PhD candidate || Structure and dynamics in enzyme catalysis

 The Faculty of Science and the Leiden Institute of Chemistry are looking for a:

PhD candidate || Structure and dynamics in enzyme catalysis (1.0 fte)
Vacancy number: 22-407

Project description
Enzymes accelerate chemical reactions by many orders of magnitude. The active site is tuned to position the catalytic residues in exactly the right position and protein dynamics is highly controlled, often by ensuring that the enzyme is in a single, well-defined and active conformation. This project is aimed at understanding how the amino acid residues in and around the active site manage to stabilize the very flexible protein molecule to assume a single and active conformation. Systematic mutagenesis will be employed to test the roles of individual residues around the active site. The structural and dynamic properties and catalytic activity of these variants will be studied using a combination of crystallography, NMR spectroscopy, molecular dynamics calculations and kinetic experiments. The project will yield a fundamental understanding of how a unique, active conformation can be achieved, which will be helpful in the design of artificial proteins.

Selection criteria
•    MSc degree in biophysics or biochemistry;
•    Proven experience with protein production and purification;
•    Clear interest in biophysical techniques to understand protein properties;
•    Experience with protein crystallography, protein NMR or protein MD is an advantage;
•    Proficiency in English.

Our organisation
The Faculty of Science is a world-class faculty where staff and students work together in a dynamic international environment. It is a faculty where personal and academic development is top priorities. Our people are committed to expand fundamental knowledge by curiosity and to look beyond the borders of their own discipline; their aim is to benefit science, and to make a contribution to addressing the major societal challenges of the future.
The research carried out at the Faculty of Science is very diverse, ranging from mathematics, information science, astronomy, physics, chemistry and bio-pharmaceutical sciences to biology and environmental sciences. The research activities are organized in eight institutes. These institutes offer eight bachelor’s and twelve master’s programs. The faculty has grown strongly in recent years and now has more than 2,300 staff and almost 5,000 students. We are located at the heart of Leiden’s Bio Science Park, one of Europe’s biggest science parks, where university and business life come together.

The chemistry and life science research in the Leiden Institute of Chemistry (LIC) is organized around two major research areas: ‘Chemical Biology’ and ‘Energy & Sustainability’. The institute’s research themes illustrate the central position of chemistry between biology, medicine and physics. The various research topics carried out within these themes are ideal for executing interdisciplinary research.

Terms and conditions
We offer a full-time position for initially one year. After positive evaluation of the progress of the thesis, personal capabilities and compatibility the appointment will be extended by a further three years. Salary range from € 2.540 to € 3.245 gross per month (pay scale P in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities).
Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break.

All our PhD candidates are embedded in the Leiden University Graduate School of Science. Our graduate school offers several PhD training courses at three levels: professional courses, skills training and personal effectiveness. 

Diversity and inclusion are core values of Leiden University. Leiden University is committed to becoming an inclusive community which enables all students and staff to feel valued and respected and to develop their full potential. Diversity in experiences and perspectives enriches our teaching and strengthens our research. High quality teaching and research is inclusive.

If you have any questions regarding the application procedure, please contact Thomas Kalkman, (management assistant).

For questions relating to the project, contact Prof. Marcellus Ubbink,

Please send your application via email to Thomas Kalkman, Include the following documents in PDF:
•    A letter of motivation
•    A curriculum vitae
•    Contact details of three references
•    The transcripts of your BSc and MSc studies 

Application deadline is August 8, 2022. Interviews are planned to take place between August 12 and 19, 2022.

Apply now

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