Mar 19, 2019

PhD position in biomolecular solid-state NMR - Groningen, Netherlands

PhD position in Structural biology of Huntington’s disease using solid-state NMR

University of Groningen, Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials (Netherlands)
Van der Wel Solid-state NMR Group

We are looking to fill a PhD position for an exciting new project in our lab at the University of Groningen. This project is funded by a grant from the Netherlands’ Campagneteam Huntington – a community-driven effort to fund Huntington’s disease (HD) research in the Netherlands.

The researcher will use solid-state NMR and electron microscopy for molecular studies of the central protein misfolding event behind the neurodegenerative disease HD. Tailor-made solid-state NMR experiments will be used to provide an atomic view of the protein aggregates. For an integrated structure/toxic-function analysis, the project will include toxicity assays in human neuronal cells and aggregation modulation studies. The PhD researcher will perform the cellular assays with the group of Prof. Amalia Dolga, our close collaborator in the Groningen Research Institute of Pharmacy. The interdisciplinary studies are designed to yield a new understanding of this devastating disease, with likely implications for other neurodegenerative disorders associated with protein aggregation.

Recent HD research papers from the lab:
• Hoop et al. (2016) Huntingtin exon 1 fibrils feature an interdigitated β-hairpin–based polyglutamine core. PNAS 113(6):1546–51.

• Lin et al. (2017) Fibril polymorphism affects immobilized non-amyloid flanking domains of huntingtin exon1 rather than its polyglutamine core. Nat Commun. 8:15462.

• Smith et al. (2018) Structural fingerprinting of protein aggregates by dynamic nuclear polarization-enhanced solid-state NMR at natural isotopic abundance. J Am Chem Soc 140(44): 14576-14580.

The candidate is expected to have a Master’s degree (or potentially a BSc degree with demonstrable research experience*) in bio- or physical chemistry, (bio)physics or another field of science relevant for the position. Experience with NMR, and especially solid-state NMR, is an important consideration, but may not be essential (depending on the background of the candidate). Applicants with a background and interest in protein biophysics or protein aggregation are encouraged to apply.

For information or questions about the project, application procedure, and requirements, potential applicants should contact Dr Van der Wel at

Additional background information about the lab is also available on our website

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