PhD candidate to investigate a protein switch in photosynthesis

PhD candidate to investigate a protein switch in photosynthesis

Published Deadline Location
22 Oct 1 Nov Leiden

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Job description

The Faculty of Science and the Leiden Institute of Chemistry are looking for a:

PhD candidate to investigate a protein switch in photosynthesis

Vacancy number: 21-510

Project and key responsibilities

You will participate in the NWO GROOT project "Nanoscale regulators of photosynthesis" that aims to understand the nanoscale mechanisms of light-stress regulation in photosynthesis. This project is executed by a consortium of several Dutch research groups with complementary expertise on photosynthesis research, advanced spectroscopy and (coarse-grain) molecular dynamics. Therefore, you will be part of a team.

Within the project, you will investigate the molecular mechanism of a key protein, called PsbS, in light-stress regulation. PsbS is a membrane protein located in plant thylakoid membranes. This protein senses changes in lumen pH during light-stress conditions and responds by signaling this to proteins in the photosynthetic light-harvesting antenna. In the PhD project, you will explore the pH-sensing mechanism of PsbS and its interaction with partner proteins in the membrane.  The methods that you will apply involve:

  • Protein expression, purification and refolding with help of a lab technician;
  • Protein reconstitution in detergent micelles and model membranes ;
  • Magic Angle Spinning (MAS) NMR spectroscopy;
  • Biochemical and biophysical methods for protein and membrane characterization (UV/VIS, CD, SEC-MALS, etc.).


Leiden University



We are looking for someone who has a genuine interest to perform research on the intersection between physics, chemistry and biology. As you will work in an international and interdisciplinary environment, other requirements are excellent communication skills and very good skills in written and spoken English. You will publish the results in international peer-reviewed journals and conclude the project with a doctoral thesis.

Selection Criteria

  • Master degree in (Bio)Chemistry, (Bio)Physics, Life Science and Technology, or equivalent;
  • Proven proficiency in English;
  • Ability to work independently and as a team player in an interdisciplinary environment;
  • Experience with MAS NMR is a pre.

Conditions of employment

Terms and conditions 

We offer a full-time position for initially one year. After a positive evaluation of the progress of the thesis, personal capabilities and compatibility the appointment will be extended by a further three years. Salary range from € 2.434  to € 3.111 gross per month (pay scale P in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities).

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break.

All our PhD students are embedded in the  Leiden University Graduate School of Science . Our graduate school offers several PhD training courses at three levels: professional courses, skills training and personal effectiveness.


Our organisation

The Faculty of Science is a world-class faculty where staff and students work together in a dynamic international environment. It is a faculty where personal and academic development are top priorities. Our people are committed to expand fundamental knowledge by curiosity and to look beyond the borders of their own discipline; their aim is to benefit science, and to make a contribution to addressing the major societal challenges of the future.

The research carried out at the Faculty of Science is very diverse, ranging from mathematics, information science, astronomy, physics, chemistry and bio-pharmaceutical sciences to biology and environmental sciences. The research activities are organised in eight institutes. These institutes offer eight bachelor’s and twelve master’s programmes. The faculty has grown strongly in recent years and now has more than 2.200 staff and almost 4,200 students. We are located at the heart of Leiden’s Bio Science Park, one of Europe’s biggest science parks, where university and business life come together.

The chemistry and life science research in the Leiden Institute of Chemistry (LIC) is organized around two major research areas: ‘Chemical Biology’ and ‘Energy & Sustainability’. The institute’s research themes illustrate the central position of chemistry between biology, medicine and physics. The various research topics carried out within these themes are ideal for executing interdisciplinary research.

For more information, see here and here.


  • PhD
  • 21-510



Rapenburg, 2311, Leiden

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