the project we want to use this technology to understand stress responses inside cells. These stress factors can for instance be drugs killing a cancer cell or an impact of a pathogen but also some natural metabolic processes or aging.

Job description

There are currently 2 PhD positions on this project available:
The first is for a candidate with a chemistry (or related) background. Here the tasks will include surface modifications of diamond and handling and characterization of nanoparticles. The aim of surface functionalization is to direct diamond sensor particles to certain locations, maintain colloidal stability or optimize the optical properties.

The second position is meant for a candidate with a biology or biotechnology background. Their tasks will include cell culturing, conventional testing of stress responses as reference for magnetometry measurements, optimizing and analyzing cell uptake.

Candidates with a background in physics in any aspects of diamond magnetometry are off course welcome too.

The project will lead into a PhD thesis after 4 years of work.


Candidates must have the following requirements:
- a master’s degree in Biology, Chemistry, Physics or Biotechnology,
- research experience in the area of diamond magnetometry or any of the above mentioned techniques,
- good English skills,
- excellent team working skills, enthusiastic, ambitious, and a team player.

The UMCG has a preventive Hepatitis B policy. You may be required to build up sufficient protection against Hepatitis B before you can be appointed. Vaccination is provided by the UMCG if necessary.

Conditions of employment

A fulltime PhD student position for a fixed period of 4 years.
Your salary is € 2.244,- gross per month in the first year up to a maximum of € 2.874,- gross per month in the last fourth year (scale PhD). Maximum hours per week: 36. In addition, the UMCG will offer you 8% holiday pay, an 8.3% end-of-year bonus and a development budget. The terms of employment comply with the Collective Labour Agreement for Medical Centers (CAO-UMC).

More information
For more information about this vacancy you may contact:
Dr. Romana Schirhagl, projectleader; (please do not use e-mailadress for applications)

Additional information

Extra information can be obtained thru the following links:
UMCG Corporate information/research
Welcome to Groningen
Romana Schirhagl research group

Applying for a job

Please use the the digital application form at the bottom of this page - only these will be processed. You can apply until 5 June 2017. Immediately after sending the digital application form you will receive an email- confirmation with further information.

Digital application form