Postdoctoral researcher in supramolecular catalyst development

Postdoctoral researcher in supramolecular catalyst development

Published Deadline Location
12 Jun 11 Aug Amsterdam

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Job description

At the Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences (HIMS) we are looking for a postdoctoral researcher in supramolecular catalyst development for carbohydrate chemistry.

Carbohydrates are the most versatile class of biomolecules and play an important role in many malignant biological processes such as diabetes, infection, and cancer metastasis. Synthesizing complex carbohydrate molecules is thus a crucial aspect of research aimed at intervening in such processes. This clearly has pharmacological implications. Current methods based on (fragile) enzymes and/or (multi-step) organic synthesis can be time-consuming and/or poorly adapted for large-scale synthesis. Carbohydrates are also widely regarded as the future feedstock for the chemical industry.

In an ongoing project we aim to develop supramolecular macrocyclic cage-like (homogeneous) catalysts that can selectively and in one-pot derivatize a carbohydrate like D-glucose. This has never been attempted before and positive results may lead to a new sub-field within carbohydrate chemistry. So far, we have several caging molecules of unique design that can bind to monosaccharides. In this project, the aim is to exploit these molecules in a catalytic conversion of unprotected or minimally protected carbohydrates.

The challenge for you will be to make our developed carbohydrate binders and disclose their catalytic potential. The project will require the use of organic and inorganic synthesis and various physical techniques such as NMR, MS, UV-Vis, IR, fluorescence, CD, ITC and HPLC.

What are you going to do?

As postdoctoral researcher you will:

  • synthesize a variety of organic and organometallic molecules;
  • characterize these molecules with an array of techniques (NMR, MS, etc.);
  • study the binding properties of caging molecules for monosaccharides;
  • test carbohydrate binders for their catalytic activity;
  • analyse complex reaction mixtures with TLC/HPLC/NMR;
  • adjust catalyst designs to refine the binding and catalysis properties of working catalysts;
  • provide daily guidance to BSc and/or MSc students working with you on a project;
  • write scientific papers about your discoveries;
  • keep updated with relevant literature related to the research project;
  • participate in research discussions, including own research involvement.


University of Amsterdam (UvA)


  • A PhD in Molecular Chemistry;
  • experience with homogeneous catalysis and (in)organic synthesis;
  • affinity with physical and analytical chemistry;
  • proven skills to (relatively) independently write a scientific paper in English;
  • ability to guide students at the BSc and MSc level;
  • good communication skills in English;
  • ability to collaborate and adapt in an international team.

Conditions of employment

We offer a temporary contract for 38 hours per week, preferably starting 1 September 2019. This full-time offer is for the duration of 12 months with a possible extention of 6 months and a trial period of 2 months. The salary will be in accordance with the University regulations for academic personnel, and will range from €2,709 to €4,207 (salary scale 10) gross per month based on a full time employment and depending on expertise and previous experience. This is exclusive of 8% holiday allowance and 8,3% end-of-year bonus. A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities is applicable.

Are you curious about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits like our excellent opportunities for study and development? Take a look at our website


University of Amsterdam

With over 5,000 employees, 30,000 students and a budget of more than 600 million euros, the University of Amsterdam (UvA) is an intellectual hub within the Netherlands. Teaching and research at the UvA are conducted within seven faculties: Humanities, Social and Behavioural Sciences, Economics and Business, Law, Science, Medicine and Dentistry. Housed on four city campuses in or near the heart of Amsterdam, where disciplines come together and interact, the faculties have close links with thousands of researchers and hundreds of institutions at home and abroad.  

The UvA’s students and employees are independent thinkers, competent rebels who dare to question dogmas and aren’t satisfied with easy answers and standard solutions. To work at the UvA is to work in an independent, creative, innovative and international climate characterised by an open atmosphere and a genuine engagement with the city of Amsterdam and society.


Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences (HIMS)

The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 6,500, as well as 1,600 members of staff working in education, research or support services. Researchers and students at the Faculty of Science are fascinated by every aspect of how the world works, be it elementary particles, the birth of the universe or the functioning of the brain.

The Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences (HIMS) is one of eight institutes of the Faculty of Science of the University of Amsterdam (UvA). HIMS performs internationally recognized chemistry and molecular research, curiosity driven as well as application driven. This is done in close cooperation with the chemical, flavour & food, medical and high-tech industries. Research is organised into four themes: Sustainable Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry, Computational Chemistry and Molecular Photonics.

This temporary postdoctoral position is available in the project ‘Supramolecular catalysis for carbohydrate synthesis’. The project is funded by Netherlands Organisation of Scientific Research (NWO) under the VIDI scheme.


  • Postdoc positions
  • Natural Sciences
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €2709—€4274 per month
  • Doctorate
  • 19-381


University of Amsterdam (UvA)

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