Application for a PhD Project
The Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry is one of the leading research institutes within the fields of biochemistry, cell- and structural biology, and biomedicine. With its eight scientific departments, about 25 research groups, and a staff of around 850 people, the institute is one of the largest institutes within the Max Planck Society.
Application for a PhD Project
Designing Micropatterned Hybrid Nanoarrays
to Manipulate Cell-Surface Receptors,
Department of Molecular Medicine;
Are you interested in research on nanomaterials science at the interface with cell biology? We are looking for a motivated student to join our efforts in the framework of a PhD thesis project.
The cell, as the smallest structural and functional unit of all living organisms, is a fascinating system in view of highly complex and hierarchical machinery. Integrins are transmembrane receptors that bind to the extracellular matrix (ECM) and sense its physico-chemical properties to regulate cell adhesion, polarization, migration, differentiation and survival. The integrin family in mammalian cells consists of 24 distinct heterodimeric receptors with distinct ligand-binding and signalling specificities. Although new technologies and analytical tools tremendously improved our understanding of integrin functions, the manipulation of cell activity derived from distinct integrins and their cooperation with other cell-surface receptors remains challenging.
To address these points, we focused our effort on the design of functional surfaces to engage cell surface receptors in-vitro by ligating receptor-binding molecules onto hexagonally-organized inorganic nanoparticles that allow controlling ligand-density, receptor spacing and cell shape. We already established several micro/nano-fabrication methods, such as micellar nanolithography combined to UV-lithography, to routinely synthesize substrates made of immobilized gold and/or titanium oxide nanoparticles.
The project aims at 1) expanding our toolbox to design micropatterned gold - titanium dioxide nanoarrays with different particle densities, 2) establishing a strategy to modify the surface of each nanoparticle population with distinct receptor-binding ligands and 3) testing these surfaces on various cell lines to manipulate and study integrin-mediated spreading, contractility and migration while cooperating or not with other receptors.
The applicant should have keen interest to work in an interdisciplinary team. Knowledge in chemistry and/or biochemistry is desirable. The project can be started immediately. This work will be conducted in the department of Molecular Medicine directed by Reinhard Fässler and financed with a Max Planck student fellowship (1365 euros/month).
The Max Planck Society seeks to increase the number of women in those areas where they are underrepresented and therefore explicitly encourages women to apply.
The Max Planck Society is committed to employing more disabled individuals and especially encourages them to apply.
Interested? Please send an application, including a short CV, to:
Dr. Julien Polleux:
Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry
Am Klopferspitz 18