Phd Position In Cryo-Electron Microscopy And Tomography Of Microtubules In Mammalian Sperm Cells (1.0 Fte)

Utrecht University
April 14, 2023
Offerd Salary:€ 2,541
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Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Full time
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PhD position in cryo-Electron Microscopy and Tomography of microtubules in

mammalian sperm cells (1.0 FTE)

Job description

Microtubules play a key role in controlling cell shape, organelle distribution and cell motility. Microtubules are intrinsically dynamic polymers, however some cellular components are based on stable microtubules. Depolymerisation of stable microtubules can be prevented by specific factors, but the mechanisms of their action are unknown. We are now seeking a motivated PhD candidate to study microtubules stabilisation in vitro and in mammalian cells with a special interest in sperm cells. In this position you will become part of a consortium supported by an NWO-OCENW-XL grant to study microtubule structure and dynamics in situ using a combination of innovative cryo-Electron Tomography (cryo-ET) and advanced cryo-fluorescence microscopy.You will join the research group of Tzviya Zeev-Ben-Mordehai which combines biochemistry, biophysics and advanced cryo-electron microscopy to unravel the molecular basis of fertilization. Her group was the first to resolve the in-cell structures of mammalian sperm flagella that revealed remarkable species- dependent differences in microtubule inner proteins (for more information, read Leung et al. (2021) and Leung et al. (2022). The natural variation between species and the specific architecture of the sperm cell makes sperm a prime model to study microtubule organisation and stabilisation in different organelles within the same cell. In your research you will combine sophisticated in vitro reconstitution assays with correlative cryo-light- microscopy and cryo-ET/cryo-EM approaches to advance our knowledge of the cytoskeletal organisation and stabilisation.Pursuing a PhD in our group will offer you the opportunity to:

  • learn cryo-EM single particle analysis grid preparation, data collection and processing;
  • acquire skills in cutting-edge cryo-electron-tomography and sub-tomogram averaging;
  • develop workflows for correlative cryo-light microscopy and electron microscopy (cryo-CLEM);
  • gain a deeper understanding of the biology of sperm;
  • develop academic skills such as effective scientific communications (written and oral), building collaboration networks and teaching.
  • Qualifications

    To be successful in the application you should:

  • have (or will soon complete) a Master's degree in Structural Biochemistry, Biophysics or a related field;
  • have advanced (theoretical) knowledge of multiple of the following subjects: Structural Bioinformatics, Molecular Imaging, Cryo-Electron Microscopy, Biophysics, Biochemistry and Cell biology;
  • be highly motivated, creative and able to deal with challenges;
  • like to work in a collaborative environment;
  • have excellent oral and written skills in English (C1).
  • Previous hands-on experience in cryo-Electron Microscopy is not required, but will be considered a significant advantage.


  • an academic environment with several world-class scientists, where English is the main language;
  • academic training in our Molecular Life Sciences programme;
  • a supportive environment with a commitment to academic development and maintaining a healthy work-life balance
  • a position for 4 years;
  • a full-time gross salary ranging from € 2,541 in the first year to €3,247 in the fourth year in scale P of the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities (cao);
  • 8% holiday bonus and 8.3% end-of-year bonus;
  • a pension scheme, partially paid parental leave, and flexible employment conditions based on the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities.
  • In addition to the employment conditions from the CAO for Dutch Universities, Utrecht University has a number of its own arrangements. These include agreements on professional development, leave arrangements and sports. We also give you the opportunity to expand your terms of employment through the Employment Conditions Selection Model. This is how we encourage you to grow. About the organization

    A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major strategic themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

    Additional information

    If you have any questions about the position that you'd like us to answer, please contact Dr. Tzviya Zeev-Ben-Mordehai (associate professor) at [email protected] you have a question about the application procedure? Please send an email to [email protected]

    Everyone deserves to feel at home at our university. We welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives.

    Please enclose:

  • your letter of motivation;
  • your Curriculum Vitae;
  • the name, telephone number, and email address of at least two references;
  • If this specific opportunity isn't for you, but you know someone else who may be interested, please forward this vacancy to them.For more information, watch the video about working at the Faculty of Science.

    The application deadline is 14/04/2023

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