Post-doctoral fellow in Physical Chemistry

Location: Sweden
Application Deadline: 18 March 2024
Published: 3 weeks ago

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Lund University, Department of Chemistry (Nfak)

Lund University was founded in 1666 and is repeatedly ranked among the world’s top universities. The University has around 45 000 students and more than 8 000 staff based in Lund, Helsingborg and Malmö. We are united in our efforts to understand, explain and improve our world and the human condition.

Lund University welcomes applicants with diverse backgrounds and experiences. We regard gender equality and diversity as a strength and an asset.

Subject description

Lipid alterations in cancer – imaging cell membrane structure and dynamics at the molecular scale using neutron scattering techniques

This post-doctoral position is part of the EU cofund research project AMBER, Advanced Multiscale Biological imaging using European Research infrastructures, will address scientific and sectoral gaps in biological imaging ranging from molecular, through cellular, to tissue, organ, and organism levels of organisation, and is coordinated by LINXS Institute of advanced Neutron and X-ray Science.

AMBER is funded by the EU Marie Skłodowska-Curie (MSCA) COFUND scheme.Around 14 postdocs will be recruited in the first call, with each fellowship lasting 36 months.

AMBER has six core partners: Lund University/MAX IV, Sweden, the European Spallation Source (ESS), Sweden, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Institute Laue-Langevin (ILL), France, the International Institute of Molecular Mechanisms and Machines, (IMOL), Poland, and the Leicester Institute of Structural and Chemical Biology, United Kingdom.

Your work will include clinical and biomedical projects. It will also include technique development work aimed at combining imaging techniques and data analysis to provide a more integrated picture of life processes in the context of health and disease. To be a postdoc fellow at the AMBER programme you will get unprecedented medical, biological, and methodological capabilities, with a profound potential impact for Europe’s next generation of research and researchers. When you have completed the AMBER programme you will be extraordinarily well equipped to further your career in academia, at infrastructures, in the health and MedTech sectors, and beyond.

For more information about the total announced post-doctoral positions within in the AMBER co-fund project please visit:  https://www.euraxess.se/jobs/178170

The interviews will start in April. For more information about AMBER, application, and evaluation process etc please visit: https://www.ambercofund.eu

Description of PI and enviorment

The PI Hanna Wacklin-Knecht is a senior adjunct lecturer at the Physical Chemsitry Division at Lund university and senior scientist at the European Spallation Source. The research environment for this project and the group is shared between both locations approximately equally. The group’s research focuses on the reconstitution of biomimetic lipid membranes using lipid extracts from cell cultures, and investigating their properties and interactions using neutron scattering and other biophysical characterisation methods in the context of different biomedical projects.

Description of project

Alterations in the lipid composition of cells are often related to the mechanisms of cancer development, proliferation as well as treatment response.  Such alterations may be hereditary, dietary, result of environmental factors, or arise from the altered metabolism of cancer cells. Lipidomic profiling is beginning to yield information about the types of changes occurring, but obtaining information of the biophysical consequences of cancer lipid alterations at the molecular level remains challenging.

In this project we focus on detecting the changes induced in cancer cell membranes by lipid alterations using neutron scattering techniques. Advanced mimics of human cancer cell membranes built from eukaryotic lipids expressed in deuterium labelled cell cultures will enable modeling different types of cancer cell membranes closely.  The main focus will be on developing the use of deuterium labeling and membrane reconstitution methodologies for neutron reflectometry (membrane structure) and quasi-elastic neutron spectroscopy (molecular dynamics), complemented by infra-red and NMR methods, as well as the broad range of imaging methods offered by the AMBER consortium.

Work duties

The main duties involved in a post-doctoral posistion is to conduct research. Teaching may also be included, but up to no more than 20% of working hours. The position shall include the opportunity for three weeks of training in higher education teaching and learning.

The main duties of this postdoc will be to futher develop methodologies for the isolation and analysis of biologically deuterated lipids from cell cultures, and the reconstitution of cancer cell membrane models, as well as carrying out neutron scattering experiments/analysis to probe membrane structure and dynamics. The reearch will be carried out at Lund university at the Division of Physical chemistry, and for the purification and characterisation of biologically deuterated lipids, the postdoc will be hosted 50% at the nearby DEMAX laboratory of the European Spallation Source. A 3-month placement at the STFC ISIS Neutron and Muon facility is included in the work.

Other duties will include:

  • Research and collaboration within the subject area, as defined in the research work plan set up for the project
  • Participation in the AMBER training programme and activities
  • Participation in the on-going activities and maintenance of the ESS DEMAX laboratory
  • Collaboration with ESS/ISIS scientists and participation in host group meetings and relevant facility events during placements
  • Teaching in the first, second and third cycles of studies as appropriate
  • Supervision of degree projects and doctoral students
  • Actively seeking external research funding
  • Collaboration with industry and wider society
  • Administration related to the work duties listed above

 

Qualifications required for project

Eligibility

Eligible to be employed as a postdoctoral researcher is a person who has obtained a doctoral degree, or a foreign degree deemed equivalent to a doctoral degree, in the subject area of the position and obtained no more than eight years before the end of the application period.

