Despite the profound importance of chaperones to all proteins, the principles of their action remain surprisingly mysterious. We know that polypeptide chains fold into complex structures, but how can another protein help to solve this puzzle? The structure and function of chaperones like Hsp70 and GroEL has been studied extensively, but traditional methods are not well suited to detect the crucial conformational changes of their client proteins. Recently it has become possible to do so. We have pioneered the use of optical tweezers for this purpose, and for instance applied it to the chaperones SecB, Trigger Factor, and Hsp70 (Science 2007, Nature 2013, Nature 2016). We are integrating single-molecule fluorescence visualization at super-resolution precision, and developed methods to probe single actively translating ribosomes and their associated chaperones. In this project, you will measure the conformational and compositional dynamics of key chaperone systems for the first time, and further extend the capabilities of single-molecule detection.
Our research group focusses on three themes:
We are looking for an outstanding experimental physicist or chemist with an interest in single-molecule biophysics, and a strong drive to excel in a ambitious international environment.
The position is intended as full-time (40 hours / week, 12 months / year) appointment in the service of the Netherlands Foundation of Scientific Research Institutes (NWO-I) for the duration of four years. After successful completion of the PhD research a PhD degree will be granted at Delft University of Technology. Several courses are offered, specially developed for PhD-students. AMOLF assists any new PhD-student with housing and visa applications and compensates their transport costs and furnishing expenses.
Prof. dr. ir. Sander Tans
Group leader Biophysics
Phone: +31-(0)20-754 7100
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