PhD Position in Biophysics
Wageningen University Laboratory of Biophysics

PhD in Biophysics

Location Wageningen

End date Sat 16 January 2021

We are looking for

The is looking for a talented and motivated PhD student in interdisciplinary biophysics to strengthen our existing single-molecule FRET team to study protein dynamics and how they are linked to energy sources and specific structural elements of the chaperone protein Hsp90.

Research project: Conformational dynamics play a central role in protein function, as most proteins alternate between several conformations during their functional cycle. Commonly available 3D structures (from cryoEM, x-ray crystallography, etc.) represent precise static snapshots, but they are blind for the sequence order of events that give rise to protein function. At the NanoDynamicsLab, we directly measure such molecular dynamics experimentally and at the single-molecule level. We aim to understand their energetic origin, and to link them to key structural elements. In this project, we investigate protein chimeras to unravel the structural origin that causes the striking functional differences found in prokaryotic and eukaryotic chaperone Hsp90, such as differences in the mechano-chemical cycle, nucleotide dependence, interaction partners etc. To this end, we develop and apply new single-molecule FRET sensing schemes.

We ask

  • an MSc with a strong background in (bio-)physics, biochemistry, interdisciplinary nanosciences or similar areas;
  • a strong drive to do experimental single-molecule research and to gain expertise in protein biophysics and protein biochemistry techniques, advanced data analysis and pattern recognition, optics and FRET;
  • a reliable and pro-active work style and enthusiasm for the project;
  • a social team player attitude and good communication skills in English;
  • a profound interest in the broader field of protein biophysics thereby contributing to an open and interactive lab culture.

We offer

We offer you a temporary position for a period of 1.5 years with extension of 2.5 years after successful evaluation. Gross salary per month € 2.395,-  in the first year rising up to € 3.061,-  per month in the fourth year for a full working week of 38 hours in accordance with the Collective Labor Agreement for the Wageningen University.
In addition, we offer:

  • 8% holiday allowance;
  • a structural year-end bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent training opportunities and secondary employment conditions;
  • flexible working hours and holidays can possibly be determined in consultation so that an optimal balance between work and private life is possible;
  • excellent pension plan through ABP;
  • 232 vacation hours, the option to purchase extra and good supplementary leave schemes;
  • a flexible working time: the possibility to work a maximum of 2 hours per week extra and thereby to build up extra leave;
  • a choice model to put together part of your employment conditions yourself, such as a bicycle plan;
  • a lively workplace where you can easily make contacts and where many activities take place on the Wageningen Campus. A place where education, research and business are represented;
  • use the sports facilities on campus.
Wageningen University & Research stimulates internal career opportunities and mobility with an internal recruitment policy. There are ample opportunities for own initiative in a learning environment. We offer a versatile job in an international environment with varied activities in a pleasant and open working atmosphere.

More information

For more information about this vacancy, please contact Dr Sonja Schmid, Assistant Professor of Biophysics, email: For more information about the procedure, please contact Marjolijn Steffens, HR Advisor, email:


You can apply online at until January 17th 2021.


We are an equal opportunities employer and welcome applications from all suitably qualified persons regardless of their race, sex, disability, religion/belief, sexual orientation or age.

Acquisition regarding this vacancy is not appreciated.

We are

The Laboratory of Biophysics (BIP) engages in research of the physical aspects of life processes and teaching of the fundamentals of physics and biophysics and their application in the life sciences. The research of BIP relies on both optical and magnetic resonance techniques.

BIP is a dynamic international team comprising around 10 staff members, 15 PhD students and post-docs. More information on our team can be found at BIP is embedded in the BioMolecular Sciences cluster and participates in the MicroSpectroscopy Research Facility and the MAGNEtic resonance research FacilitY of Wageningen university & Research.

The mission of our University is to explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life. Within Wageningen University & Research, nine specialised research institutes from the Wageningen Research Foundation and Wageningen University have joined forces to help answer the most important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment. 

With approximately 30 locations, 6,500 employees, and 12,000 students, it is one of the leading organisations in its domain worldwide. An integrated approach to problems and the cooperation between various disciplines are at the heart of the unique approach of Wageningen. We have been named Best Employer in Education category 2019-2020.

Click here for more information about working at Wageningen University & Research.

More information about Wageningen Campus you can find here.

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