Minimum eligibility requirements are:

  • Candidate needs to have a maximum 8 years after a doctoral degree (PhD), as required by the Commission, in accordance with the Horizon-Europe MSCA cofund project Grant Agreement.
  • At least one original publication in a peer-reviewed journal
  • A background in the relevant methods
  • A complete application package submitted through the AMBER portal (including CV and detailed research plan)
  • Strict compliance with the MSCA mobility rule that the researcher must not have resided or carried out his/her main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the host organisation’s country for more than twelve months in the three years immediately prior to the call deadline.

Essential requirements for this position:

  • Experience of neutron/X-ray scattering methods and data analysis for lipid samples
  • Experience of supported lipid membrane formation and characterization
  • A basic understanding of gas and liquid chromatography methods Experience in and willingness to contribute to general laboratory housekeeping and safety, as well as maintaining and calibrating equipment
  • Very good oral and written proficiency in English
  • Willingness and ability to travel internationally
  • Experience of international collaboration and working in an international environment

 

Assessment criteria and other qualifications

This is a career development position primarily focused on research. The position is intended as an initial step in a career, and the assessment of the applicants will primarily be based on their research qualifications and potential as researchers. Particular emphasis will be placed on research skills within the subject.

For appointments to a post-doctoral position, the following shall form the assessment criteria:

  • A good ability to develop and conduct high quality research.
  • Independent thinking and ability to drive own research in the field Good co-operation skills.

Additional requirements for this project that constitute a merit:

  • Experience in neutron reflectometry and/or quasi-elastic neutron scattering experiments and data analysis
  • Experience in lipid extraction and purification from cell cultures Experience in gas and thin layer chromatography analysis of lipid composition
  • Experience in analytical or preparative HPLC, mass spectrometry and/or NMR analysis of lipids
  • Experience with complementary techniques to investigate lipid membranes (e.g. QCM-D, ATF-FTIR, AFM, fluorescence microscopy).
  • Experience or interest in learning how to grow cell cultures
  • Experience in biological lipid deuteration and/or synthesis methods

Additional assessment criteria:

  • The ability to work independently as well as to support and collaborate with others is essential
  • The ability to write to reports and publications on methods developed and results obtained is essential
  • An interest and ability to learn new techniques and methods is desirable An interest to participate in conferences, workshops, meetings, and outreach activities is desirable

Consideration will also be given to how the applicant’s experience and skills complement and strengthen ongoing research within the department and the AMBER programme and the project partner laboratories and how they stand to contribute to future developments.

Terms of employment

This is a full-time, fixed-term employment of a maximum of 3 years. The period of employment is determined in accordance with the agreement “Avtal om tidsbegränsad anställning som postdoktor” (“Agreement on fixed-term employment as a post-doctoral fellow”) between Lund University, SACO-S and OFR/S, dated 1st February 2022.

Instructions on how to apply

For more information, please visit www.ambercofund.eu.

If you are interested in applying for more than one position (maximum 3) you must be prepared to make a full application for each individual position.

Applications shall be written in English and compiled into a PDF-file containing:

i) A Curriculum Vitae (europass format). This is created by registering and using the Europass portal here: https://europa.eu/europass/en/create-europass-cv. Your CV can then be exported to a PDF file that you use in your application.

ii) A detailed research plan including any foreseen secondments (candidates can suggest more than the mandated one, they can also suggest their own secondments), schools and conferences as well as a templated budget plan. (as concise as possible, recommended about 3-5 pages, but at an absolute maximum 10 pages. The research plan should include a half page of summary/abstract. The template can be downloaded from the “For applicants” page, here: https://www.ambercofund.eu/for-applicants.

Additional texts to include in the PDF are:

iii) Letter of Commitment from any additional secondment partners the candidate wishes to bring onboard.

iv) Evidence of English proficiency (minimum CEFR B22, also checked at interview).

v) A draft Individual Career Development Plan (ICDP).

vi) Two reference letters.

vii) Any additional documents to support the application.

viii) Ethical questionnaire (HE ethics checklist + research ethics commitment) link will be provided at the “For applicants” page, here: https://www.ambercofund.eu/for-applicants.

In addition, the application will require:

ix) Any candidate can apply for maximum of 3 positions. You must apply for each individual position. A list with order of preference of positions should be sent to the AMBER management. amber@linxs.se The template can be downloaded from the “For applicants” page, here: https://www.ambercofund.eu/for-applicants.

x) A pre-recorded video presentation (questionnaire-guided, via online video tool, about 10min). Upon successful completion of the rest of the application procedure eligible candidates will be sent a link.

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