PhD Candidate in the Physics of Living Materials

Leiden University
March 17, 2023
Offerd Salary:€3.247
Working address:N/A
Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Full time
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The Faculty of Science and the Leiden Institute of Physics is looking for a:

PhD Candidate in the Physics of Living Materials Vacancy number: 23-125

Key responsibilities Living materials are made of living entities, such as cells or cell components, birds, or even people and robots. They differ from normal matter because they are moving from the inside out, leading to phenomena such as flocks of birds and crowd waves at concerts. The physics of this active matter is highly relevant to biology, as it helps us understand how wounds heal and how organisms develop and maintain their shape. In this PhD position you will work on the physics of living materials, using theoretical and computational approaches from soft matter physics. Several work areas are possible: The emergent active mechanics and rigidity of materials with active feedback, such as microscopic internal pulling forces, for solids and for liquids. Models of cell sheets and embryonic tissue mechanics, including vertex models of cell sheets and deformable particle models and their application to the cornea of the eye. Finally, I have a long- standing interest and ongoing collaborations in the rigidity of granular packings.

Selection Criteria

  • Master's degree in physics or a related discipline, with a background in statistical physics, soft matter physics or biophysics.
  • A genuine interest in interdisciplinary science and in talking to biologists, and in learning how to translate between disciplines
  • good computational skills in Python, Matlab or another programming language such as C++
  • Good communication skills, and good English language level
  • You will be joining the group of Silke Henkes (https: //, part of the SLAM group of soft and active matter research groups in Leiden (https: //

    Research at our faculty The Faculty of Science is a world-class faculty where staff and students work together in a dynamic international environment. It is a faculty where personal and academic development are top priorities. Our people are committed to expand fundamental knowledge by curiosity and to look beyond the borders of their own discipline; their aim is to benefit science, and to make a contribution to addressing the major societal challenges of the future. The research carried out at the Faculty of Science is very diverse, ranging from mathematics, information science, astronomy, physics, chemistry and bio- pharmaceutical sciences to biology and environmental sciences. The research activities are organised in eight institutes. These institutes offer eight bachelor's and twelve master's programmes. The faculty has grown strongly in recent years and now has more than 2,300 staff and almost 5,000 students. We are located at the heart of Leiden's Bio Science Park, one of Europe's biggest science parks, where university and business life come together.

    For more information, see https: // www. and https: // The Lorentz Institute You will be become part of the Lorentz Institute, the oldest institute of theoretical Physics in the Netherlands.

    Terms and conditions We offer a full-time 1 year term position for initially one year. After a positive evaluation of the progress of the thesis, personal capabilities and compatibility the appointment will be extended by a further three years. Salary range from € 2.541,- to €3.247,- gross per month (pay scale P in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities). Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses(8.3 %), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break.

    All our PhD students are embedded in the Leiden University Graduate School of Science www. Our graduate school offers several PhD training courses at three levels: professional courses, skills training and personal effectiveness. In addition, advanced courses to deepen scientific knowledge are offered by the research school.

    Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups.

    Information Enquiries can be made to Dr. Silke Henkes [email protected]

    Applications To apply for this vacancy, please send an email to Dr. Silke Henkes ([email protected]), quoting the vacancy number. Please ensure that you upload the following additional documents: • CV including information about your degree • Research interests statement (two pages maximum) • Name and contact information of two references

    Review of applications will begin immediately. Only applications received before 17.03.2023 can be considered.

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