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Research within the Sensor Engineering research group of Maastricht University is focused on developing innovative sensor technologies for implementation in diverse fields ranging from medical diagnostics to food safety assessment. For this position we are looking for a motivated PhD student with a master degree and a solid background in bio-, organic, polymer or analytical chemistry. The candidate will work in a multicultural, interdisciplinary team consisting of engineers, chemists and biomedical scientists. The research group has developed extensive expertise in combining sensor technology with chemistry and biomedical engineering to acquire knowledge and streamline applications for use in real life settings.
As a PhD student you will take care of your own research project in an independent manner, although supervision by experienced researchers is available within the group. You will read literature, develop a research plan, carry out experiments, process and interpret data and write scientific publications. If the pandemic allows it, you will participate in international conferences where you will present your work to the scientific community and represent the university, our research group and the project you are working on.
The PhD project is focused on improving the scalibility of MIP-based sensors. MIPs or molecularly imprinted polymers have been extensively studied as alternative for natural receptors (antibodies, enzymes...) in various applications ranging from their original application in columns for seperation technology to their use as recognition elements in sensors. Although MIP technology is still considered as very promising and has led to the development of commercial MIP production lines for seperation purposes, integrating MIPs into commercial sensors is challenging due to two bottlenecks: the synthesis process and the deposition of MIPs onto electrodes. The former is especially challenging as MIPs tend to be heterogenous when it comes to affinity for the target. A lot of academic research institutes, and recently commercial enterprises, have been focusing on scaling the MIP synthesis process and are making rapid progress towards methods for large-scale, automated synthesis of homogenous batches of MIPs. However, it is still necessary to immobilize these MIP particles in a reproducible manner onto sensing substrates which are often disposable plannar electrodes while the MIPs are either powders or dispersions of particles in liquid.
The PhD candidate can fall back on a lot of experience in MIP technology in the research group where we already experimented with growing MIP layers directly on a surface (surface grafting, electropolymerization...). The candidate should create a nice overview of all the existing possibilities in literature and highlight the most promising ones to research further using a model compound. In addition, the candidate should come up with new potentially interesting ways of creating reproducible MIP layers by using modern polymer deposition techniques such as spray coating, dip coating, inkjet and 3D printing... At the end of the PhD project we should be one step closer to brinigng MIP technology to the market due to the insights and results obtained by the candidate.
Applications are invited for a 1.0 FT position. Potential candidates will work in a young, ambitious team consisting of researchers trained in various scientific disciplines. This stimulating, interdisciplinary and multicultural environment requires a candidate that has outstanding knowledge of scientific English both in speaking and in writing. The candidate should have an MSc degree in chemistry (biochemistry, electronic, electromechanical…), life sciences, biomedical engineering or equivalent and should be fully proficient in English. A valid driver’s license is a pre.
Fixed-term contract: 1 (+3 years).
The position is offered for one year, which will be extended to a full four-year PhD position after a positive yearly evaluation. The salary will be set according to the salary scale of the Collective Labor Agreement of the Dutch Universities and will vary between €2434 and €3111. On top of this, there is an 8% holiday and an 8.3% year-end allowance. The terms of employment of Maastricht University are set out in the Collective Labor Agreement of Dutch Universities (CAO). Employees relocating from abroad may be eligible for the Dutch ‘30% ruling’, a tax advantage which results in a significantly higher net salary. Furthermore, local UM provisions also apply. For more information look at the website www.maastrichtuniversity.nl > About UM > Working at UM.
Maastricht University is renowned for its unique, innovative, problem-based learning system, which is characterized by a small-scale and student-oriented approach. Research at UM is characterized by a multidisciplinary and thematic approach, and is concentrated in research institutes and schools. Maastricht University has around 20,000 students and 4,700 employees. Reflecting the university's strong international profile, a fair amount of both students and staff are from abroad. The university hosts 6 faculties: Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Faculty of Law, School of Business and Economics, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience.
Research at the Sensor Engineering research group is very diverse given the interdisciplinary nature of biosensor research and combines chemistry with physics, biology and engineering. Within the group, we focus on the development of novel sensor technologies that could contribute to significant advancements in diverse fields in healthcare as well as the industry.
Maastricht University (UM)
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