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Three PhD positions available

Three PhD positions are available at the University of Groningen, The Netherlands, to work on

  1. "Artificial Flagella". A rapidly growing field in biotechnology is the fabrication of micro-fluidic devices for biomedical applications, such as biosensors. For a successful future implementation of bio-oriented micro-fluidic devices it is important that one is able to accurately move and position micro-objects (cells, organelles) within the device. Nature has solved this problem by means of hair-like structures, known as flagella, which are able to propel the cells to which they are attached. The current project aims at developing artificial flagella that can be remotely actuated to freely swim in a fluid. The aim of the PhD project is to develop a numerical (finite element) model to design the artificial flagella and the external actuation system. The work will be strongly linked to an experimental PhD project in collaboration with Philips and the Eindhoven University of Technology.
  2. "Computational design of nanoporous actuators". This position is part of a collaborative project (4 PhD students) at the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials aimed at designing and synthesizing novel nanoporous metallic actuators. The key feature of these materials is their nanostructural architecture, which links the overall behavior to the charge-induced surface stresses at the nanoscale. In this PhD project we will develop a multiscale modelling approach to relate the overall electromechanical properties of the actuators to the underlying physical mechanisms at the nanoscale.
  3. Modeling and design of transport through the Nuclear Pore Complex" The nuclear pore complex (NPC) is a large protein complex that is embedded in the membrane surrounding the nucleus and transports hundreds of proteins and nucleic acids per second. Despite its important biological role, the mechanism of selective transport of the NPC is not yet understood. In this PhD project a multiscale computational method will be developed to gain insight into the fundamental mechanisms of selective transport. The project will be carried out in close collaboration with the Molecular Dynamics group and with experimental groups in the project, in order to build, calibrate and verify the model, and to guide experiments.

Requirements: Candidates for all three positions should hold an MSc in (applied) physics, materials science or mechanical engineering with a strong background in solid mechanics and numerical modelling. Experience in finite element methods is not necessary but would be helpful.

Conditions: The position comes with full funding for four years (subject to satisfactory progress). The (gross) salary starts at around 2000 euro per month and increases up to 2500 euro in the fourth year.

Applications: For furher information and applications contact Patrick Onck at or Tel. +31(0)50 3638039.


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