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Postdoctoral Researcher Photopharmacology (1.0 FTE) (222517)

Job description

“Photoresponsive molecules for biomedical applications .”

Photopharmacology is a rapidly emerging field at the interface of the chemical and medical sciences aiming at high precision therapy. Being among the founding fathers of photopharmacology (together with the Trauner group, currently at UPenn), our expertise in molecular photoswitches and light-driven rotary motors gives us a unique advantage to design the smart medicine of the future. Unlike optogenetics, widely used in neuroscience relying on genetic modification of the organism, the basis for photopharmacology is the design of drugs with intrinsic switchable functions. Specifically, this means that in bioactive molecular components (common pharmaceuticals) designed with intrinsic light-switchable units, the biological activity can be switched on and off with high precision on command using light. The use of light as external trigger allows high precision activation of a drug in space and time in a non-invasive manner. This opens fascinating opportunities for precise targeting of e.g. tumors, and bacterial infections. High precision cancer chemotherapy, fighting bacterial resistance or infectious biofilms are among the prospects for future clinical applications. In a more fundamental scientific perspective control of specific pathways in complex biological networks open numerous opportunities. Our Nobel prize winning research on molecular machines (light-driven chiral molecular switches and motors) introducing directional motion at the nanoscale enabled us to explore the basic principles of photopharmacological agents. We pioneered photoswitchable antibiotics and quorum sensing molecules, interfering with bacterial communication and very recently demonstrated the regulation of the circadian clock in human cells.

The postdoc will be involved in both the design and functioning of biocompatible switches and motors and close cooperate with both PhD students in particular the development of the relevant bioassays in close cooperation with our partners. It should be emphasized that this part of the research program will build on long-standing cooperation with UMCG (Nuclear medicine /imaging, Dierkx, Elsinga, Szymanski), (Cancer Research, Helfrich), (infectious diseases), Biomedical materials/ Kolff institute) and Biochemistry/Cell biology (Kuipers).

Qualifications

We are looking for candidates who meet the following requirements:

• a PhD degree in chemistry or a related field
• knowledge and skills in synthetic organic chemistry are necessary; knowledge and skills in photochemistry and photochromism are strongly recommended; knowledge and skills in spectroscopy, medicinal chemistry and chemical biology are a plus
• a relevant publication record demonstrating your ability to publish international academic publications, preferably in top tier peer-reviewed journals
• the ability to communicate verbally and in written form in English.

Applicants whose first language is not English must submit evidence of competency in English, please see University of Groningen’s English Language Requirements for details.

Organisation

The University of Groningen is a research university, currently in or around the top 100 on several influential ranking lists. The Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE) is the largest faculty within the University, offering first-rate education and research in a wide range of science and engineering disciplines.

The mission of the Stratingh Institute for Chemistry is to perform excellent research and teaching in molecular and supramolecular chemistry. Core activities in the chemical sciences such as bioorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, molecular inorganic chemistry and molecular materials chemistry are embedded in the institute. The research programme is focused on synthesis, catalysis, functional materials, bio-organic chemistry/chemical biology and systems chemistry/complex molecular systems.

The research program of the Feringa group is focused on synthetic and physical organic chemistry. Inspired by Nature's principles of molecular assembly, recognition, transport, motion and catalysis, the goal is to exploit the full potential of synthetic chemistry to create new structures and functions. A major part of the research is directed towards dynamic molecular systems. The focus is on molecular nanoscience, novel responsive materials and photo-pharma exploring biohybrid systems, self-assembly, molecular switches and motors. A second part of the program deals with the development (and application in chemical biology) of novel stereoselective synthesis methods and asymmetric catalysis. Chirality is a leading theme and over the years a unique and broad expertise in fundamental aspects of stereochemistry has been acquired including chiroptical phenomena, chiral amplification and origin of chirality.

Conditions of employment

We offer you in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities:

• a salary based on qualifications and experience of starting at € 3,557 gross per month (salary scale 10)
• excellent secondary terms of employment
• a fulltime position
• a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income and an 8.3% end-of-year bonus
• 232 holiday hours per calendar year for full time employment
• participation in a pension scheme for employees
• a personal budget of € 1,000 per year for additional training and career activities
• a temporary appointment for a specified period of 12 months, with a possibility of extension.

The starting date is flexible, but is preferably before the end of 2023

Application

Do you meet our qualification criteria? If yes, you’re requested to upload the following documents:

• a motivation letter stating your motivation to apply for the position and your key qualities relevant for this position
• an up-to-date curriculum vitae, including a publication record
• contact information of two academic references.

You may apply for this position until 28 August 11:59pm / before 29 August 2022 Dutch local time (CET) by means of the electronic application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website).

The University of Groningen strives to be a university in which students and staff are respected and feel at home, regardless of differences in background, experiences, perspectives, and identities. We believe that working on our core values of inclusion and equality are a joint responsibility and we are constructively working on creating a socially safe environment. Diversity among students and staff members enriches academic debate and contributes to the quality of our teaching and research. We therefore invite applicants from underrepresented groups in particular to apply. For more information, see also our diversity policy webpage: https://www.rug.nl/about-ug/policy-and-strategy/diversity-and-inclusion/

Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP): https://www.nvp-hrnetwerk.nl/sollicitatiecode/ and European Commission's European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers: https://euraxess.ec.europa.eu/jobs/charter/code

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.

Information

For information you can contact:

  • Dr Anouk Lubbe, a.s.lubbe rug.nl
  • Prof. Ben Feringa, b.l.feringa rug.nl
  • Prof. Wiktor Szymanski, w.szymanski umcg.nl

Please do not use the e-mail address(es) above for applications.

Apply