Postdoctoral Position in Ecotoxicology
Uppsala University Department of Organismal Biology

Postdoctoral position in "Ecotoxicology-on-a-chip"

Uppsala University is a comprehensive research-intensive university with a strong international standing. Our mission is to pursue top-quality research and education and to interact constructively with society. Our most important assets are all the individuals whose curiosity and dedication make Uppsala University one of Sweden’s most exciting workplaces. Uppsala University has 46.000 students, 7.300 employees and a turnover of SEK 7.3 billion.

The Department of Organismal Biology teaches and explores the evolution, development and function on the organismal level. For more information see

Seeking a motivated, technically skilled and creative researcher for a highly interdisciplinary project funded through a Swedish Research council (VR) starting grant and housed in the Evolutionary Biology Center (EBC) at Uppsala University, Sweden. We are looking for candidates who can creatively contribute to interdisciplinary work, are highly independent and who thrive in an informal, hands-on lab with a flat hierarchy and friendly people.

Research in the Behrendt Lab explores the functional responses of single microorganisms in relation to their physical and chemical environment. Specifically, we combine microfluidic lab-on-a-chip approaches with high-throughput single-cell physiological readouts (automated microscopic imaging, molecular readouts and chemical interrogations) to obtain data for the risk assessment of pollutants under forecasted climate change scenarios.

Project description: To quantify the effects of singular- and combined stressors on the metabolism of single cells, this project will combine two key technologies, (i) microfluidics and (ii) quantitative phase imaging (QPI), into a novel, high-throughput ‘Ecotoxicology-on-a-chip’ approach. Where microfluidics enables the accurate delivery of multiparametric stressors (e.g. temperature and chemicals) to immobilized cells, QPI concurrently measures the dry-mass in exposed cells. Biological model systems to-be-investigated include single-cells of marine bacteria and phytoplankton, which, due to their fundamental role in carbon cycling and primary production, are of great global and ecological relevance.

Work in this project will provide a major leap forward in our understanding on the role of environmental factors in controlling pollutant toxicity towards single cells. In addition to answering fundamental questions of environmental relevance, a commercialization of the resulting technology for rapid toxicity monitoring will also be pursued.

Duties: Specific tasks in this project include (i) the operation of a QPI imaging platform, (ii) the coupling of QPI to existing and to-be-developed microfluidic platforms, (iii) the use of this ‘Ecotoxicology-on-a-chip’ approach to measure the effect of environmental and toxicological stressors on the dry-mass of single-cells. Results are to be analyzed and reported in scientific publications.

Requirements: To qualify for an employment as a postdoctor you must have a PhD degree or a foreign degree equivalent to a PhD degree in engineering, optics, physics, microbiology, or other relevant subject. The PhD degree must have been obtained no more than three years prior to the application deadline. The three year period can be extended due to circumstances such as sick leave, parental leave, duties in labour unions, etc.

Candidates must have excellent communications skills (written and spoken English) and a good scientific record of accomplishment. Successful candidates must have documented experience in the operation of advanced imaging platforms, engineering of microfluidic systems and the analysis of high-content images.

Additional qualifications: Good working knowledge of biological systems is an additional merit that will strengthen your application.

Instructions for applying: Applicants should include

  • (i) A letter of intent in which you describe yourself, your research background and interests and why you think you are a good match for the position (max. 2 x A4 pages, ideally shorter)
  • (ii) Your CV and publication list
  • (iii) Two references with names and contact information (phone and email)
  • (iv) A copy of your PhD certificate

Salary: Individual salary.

Starting date: 01-09-2020 or as otherwise agreed.

Type of employment: Temporary position according to central collective agreement.

Scope of employment: 100 %.

For further information about the position please contact: Lars Behrendt,, 00460763151045.

Please submit your application by 24 July 2020, UFV-PA 2020/2159.

Are you considering moving to Sweden to work at Uppsala University? If so, you will find a lot of information about working and living in Sweden at You are also welcome to contact International Faculty and Staff Services at

Please do not send offers of recruitment or advertising services.

Submit your application through Uppsala University´s recruitment system.

Placement: Department of Organismal Biology

Type of employment: Full time , Temporary position longer than 6 months

Pay: Fixed salary

Number of positions: 1

Working hours: 100%

Town: Uppsala

County: Uppsala län

Country: Sweden

Union representative: Seko Universitetsklubben

Number of reference: 2020/2159

Last application date: 2020-07-24

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