PhD position: Biophysics & Neuroscience

PhD position: Biophysics & Neuroscience

Published Deadline Location
2 Jan 4 Feb Delft

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How do neurons form networks at the nanoscale? Are you interested in identifying underlying molecular mechanisms of synapse formation?

Job description

A 4-year position is available for a PhD candidate in the research group of Dimphna Meijer, Department of Bionanoscience, Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands.

The long-term goal of our research is to understand synapse assembly and disassembly at the molecular level, during health and disease. Towards this end, we develop biophysical nanoscale models of the neuronal synapse, using cellular components. We address questions such as: What is the underlying structural basis of synapse formation? What happens at the nanoscale levels in diseased brain? We have recently determined cryo-EM structures of synaptic cell adhesion molecules that reveal part of the molecular recognition code underlying synapse formation. We are now aiming to understand molecular recognition and synapse formation in a cellular context using a combination of protein biochemistry, biophysics & structural biology, and mammalian cell biology approaches.

The successful applicant will be the driver of a new project concerning detailed structural characterization of synapse assembly with a bottom-up approach. State-of-the-art equipment, including high-end light and electron microscopes, as well as advanced mammalian cell culture facilities are available in our department. 

We are an international, growing team of multidisciplinary scientists. We aim for a high-impact, supportive environment, where talented people work together to solve neurobiological questions. See also our group website


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


We are looking for a highly motivated and goal-oriented researcher that is willing to take on new challenges. The candidate has a M.Sc. degree in nanobiology, biochemistry/biophysics, structural biology, or related field. The ideal applicant has experience with single-molecule and structural biology approaches, and is interested in applying cryo-electron microscopy and cryo-electron tomography to neurobiological questions. Cryo-EM/Cryo-ET experience is a plus but not required. The candidate should be fluent in English and motivated to work in an ambitious and collaborative research team.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 4 years.

We offer an appointment as PhD student for a period of 1.5 year, which will be extended with a second term of 2.5 years if the candidate performs well. Remuneration will be according to the PhD scales set by the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO NU), and will range from € 2.541 per month in the first year to € 3.247 per month in the fourth year (gross amounts, in case of fulltime employment). Applicants should have the right to work in the Netherlands for the duration of the contract. Fulltime is considered to be 38 hours per week.


Delft University of Technology

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context. At TU Delft we embrace diversity and aim to be as inclusive as possible (see our Code of Conduct). Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale.

Challenge. Change. Impact! 



The Department of Bionanoscience focuses on the fundamental understanding of biological processes, from the level of single molecules to the full complexity of living cells. This research provides fascinating insight in the molecular mechanisms that lead to cellular function. Furthermore it enables the in vitro bottom-up construction of cellular machinery and it impacts applications ranging from biomolecular diagnostics to novel antibiotics and targeted nanomedicine. The department features a strongly multidisciplinary and international team of scientists, whose research areas include single-molecule biophysics, synthetic biology, as well as (quantitative) cell biology.


  • PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • 36—40 hours per week
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD03314


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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Mekelweg 2, 2628 CD, Delft

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