Postdoc: Chaperone-guided formation of single protein complexes

Date posted January 23, 2024
Type Postdoc positions

Do you want to discover how multi-protein assemblies are produced without error? The aim of this project is to reveal this vital cellular process at the single-molecule level. Our research group has been at the vanguard of studying chaperone-protein interactions using optical tweezers, which allows one to follow the movements and folding steps of individual proteins. We’ve shown striking sequences of molecular events that underlie chaperone functions, and are invisible with other methods. Here you will focus on a new frontier: how chaperones and ribosomes work together to synthesize and fold multi-protein assemblies.

You will directly follow the unknown dynamics of ribosome translation, protein folding and assembly, and chaperone guidance. This is enabled using optical tweezers combined with single-molecule fluorescence, which detect changes in individual molecules at nanometer and millisecond resolution. Direct collaboration with our partners provides complementary genome-wide in-vivo data (see below). This first single-molecule look at chaperone-guided protein-assembly biogenesis may reveal a host of unexpected phenomena. You will drive the conceptual development of new experimental schemes, the use of cutting-edge single-molecule fluorescence and manipulation methods, the adaptation of existing biochemical protocols, the AI-driven automated analysis of complex data, the formulation of new models, and the writing of scientific papers that explain your findings.

We form a lively and close-knit research group of about 10 PhD students and postdocs, which work together in small teams on various projects in a highly supportive and social atmosphere that extends to the other research groups at the AMOLF institute, which is housed in a modern building in the east of Amsterdam.

You will be part of a collaboration with leading groups at Heidelberg University and the ETH in Zurich, which use novel sequencing and cryo-EM methods. By working within this motivated group of young scientists, you will obtain a unique training, understanding and skill set in this expanding field. By integrating these approaches, you will provide insights of unprecedented detail, spanning from the cellular to the atomic level, from in vivo to in vitro, from genome-wide patterns to molecular mechanisms, and from bacteria to human cells.

About the group


We have a number of positions available. We are looking for outstanding experimental physicists or chemists with an interest in single-molecule techniques, programming skills to handle complex data, and who thrive in a diverse, collaborative, and supportive environment. Excellent verbal and written English skills are essential. You meet the requirements for an MSc-degree to ensure eligibility for a Dutch PhD examination.

Terms of employment

The position is intended as full-time (40 hours / week, 12 months / year) appointment in the service of the Netherlands Foundation of Scientific Research Institutes (NWO-I) for the duration of 2+ years, with a salary in scale 10 (CAO-OI) which starts at 4065 Euro’s gross per month, and a range of employment benefits. AMOLF assists any new foreign Postdoc with housing and visa applications and compensates their transport costs and furnishing expenses.

Contact info

Prof. dr. ir. Sander Tans
Phone: +31-(0)20-754 7100

You can respond to this vacancy online via the button below.
Please annex your: 
–  Resume; 
–  Motivation on why you want to join the group (max. 1 page). 

It is important to us to know why you want to join our team. Hence, we will only consider your application if it entails your motivation letter.

Applications will be evaluated on a rolling basis and as soon as an excellent match is made, the position will be filled.
Online screening may be part of the selection.

AMOLF is highly committed to an inclusive and diverse work environment, and we greatly encourage candidates from any personal background and perspective to apply. AMOLF has won the NNV Diversity Award 2022, which is awarded every two years by the Netherlands Physical Society for demonstrating the most successful implementation of equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI).

Commercial activities in response to this ad are not appreciated.