PhD in MRI elastography and shear measurements of self-healing materials

PhD in MRI elastography and shear measurements of self-healing materials

Published Deadline Location
9 Apr 23 May Wageningen

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Job description

The “Self-healing under stress” project builds on complementary developments between the Laboratory of Biophysics (BIP) and Physical Chemistry and Soft Matter (PCC) research groups at WUR, respectively on in situ MRI techniques and synthetic bio-inspired polymers and multi-scale modelling, creating an interdepartmental team of 2 PhD candidates working of unravelling supramolecular hierarchical mechanisms. Our interdisciplinary team at the intersection of chemistry and physics will answer this fundamental question: while a material is just a collection of individual chemical bonds, how do these bonds coordinate and dynamically adapt, at the meso-scale, to restore the macroscopic physical integrity of the material?

The goal of this PhD position is to characterize, in situ and in real-time, the multi-scale supramolecular behaviour of a wide range of real-life adaptive networks, encompassing hydrophobic, electrostatic and intramolecular interactions, during or after shear/tensile deformation. NMR/MRI measurements will be conducted, on materials synthesized by the other PhD candidate at PCC, using state-of-the-art high-field spectrometers available at the MAGNEtic resonance FacilitY (MAGNEFY) in WUR, where all these methods are, or can be, implemented on 7 T or 14 T wide-bore spectrometers. Where needed, the worldwide most advanced ultra-high field NMR spectrometers (22 or 28 T) available within the Dutch uNMR-NL consortium will also be used to boost sensitivity and chemical/spatial resolution. All technical developments will be carried out with the support of the workshops at WUR and BIP.

Your duties and responsibilities include:
  • Designing and constructing a MRI micro-elastography (µMRE) setup for high-resolution high-field NMR spectrometers, and implement such measurements with microscopic spatial resolution, to access provide micro-localized information about shear stiffness during deformation.
  • Adapt established techniques, such as rheo-MRI, MRS and time-domain MRI, respectively for acquiring spatial, chemical, and motional information in situ.
  • Relate MRI observations with mechanical and optical results developed by the PhD colleague at PCC
  • Analyze, interpret, and link results from multiple MRI experimental techniques
  • Prepare and present scientific results to project group meetings and the broad scientific community

You will work here
The research is embedded within the Laboratory of Biophysics (BIP), an international research group with leading expertise in the development and application of spectroscopic and imaging techniques relevant to bio-/soft-matter science. BIP provides access to advanced state-of-the-art NMR/MRI spectroscopy equipment at the MAGNEFY NMR research facility. MAGNEFY operates as “Magnetic Resonance facility for (agro)food, life sciences, and biobased research” research” and is an integral part of the distributed uNMR-NL ROADMAP infrastructure. MAGNEFY houses five high-field NMR spectrometers up to 16T.


Wageningen University & Research


You are an ambitious and enthusiastic scientist. Your profile should signal:
  • A MSc degree in Physical Chemistry, Physics, Synthetic Chemistry, Materials Science, Biotechnology, Chemical Engineering
  • A strong interest in working in the field of experimental MRI methods developments as well as in Soft Matter
  • Research experience in spectroscopy and/or imaging experimental techniques, preferably NMR and MRI, and familiarity with data processing and interpreting
  • A strong motivation to work flexibly and creatively in a cross-disciplinary environment.
  • Very good communications skills and ability to interact constructively with physicists, chemists, engineers and technicians.

For this position your command of the English language is expected to be at C1 level. Sometimes it is necessary to submit an internationally recognised Certificate of Proficiency in the English Language. More information can be found here.

Conditions of employment

Wageningen University & Research offers excellent terms of employment. A few highlights from our Collective Labour Agreement include:
  • sabbatical leave, study leave, and partially paid parental leave;
  • working hours that can be discussed and arranged so that they allow for the best possible work-life balance;
  • the option to accrue additional compensation / holiday hours by working more, up to 40 hours per week;
  • there is a strong focus on vitality and you can make use of the sports facilities available on campus for a small fee;
  • a fixed December bonus of 8.3%;
  • excellent pension scheme.

In addition to these first-rate employee benefits, you will receive a fully funded PhD position and you will be offered a course program tailored to your needs and the research team.
The gross salary for the first year is € 2.770,- per month rising to € 3.539,- in the fourth year in according to the Collective Labour Agreements for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) (scale P). This is based on a full-time working week of 38 hours. We offer a temporary contract for 18 months which will be extended for the duration of the project if you perform well.

There are plenty of options for personal initiative in a learning environment, and we provide excellent training opportunities. We are offering a unique position in an international environment with a pleasant and open working atmosphere.
You are going to work at the greenest and most innovative campus in Holland, and at a university that has been chosen as the “ Best University ” in the Netherlands for the 18th consecutive time.

Coming from abroad
Wageningen University & Research is the university and research centre for life sciences. The themes we deal with are relevant to everyone around the world and Wageningen, therefore, has a large international community and a lot to offer to international employees.
Our team of advisors on Dutch immigration procedures will help you with the visa application procedures for yourself and, if applicable, for your family.

Feeling welcome also has everything to do with being well informed. Wageningen University & Research's International Community page contains practical information about what we can do to support international employees and students coming to Wageningen. Furthermore, we can assist you with any additional advice and information about helping your partner to find a job, housing, schooling. For instance under the "30% rule", certain categories of international staff can receive tax exemption on approximately 30% of their gross salary.


Wageningen University & Research

Wageningen University & Research
The mission of Wageningen University & Research is “To explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life”. Under the banner Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen University and the specialised research institutes of the Wageningen Research Foundation have joined forces in contributing to finding solutions to important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment. With its roughly 30 branches, 7,200 employees (6,400 fte) and 13,200 students and over 150.000 participants to WUR’s Life Long Learning, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. The unique Wageningen approach lies in its integrated approach to issues and the collaboration between different disciplines.
Read the 5 reasons why your future colleagues enjoy working at WUR and watch this video to get an idea of our green campus!

We will recruit for the vacancy ourselves, so no employment agencies please. However, sharing in your network is appreciated.


  • Research, development, innovation
  • Food
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • University graduate
  • P1249135-10


Wageningen University & Research

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Droevendaalsesteeg, 6708 PB, Wageningen

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