The Molecular Plasmonics group at Eindhoven University of Technology (The Netherlands, www.molecular-plasmonics.nl
) has an open PhD position on protein-nanoparticle conjugates for single-molecule studies of protein-protein interactions.Background
Proteins and their interactions are the cornerstone of biological processes. The dynamic cooperation between multiple species is key to various processes including chaperone-mediated protein folding. Herein multiple chaperone proteins cooperate to aid in folding of a peptide, and to prevent its aggregation. The dynamics of these multi-molecular interactions is not easily captured because current single-molecule sensors (a) only work in dilute solutions or (b) only resolve a single species at a time. Capturing the dynamics of such protein machinery at physiological conditions therefore remains one of the grand challenges in the field. In our group we have developed plasmon sensors with single-molecule sensitivity. These sensors employ single-molecule plasmon-enhanced fluorescence, are compatible with high concentrations, and give access to short (millisecond) timescales due to strong plasmon-enhancement of the fluorescence.Project description
The candidate will develop plasmonic sensors for dynamic protein-protein interactions, particularly chaperone-mediated processes. The candidate will perform protein expression and chemical functionalization of plasmonic nanoparticles and quantify the functionalization using single-molecule microscopy. These protein-nanoparticle conjugates will then be used to study protein-protein interactions using plasmon-enhanced fluorescence. The latter will be done in collaboration with a postdoc in the group. The project will be co-supervised by dr. P. Zijlstra (Molecular Plasmonics) and Prof. M. Merkx (protein engineering).