Proposta di Dottorato - Laserlab Amsterdam - 01

Macroaree: Biofisica

"Elucidating the role of protein dynamics in the efficiency of biological signal transduction with femtosecond spectroscopy"


The Department of Physics and Astronomy at VU University / LaserLaB Amsterdam has an open Ph.D. position for the project 'Elucidating the role of protein dynamics in the efficiency of biological signal transduction with femtosecond spectroscopy'. The project is funded by NWO-CW via an ECHO grant and involves the application of fulltime scale multi-pulse excitation schemes with femtosecond laserpulses to elucidate the role of protein dynamics in the efficiency of biological signal transduction.

Project description: The candidate will apply a novel multi-pulse excitation scheme, covering a time scale from femtoseconds to milliseconds, to Photoactive Yellow Protein, PYP, a model system for biological photosensing.. The reaction triggered in PYP is a trans/cis isomerisation of its cofactor, a p-coumaric acid (pCa). The candidate will determine with atomic detail the role of the amino acids that line the chromophore-binding pocket in this reaction. In particular we aim to establish what dynamic structural factors control the quantum yield of 35% for the isomerization and subsequent signal transduction. The investigation will be focused on the 65% inactive PYP proteins that after a photon absorption event fall back to the ground state instead of entering the photocyle. The candidate will determine whether they, upon re-absorption of a photon, are again inactive, on what time scale they will switch from the inactive into an active conformation, and which key structural differences are responsible for this conversion.

All laser spectroscopic equipment to perform multi-pulse absorption spectroscopy in the visible and mid-infrared spectral regions is available at LaserLaB Amsterdam including two amplified synchronized Ti:sapphire laser systems.

We are looking for a candidate with a M.Sc. degree or equivalent in Physics, Physical Chemistry or Biophysics with experience in ultrafast spectroscopy, excellent experimental skills, writing skills and the ability to work in a team.

We offer a 4‐year position that is to result in a Ph.D. degree at the VU University. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel, and amounts € 2.062,- gross per month in the first year up to € 2.664,- in the fourth year (salary scale 85) based on a full-time employment.

For further information please contact Prof. Dr. Marloes Groot, Professor of Biophysics (m.l.groot@vu.nl, +31 (0)20 5982570, www.nat.vu.nl/~marloes)

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