Postdoc position in Brillouin Microscopy

Postdoc position in Brillouin Microscopy

Published Deadline Location
16 Sep 15 Oct Amsterdam

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Would you like to be one of the driving forces of a project that aims to develop a new mechanical characterization technique for living cell experiments? If yes, this position may be the one that you are looking for. Please apply at Vrije Universiteit ...

Job description

The cell is an intricate machinery that still fascinates scientists almost four centuries after its discovery. Surprisingly, there is so much that is still undiscovered about cells. The field of cell mechanobiology connects cellular processes and the mechanics of the cell including elasticity, stiffness, viscoelasticity, and adhesion. This field gained increasing attention after it was discovered that the mechanical properties of cells can be used to inform cell physiology and pathology. Therefore, uncovering the role of cell mechanics on cellular processes in disease and health is particularly important. Various methods have been developed in order to study cell mechanics. Although most of these methods are invasive and not suitable for continuous monitoring of living cells with high temporal and spatial resolution, some of these technologies intrinsically are very powerful and through novel approaches, their potential can be fully exploited. Brillouin microscopy and micro/nano-indentation are very interesting technologies in this sense. The micro/nano-indentation method uses contact forces to measure elastic/viscoelastic. While this can provide high transverse spatial resolution on the nanometer scale, measurements are averaged along the contact (axial) direction and rely heavily on mechanical models to extract E values. Brillouin microscopy provides an alternative and complementary assessment of material elasticity and viscosity through measurement of the longitudinal modulus in the GHz frequency range. Even though it is a slow and low signal-to-noise ratio technique, it can directly ‘image’ viscoelastic properties of living matter in 3D and in a noncontact, label-free, and high-resolution fashion. A whole new hybrid approach that combines the best of micro/nano indentation with Brillouin microscopy could open up new possibilities in cell/tissue mechanics. Toward this goal, we will develop this hybrid technology; micro-indentation-assisted Brillouin microscopy. This technology currently does not exist, which can open up new possibilities to investigate cellular mechanics at a different level.
For this project, we are looking for a Post-doc candidate. You work on the development of the Brillouin microscope for living cell experiments and combine it with the nano-indentation method that is already available at our collaborator's lab (Optics11 B.V.).

Your duties
  • Develop a Brillouin microscope for living cell experiments.
  • Combine the nano-indentation method with the Brillouin microscope.
  • Validate this hybrid technology on living cells.


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)


  • You have a PhD in physics (applied physics), with a strong interest in biophotonics, microscopy, and cell mechanics
  • You have good experimental and computational skills
  • You can communicate in English, both verbally and in writing
  • Candidates with the Brillouin microscopy background are preferred.

Conditions of employment

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. On full-time basis the remuneration amounts to a minimum gross monthly salary of €3,226 (scale 10) and a maximum €5,090 (scale 10), depending on your education and experience. The job profile is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 0.5 FTE.

The initial employment contract will affect a period of 1 year.
Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as
  • A maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • Child daycare facilities available on campus
  • Optional model for designing a personalized benefits package


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavor – from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 31,000 students. We employ over 5,000 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

The Faculty of Science
Working at the Faculty of Science means working together with students, PhD candidates and scientists who are focused on their discipline, yet also have a broad view of the world. We are proud of the collegial working environment within the faculty, which is characterised by an ambitious and pragmatic attitude with commitment to the bigger picture. At the Faculty of Science, scientists and students work on fundamental and complex social issues for a sustainable and healthy future. From forest fires to big data, from obesity to malnutrition, from genetics to pharmaceuticals and from molecules to the moon: our teaching and research cover the full breadth of the natural sciences. Scientific teaching and research is highly experimental, technical, computational and interdisciplinary in nature. This is why we collaborate extensively with leading research institutes and industry. The faculty has over 11,000 students studying across 40 educational programmes and employs over 1,600 staff spread over 10 scientific departments, making us the largest science faculty in the Netherlands.
Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until 25/10/2023, 17:00.

Submitting a diploma and a reference check is part of the application process.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.


  • Postdoc
  • 19—38 hours per week
  • €3226—€5090 per month
  • Doctorate
  • 16092


Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)

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De Boelelaan 1105, 1081HV, Amsterdam

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