Postdoc: Measuring predictive information in living cells.

Date posted August 6, 2021
Type Postdoc positions

Remarkable recent experiments have demonstrated that single-celled organisms are able to respond not only to experienced changes in the past, but also to expected changes that have yet to occur – evidently exploiting temporal correlations in the environment to predict the future. But how reliably can a cell make such predictions, which are the mechanisms that implement them, and what are their fitness benefits?

In this project, you will address these questions experimentally, using single-cell microscopy to precisely quantify (in bits) the amount of predictive information cells extract from past experiences. The primary experimental vehicle will be a single-cell FRET method developed in our group (Keegstra et al., 2017 eLife; Kamino et al., 2020, Science Advances). Your measurements will quantify information transmission and prediction in the E. coli chemotaxis system – a cell signaling network for which sufficient quantitative knowledge exists to address further questions about mechanistic origins and functional benefits of prediction. You will collaborate closely with the theory group of Pieter Rein ten Wolde (AMOLF), using concepts from information theory and stochastic thermodynamics to design and interpret experiments.

For further information on the project, contact Tom Shimizu (

About the group

For more information about research in the Shimizu Group, see


You need to meet the requirements for a doctors-degree and must have research experience in a non-Dutch academic environment.

We seek candidates with a strong background in experimental physics or quantitative biology and an interest in the biophysics of cellular information processing. Prior experience with microscopy is preferred.

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 two years, with a salary in scale 10 (CAO-OI) 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. Tom Shimizu
Group leader (Systems Biology)
Phone: +31 (0)20-754 7100

You can respond to this vacancy online via the button below.
Please send 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. This means that 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.

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