In this project you will investigate the physico-chemical properties that underlie the toxicity of some amyloid protein fibrils. The research focuses on understanding molecular mechanisms that allow these fibrils to overcome defense barriers in the body, and transfer the amyloid fold to other proteins.
The self-assembly of proteins into amyloid fibrils plays a role in Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other protein aggregation diseases. Recent reports suggest that these fibrils can transmit their fold in a prion-like mechanism. Several food proteins can also organize into amyloid fibrils. Moreover, their stability, mechanical properties and nanoscale organization makes amyloids attractive building blocks for protein based advanced materials. Considering the proposed transmission mechanism of the amyloid fold, prolonged exposure to food or material related fibrils may thus pose a health risk.
The currently available tools to evaluate the risks associated with exposure to amylodogenic proteins are limited and do not keep pace with new developments. Towards a predictive tool that can be used in risk assessment, you will investigate the relation between the physicochemical properties of amyloid aggregates and the two main risk factors: 1) The ability of amyloids to diffuse over (model systems of) the mucosal hydrogel barriers that protect the human body and brain 2) The ability of amyloids to induce fibrillar aggregation of disease related body proteins.
We look for a highly motivated and ambitious PhD candidate with a MSc degree in the field of physical chemistry, biochemistry or biophysics and an interest in understanding underlying molecular mechanisms. You preferably have practical experience with protein handling, microscopy, spectroscopy and microfluidic systems. You are motivated to learn and apply modern technologies.
You should be able to work as a member of a research team, therefore it is requested that you provide explicit proof of your collaborative performance in previous research work, by providing letters of recommendation from previous supervisors.
You are able to review and engage with interdisciplinary studies and are driven by curiosity. You have excellent analysis skills and an analytical mind-set, as well as excellent communication skills, both spoken and written. English language proficiency is a must.
Information and application
For further information you can contact Prof. Mireille Claessens (email@example.com).
Candidates are invited to upload their application before 30 September 2017 at the UT web address, including a motivation letter describing why you should be considered for the offered position, references (including recommendation letters), and CV (including obtained degrees and publications) to the application button below.
The University of Twente offers a stimulating work environment in an area of applied, forefront research. You will have an employment contract for the duration of 4 years, with a go/no-go assessment at the end of the first year. You can participate in all employee benefits the UT offers. The gross monthly salary starts with € 2222,- in the first year and increases to € 2840,- in the fourth year of your employment. Additionally, the University of Twente provides excellent facilities for professional and personal development, a holiday allowance (amount to 8%) and an end of year bonus of 8.3%.
The University of Twente. We stand for life sciences and technology. High tech and human touch. Education and research that matter. New technology which drives change, innovation and progress in society. The University of Twente is the only campus university in the Netherlands; divided over five faculties we provide more than fifty educational programmes. The University of Twente has a strong focus on personal development and talented researchers are given scope for carrying out pioneering research.
Within the TNW Faculty (Faculty of Science & Technology) of the University of Twente some 700 staff members and 2000 students are involved in training and research on the interface of chemical technology, applied physics and biomedical technology. Fields of application include sustainable energy, process technology and materials science, nanotechnology and technical medicine. Research, which enjoys a high profile both at home and internationally, has been accommodated in the multidisciplinary research institutes MESA+ and MIRA. The faculty works together intensively with industrial partners and researchers in the Netherlands and abroad and conducts extensive research for external commissioning parties and funders.
Deadline: September 30, 2017