Scientific Internship: Coordination of DNA replication, growth and cell division

Date posted June 29, 2020
Type Scientific Internships

One of the grand challenges of the 21st century is to understand how life arises from inanimate molecular matter. We take on this challenge with a large team consisting of biophysicists, biochemists and cell biologists within the NWO Gravitation Program BaSyC. We will combine molecular components to create a synthetic cell that can grow and divide autonomously, i.e. display one of the hallmarks of life, the ability to self-replicate. One of the big challenges of this project is the regulation of the three major bio-molecular functional modules: DNA replication, growth, and cell division. How do cells couple the replication cycle to the division cycle? And what molecular regulation mechanism could be implemented in a synthetic cell? We approach these questions by studying the biochemical network regulating the cell cycle of the most studied bacteria in the world, E. coli.

Goal of the project

One outstanding question is how cells achieve a high precision of cellular functions in the presence of biological noise. The goal of your project is to investigate how robust molecular cell cycle regulation mechanisms are to fluctuations. During your project, you will be using both analytical methods (eg. master equation, stochastic differential equation…) as well as computer simulations (eg. stochastic simulation algorithms).

About the group

The Biochemical Networks Group combines analytical theory with innovative computational techniques to elucidate general design principles of cell signaling. To this end, it uses ideas from statistical physics and measures from information theory.


You have a Bachelors degree in physics, chemistry or biology and participate in a Master study in one of these areas. The internship must be a mandatory part of your curriculum. You have a nationality of an EU-member state and/or you are a student at a Netherlands University. You must be available for at least 6 months. We are looking for an enthusiastic student with a strong background in statistical physics and an affinity with molecular simulations or modelling more broadly.

Terms of employment

At the start of the traineeship your trainee plan will be set out, in consultation with your AMOLF supervisor.

Contact info

Prof. dr. Pieter Rein ten Wolde
Group Leader Biochemical Networks Group
Phone: +31 (0)20-754 7100

You can respond to this vacancy online via the button below.

Please annex your:
–  Resume;
–  List of followed courses plus grades.

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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