nanoJOBS – Careers in Nanotechnology

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Postdoctoral Researcher Experimental Evaluation of Nanopore Devices for Protein Analysis
Employer: imec
Location: Leuven, Belgium
Employment Start Date: As soon as possible

Organization Description:


Imec is the world-leading research and innovation hub in nanoelectronics and digital technologies. The combination of our widely acclaimed leadership in microchip technology and profound software and ICT expertise is what makes us unique. By leveraging our world-class infrastructure and local and global ecosystem of partners across a multitude of industries, we create groundbreaking innovation in application domains such as healthcare, smart cities and mobility, logistics and manufacturing, and energy.


As a trusted partner for companies, start-ups and universities we bring together 4,000 brilliant minds from over 90 nationalities. Imec is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium and also has distributed R&D groups at a number of Flemish universities, in the Netherlands, Taiwan, USA, China, and offices in India and Japan. All of these particular traits make imec to be a top-class employer. To strengthen this position as a leading player in our field, we are looking for those passionate talents that make the difference!

Job Description:
 What you will do
Scaling of CMOS technology has been a tremendous driver for the transformation of technology and  the society. In parallel to the improvements in computation power, technology has made its way to the life sciences and has been fueling a revolution in diagnostic capabilities and throughput. One of  the latest technologies that have hit the market in genomics is based on nanopores. Precisely  measuring ionic currents through biological or solid‐state nanopores allows to determine the  molecular properties of objects passing through the pores with great accuracy. Biological nanopores are already revolutionizing the field of genomics by means of fairly high throughput, long read length, single molecule DNA sequencing.    
Nanopores yield a wealth of molecular information, which can also be exploited for label‐free  analysis of non‐DNA biomolecules, such as proteins. Proteins do pose specific issues that are different than in the case of DNA. While the diameter of proteins is much larger than the diameter of  a DNA strand, the total size is much smaller. This requires on the one hand larger pores to allow molecular translocation, but much increased read‐out speeds. It is, however, notoriously difficult to read out nanopores at high speeds due to the low ionic currents through the pore.  At imec, we are developing a novel read‐out scheme for solid‐state nanopores, which is based on the direct integration of nanopores with state‐of‐the art silicon transistors. Rather than measuring the ion current through the pore directly, but we measure the response of the transistor current to the presence of molecules in the pore. This reduces the impact of ionic current noise and provides a path to large scale parallelization.     
In this postdoc project, you are initially responsible for (bio)physical characterization of the first generation of nanopore transistors, developing a deep understanding of the device properties, also by comparing the signals to "classical" nanopores. In parallel you will develop schemes, based on  both classical and transistor based nanopores to enable label‐free screening of proteins.  You will closely interact with both device designers and process integration engineers for device assay development, as well as biophysics and biochemistry researchers for molecular assay development. You will carry out your work in imec's life lab, where you can work together with an international, multidisciplinary team. 
Supervisor: Pol Van Dorpe (KU Leuven)
Daily advisor: Pol Van Dorpe
Required background: Electrical engineering, Nanotechnology, biophysics 
Type of work: 70% experimental, 20% modeling/simulation, 10% literature

What we do for you

We offer you the opportunity to join one of the world’s premier research centers in nanotechnology at its headquarters in Leuven, Belgium. With your talent, passion and expertise, you’ll become part of a team that makes the impossible possible. Together, we shape the technology that will determine the society of tomorrow.
We are proud of our open, multicultural, and informal working environment with ample possibilities to take initiative and show responsibility. We commit to supporting and guiding you in this process, not only with words but also with tangible actions. Through, 'our corporate university', we actively invest in your development to further your technical and personal growth.
We are aware that your valuable contribution makes imec a top player in its field. Your energy and commitment are therefore appreciated by means of a competitive salary with many fringe benefits.
 Who you are
  •  You have a PhD in the field of (bio)physics, chemistry, nanotechnology or engineering. Experience with nanopore sensors or bio‐FETs is an asset.
  •  Extensive knowledge of (or experience with) single molecule sensing, single molecule enzymology, nano characterization or surface chemistry is an asset. Basic knowledge of semiconductor devices is an asset.
  •  You have hands‐on experience with advanced lab facilities (e.g. surface functionalization, SEM, TEM, fluorescence microscope, patch clamps, amplifiers, probe stations, etc.).
  •  You have hands‐on experience with data analysis.
  •  Theoretical understanding of (or experience with) modeling of nanopore sensors is an asset.
  •  You are self‐motivated, innovative and results driven. You are a team‐player.
  •  You have good communication and interpersonal skills to link research groups and project partners.
  •  You have good English language skills to work in imec’s international working environment. 
This postdoctoral position is funded by imec through KU Leuven. Because of the specific financing statute which targets international mobility for postdocs, only candidates who did not stay or work/study in Belgium for more than 24 months in the past 3 years can be considered for the position (short stays such as holiday, participation in conferences, etc. are not taken into account).
Job Application:

Date Posted: March 26, 2020