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PhD position, Bio-electrochemistry - 2019BAPFWETEF185

The AXES research group at the University of Antwerp ( has an open position for a PhD to strengthen our developments in the field of bio-electrochemistry.

The on-site and higly selective detection of low molecular weight target molecules remains a challenging area of research. In this project, we wish to better understand and eventually improve analytical detection systems that use short DNA sequences for selective recognition of molecules of interest – called aptamers – followed by the generation of electrical signals upon binding.To achieve this we will first study the fundamental influence of structure and flexibility of aptamers on binding and current generation. This will further be mapped using computer modelling, NMR spectroscopy and ITC measurements. After obtaining structural knowledge, we aim to chemically stabilize the high affinity aptamers by introduction of chemically modified building blocks in the aptamer nucleic acid sequence. The additional functional groups thus introduced in the aptamer should allow to enhance the stability of the folded ligand binding state of the aptamer. In this way, we hope to contribute to the development of more robust aptasensors. This should ultimately and on the long term lead to improved, robust, simple and mobile devices allowing to be handled on-site in different fields of application (e.g. law enforcement agencies, medical care environment, food industry).

PhD position in Science in the field of bio-electrochemistry

Job description

  • You prepare a doctoral thesis in the field of bio-electrochemistry.
  • You publish scientific articles related to the research project of the assignment.
  • You present your work at national and international workshops and conferences.

Profile and requirements

  • You hold a master degree in chemistry, biology, physics, bioscience or applied engineering.
  • You can submit outstanding academic results.
  • Students in the final year of their degree can also apply.
  • Your academic qualities comply with the requirements stipulated in the university’s policy.
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills.
  • A creative and analytical mind.
  • In view of the international context, mastering of the English language (both oral and written) is mandatory.

We offer

  • a doctoral scholarship for a period of two years, with the possibility of renewal for a further two-year period after positive evaluation;
  • the start date of the scholarship will be August 2019 (or autumn 2019);
  • a dynamic and international working environment.

How to apply?

  • Please send a detailed CV (including honours, grades, skills, publications, …) and contact info of two references together with a strong motivation letter before August 18th, 2019 to with clear subject indication ‘AXES_PhD2019’.
  • A pre-selection will be made from amongst the submitted applications.

The University of Antwerp is a family friendly organization, with a focus on equal opportunities and diversity. Our HR-policy for researchers was awarded by the European Commission with the quality label HR Excellence in research.

We support the Science4Refugees initiative and encourage asylum-seeking, refugee scientists and researchers to apply for a job at the University of Antwerp.