PhD Student Position in Time-Resolved Studies of Protein Dynamics

University of Zurich
January 24, 2023
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Department of Chemistry

PhD Student Position in Time-Resolved Studies of Protein Dynamics

60 %

Multiple Ph.D. Student positions and Postdoctoral positions are available in the framework of the SNF Sinergia project “Linking time-resolved structures and signal transduction within multi-domain photosensors”. The project involves research groups at the Paul Scherrer Institute and the University of Zurich in Switzerland and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel. With focus on (a) structural, (b) spectroscopic and (c) computational methods each group targets a different aspect within our interdisciplinary study of photosensors dynamics.

Your responsibilities

Project description: The research is centered around the exciting new possibilities in time-resolved structural biology offered by the Swiss Light Source and the Swiss X-ray free-electron laser, investigating the allosteric signaling between domains in various photoactive protein complexes. These facilities allow the determination of 3D structures of transient protein intermediates with atomistic spatial and ultrafast (up to 100 fs) temporal resolution. Time-resolved IR spectroscopy will be used in the project to specify selected time points, at which the population of intermediates is maximized and their 3D structures can be determined. Quantum chemical and molecular dynamics simulations based on these 3D structures should cross- validate the experimental IR spectra. Final cell biology experiments will close the loop from the initial stimulation to signaling output.

Your profile

Specific knowledge, experience and skills: (a) Structural Biochemistry: Dr. Jörg Standfuss at the Paul Scherrer Institute is searching experts in protein expression, purification, and X-ray crystallography for conducting time-resolved pump-probe experiments. Supplementary reading: Skopintsev, et al. Femtosecond-to-millisecond structural changes in a light-driven sodium pump. Nature 583, 314–318 (2020). (b) Infrared Spectroscopy: Prof. Peter Hamm at the University Zurich is seeking candidates preferentially with knowledge in time-resolved (femtosecond) laser spectroscopy, ideally combined with expertise in protein expression and purification. Supplementary reading: Bozovic, et al. Using Azobenzene Photocontrol to Set Proteins in Motion, Nature Rev. Chem. 6, 112–124 (2022). (c) Computational Chemistry: A project in the group of Prof. Igor Schapiro at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem will focus on simulating photoreceptor proteins using quantum chemical methods, molecular dynamics and multiscale modelling. Supplementary reading: Church et al., Deciphering the Spectral Tuning Mechanism in Proteorhodopsin: The Dominant Role of Electrostatics Instead of Chromophore Geometry, Chem. Eur. J. 28, e202200139.

What we offer

We offer excellent research conditions in a brand new laboratory building and a vibrant interdisciplinary setting. Salary starts from 47'040 CHF/year and increases to 50'040 CHF/year in the 3rd year.

Place of work

University of Zurich, Winterthurerstrasse 190, 8057 Zürich, Switzerland

Start of employment

Employment start date to be mutually agreed. Candidates interested in a Ph.D. Student or Postdoctoral position in Prof. Peter Hamm's Group: Please submit your application as a single PDF file including a motivation letter, CV and copies of degrees.

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