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PhD Scholarship in Physical Chemistry at Lund University

Applications are invited for a PhD position in environmental sciences to join Lund University. Successful candidate will have funding to work and study for four years in Sweden. Potential candidates should apply before October 29, 2018.

The Faculty of Science conducts research and education within Biology, Astronomy, Physics, Geosciences, Chemistry, Mathematics and Environmental Sciences. The Faculty is organized into nine departments, gathered in the northern campus area. The Faculty has approximately 1500 students, 330 PhD students and 700 employees.

Lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) have evolved into smart multifunctional carriers for drug delivery, most notably in the thriving field of siRNA and mRNA therapeutics. Characterization of LNP bulk and in particular surface structure is of major importance to understand their interactions and therapeutic function. The structure determination of complex lipid-based nanoparticles with entrapped RNA and other biomacromolecules is challenging due to their size, intrinsic disorder, hierarchical structure at different length scales, low lipid-RNA contrast and fast dynamics. Standard analysis using approximate analytical scattering functions fail to unravel important details like phase separated surface domains, the structure of the interior bulk phase and the conformation of the encapsulated RNA macromolecules. The core of the PhD project is to combine neutron and X-ray scattering in both the small-angle and wide-angle regime together with novel data analysis tools to obtain new knowledge on the structure of LNP, not possible with present experimental and modeling strategies. The use of computational simulations to infer structural details from multiple sets of experimental data has begun to evolve and the experimental results generated in the project will allow for comprehensive computational analysis. This will establish not only basic understanding of structures but allow for rational design of new delivery vehicles for e.g. RNA with unsurpassed performance.

The project is financed by the Swedish-German Rntgen-ngstrm Cluster MEDISOFT: Combined SANS/SAXS and model-independent simulations for structure determination of complex, therapeutically relevant lipid nanoparticles. The PhD project is conducted in close collaboration with the Swedish partners Chalmers University of Technology, Uppsala University, MAX-IV and ESS and the German partners at Ludwig Maximillians University, Munich; MPI for Biophysics Frankfurt and Jlich Center for Neutron Scattering at MLZ, Garching.

You need a Master’s degree in physical/biophysical chemistry, physics or equivalent. Good knowledge in one or several of the experimental methods: advanced microscopy, surface techniques, and scattering methods is necessary, and experience of computer modeling is an advantage. Laboratory experience in handling lipid formulations and biomacromolecules is also a merit. You should be highly motivated and you should have demonstrated the ability to work independently to address research questions. Documented excellent level of English (understanding, speaking, writing) is essential. Excellent communication and presentation skills are also essential. The candidate should have the ability to work in a team and collaborate with people from complementary disciplines.

Eligibility

Students with basic eligibility for third-cycle studies are those who- have completed a second-cycle degree- have completed courses of at least 240 credits, of which at least 60 credits are from second-cycle courses, or- have acquired largely equivalent knowledge in some other way, in Sweden or abroad.

The employment of doctoral students is regulated in the Swedish Code of Statues 1998: 80. Only those who are or have been admitted to PhD-studies may be appointed to doctoral studentships. When an appointment to a doctoral studentship is made, the ability of the student to benefit from PhD-studies shall primarily be taken into account. In addition to devoting themselves to their studies, those appointed to doctoral studentships may be required to work with educational tasks, research and administration, in accordance with specific regulations in the ordinance.

Type of employment

Limit of tenure, four years according to HF 5 kap 7.

Summary:

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