Scientific Internship: Living cells as information-processing machines

Date posted August 6, 2021
Type Scientific Internships

Biochemical networks consisting of proteins and DNA are the analog computers of life. In this project, you will investigate how these networks allow living cells to process information reliably.

Living cells, like bacteria, yeast cells or mammalian cells, continually have to make decisions such as whether to differentiate or proliferate, to stay put or move, or even to live or die. These decisions are made by biomolecules, such as DNA and proteins, which chemically and physically interact with one another in what are called biochemical networks.
These networks have an information-processing capacity that rivals that of modern computers. Biochemical networks allow the cell to detect, transmit, and integrate signals in a manner analogous to electronic circuits, as well as to transform simple, uniform extracellular stimuli into complex intracellular signals, such as oscillations. It is this capacity of biochemical networks to process information that enables the cell to monitor its internal condition and to respond to a broad set of environmental signals. The key question of this project is to understand the reliability by which biochemical networks can process information. This question will be addressed using a combination of analytical theory and computer simulations using Green’s Function Reaction Dynamics (see

About the group

Biochemical Networks


You have a Bachelors degree and a strong theoretical background in (statistical) physics, physical chemistry, or theoretical biology. The internship must be a mandatory part of your curriculum. You are willing to work with experimental biological data and you are able to communicate across disciplinary boundaries. You have a nationality of an EU-member state and/or you are a student at a Netherlands University. (As from 01-01-2021 the UK is no longer an EU-member state).

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
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.

Online screening may be part of the selection.