PhD Student Photopharmacology (1.0 FTE)

rug university groningen
  • Groningen
  • University of Groningen
Posted on

Without biological membranes, there would be no life as we know it. Transport of molecules and information across these membranes is carried out by integral membrane protein channels, receptors, pumps and transporters. Living cells maintain chemical gradients and electrical potential differences across their membranes using proteins that represent the majority of all current drug targets. Therefore, membrane proteins have been the focus of intense efforts to obtain high resolution macromolecular structure information. However, the current lack of experimental methods to carry out time-resolved structural studies of membrane proteins at physiological temperatures and under physiological gradients leaves a gigantic blind spot is our mechanistic understanding.

This project is a part of an ERC-funded consortium that will address this challenge by bringing together complementary expertise in membrane protein biology, time-resolved structural studies, photochemistry and nano fabrication methods. The role of the PhD working in this position will be to design, synthesize and evaluate new light-activated molecules to deliver protein transport substrates with unprecedented efficiency. Within this team, the PhD student will be supported, among others, by a dedicated postdoc researcher with expertise in quantum chemistry for guiding the development of light-activated molecules.

The vacancy is within the newly formed Department of Medicinal Chemistry, Photopharmacology and Imaging at the Groningen Research Institute of Pharmacy, Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Groningen. The ERC-funded (ERC Synergy GRAIL) project aims at providing molecular basis for the instant, photochemical release of ligands for proteins studied in unprecedented level of structural dynamics using equipment developed by the GRAIL consortium.

The Groningen Research Institute of Pharmacy (GRIP) is part of the Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE) of the University of Groningen and collaborates closely with the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG). The pharmaceutical and medical research within GRIP and the UMCG is very multidisciplinary. This project aims to develop light-activation processes for the emerging field of time-resolved structural biology, fitting perfectly into the fundamental and applied work performed in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry, Photopharmacology and Imaging at GRIP.


We are looking for an enthusiastic and talented PhD candidate with

  • a M.Sc. degree in (Synthetic) Organic Chemistry
  • research experience in the field of photochemistry, photocleavable protecting groups and/or photopharmacology will be seen as a strong asset
  • capacity to think analytically and creatively
  • high motivation
  • ability to work in an international team and collaborate with several research centres in Europe in a streamlined and professional way
  • an integrative and cooperative personality with excellent communicative and social skills
  • fluent proficiency in English – written and oral.

Applicants whose first language is not English must submit evidence of competency in English, please see University of Groningen’s English Language Requirements for details.


Conditions of employment

We offer you in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities

  • a salary of € 2,770 (salary scale PhD candidates) gross per month in the first year, up to a maximum of € 3,539 gross per month in the fourth and final year, based on a full-time position
  • a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income an 8.3% year-end bonus
  • a temporary position of one year with the option of renewal for another three years; prolongation of the contract is contingent on sufficient progress in the first year to indicate that you will successfully complete your PhD thesis within the next three years. A PhD training programme is part of the agreement.

The preferred starting date is between September 1st and October 1st 2024.



Do you want to become a member of our team? Please send your application to us, by submitting the following documents: curriculum vitae, motivation letter, names and email addresses of at least two academic references.

You may apply for this position until 15 May 11:59pm / before 16 May 2024 Dutch local time (CEST) by means of the application form (click on "Apply" below on the advertisement on the university website).

Applications for the position should include the following documents:

  • a motivation letter stating your motivation to apply for the position and your key qualities relevant for this position
  • an up-to-date curriculum vitae, including a publication record
  • contact information of two academic references.



For information you can contact:

  • Prof. dr. Wiktor Szymanski, Department of Medicinal Chemistry, Photopharmacology and Imaging,

Please do not use the e-mail address(es) above for applications.

Ole Gmelin

"Speaking Dutch in the Netherlands will always open certain doors for you when it comes to finding a job. But, it isn’t always a must."

Will you become our new PhD Student Photopharmacology (1.0 FTE)? Apply at University of Groningen