Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology

Umeå University is one of Sweden’s largest institutions of higher education with over 35,000 students and 4,200 faculty and staff. We are characterised by world-leading research in several scientific fields and a multitude of educations ranked highly in international comparison. Umeå University is also the site of the pioneering discovery of the CRISPR-Cas9 genetic scissors - a revolution in genetic engineering that has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

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The Department of Physics ( at Umeå University conducts strong research in the areas of organic electronics, condensed matter physics, nanotechnology, photonics and theoretical physics. We announce a PhD position for a project focusing on ultrafast multidimensional spectroscopy for structural biology. Last day to apply is July 31st, 2022. Starting date is October 1st, 2022 or according to agreement.

Project description
We are looking for a PhD candidate interested in developing a state-of-the art ultrafast vibrational spectroscopy system to uncover the structure, and consequently the function, of molecular entities controlling key life processes inside our cells. The PhD project interfaces three rich fields of research: ultrafast science, optics and structural biology. The  overarching goal is to measure correlations between coherent vibrations in organic molecular systems. This approach, while technically challenging, could bring the highest degree of biomolecular specificity.

The primary field of study for the PhD candidate will be to develop an experimental setup that will combine the generation of ultrabroadband pulses in the MIR spectral region (from 2.5 to 15 μm wavelength) with their coherent superposition for two-dimensional mid-infrared time domain spectroscopy (2D-MIR TDS). This system will be coupled to a home-made mid-IR microscope that will add spatial resolution. Finally, we will apply our broadband MIR pulses to detect relevant biomolecules (e.g., proteins such as the transcription factor GCN4, or the neurodegenerative biomarkers α-synuclein) in the so called “molecular finger-print region”.

This project is a part of a collaborative effort between Uppsala University (Sweden), Umeå University (Sweden), the Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (Germany), the National Research Council (Italy), CIC biomaGUNE (Spain), the University of Padova (Italy) and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (France), and is funded by the European Innovation Council through the Pathfinder project ‘iSenseDNA’. Within this project, the research group at Umeå University aim to develop an ultrafast pump-probe system to perform 2D-MIR TDS for the detection of vibrational signatures of molecular systems and recognize structural changes with an extreme spatial, spectral, and temporal sensitivity.

To be admitted for studies at third-cycle level you are required to have completed a second-cycle level degree, or completed course requirements of at least 240 ECTS credits. The recruitment procedure will follow the Higher Education Ordinance (Högskoleförordningen). Prerequisites include 240 ECTS credits (högskolepoäng) of higher education studies, of which 60 should be on an advanced/second-cycle level (Master’s level), or equivalent. In addition to these requirements, 120 ECTS need to be in physics. The requirements do not need to be fulfilled at the time of application but only at the enrollment. Fluency in English is mandatory.

Candidates should have documented background in one of the following topics:

  • experimental condensed matter physics,
  • electromagnetism,
  • ultrafast optics,
  • fluorescence and/or Raman spectroscopy,
  • mid-IR spectroscopy,
  • optics.

Meriting skills include previous experience or knowledge in:

  • ultrafast optics,
  • nonlinear optics,
  • nanophotonics,
  • frequency and/or time-resolved (pump-probe) spectroscopy,
  • data analysis (e.g. MATLAB, Origin, Igor),
  • finite element and/or FDTD methods,
  • basic programming/coding in Labview..

We seek a doctoral candidate who wants to work in an inter-cultural and international environment, and who has the ability to work independently as well  as part of a team.

Terms of employment
The employment is expected to result in a doctoral degree and the main assignment for the doctoral student is thus to be part of the research education, which includes participation in the described research project but also to take relevant courses. Teaching and other departmental work (up to a maximum of 20%) can be included. The employment is limited to four years at full time or up to five years if teaching and other departmental work is performed. The salary is fixed according to the established salary level for doctoral students. The employment starts on October 1st 2022 or according to agreement.

The application
The application should contain:
1.   A cover letter with summary of research interests and motivation (max. 2 pages).
2.   Curriculum Vitae.
3.   Certified copies of diplomas.
4.   Transcripts with grades, with English translation.
5.   Copies of publications (if applicable) and/or thesis work.
6.   Names and contact information to two reference persons.

More information
For further information contact the Principal Investigator of the project, Dr. Nicolò Maccaferri

You apply via our e-recruitment system Varbi. The application should be in English (preferrable) or Swedish. The deadline for applications is July 31st, 2022. Log in and apply via the button at the bottom of the page. All documents should be uploaded in pdf format. Shortlisted candidates will be contacted for online interviews.

We look forward to receiving your application!

Type of employment Temporary position longer than 6 months
Contract type Full time
First day of employment October 1st, 2022 or according to agreement
Salary According to a local agreement for PhD students
Number of positions 1
Working hours 100%
City Umeå
County Västerbottens län
Country Sweden
Reference number AN 2.2.1-1133-22
  • Nicolò Maccaferri, 090-7867595
Union representative
  • SACO, 090-7865365
  • SEKO, 090-7865296
  • ST, 090-7865431
Published 17.Jun.2022
Last application date 31.Jul.2022 11:59 PM CEST

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