Empa - the place where innovation starts
Empa is the research institute for materials science and technology of the ETH Domain and conducts cutting-edge research for the benefit of industry and the well-being of society.
The Transport at Nanoscale Interfaces Laboratory is offering
Postdoc position for blood-based detection of Alzheimer’s Disease using nanoscale imaging and chemical spectroscopy
Presymptomatic blood-based diagnosis is critical for slowing Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Aggregated forms of amyloid beta (Aβ) and tau proteins are well known biomarkers in AD diagnosis. Our goal is to resolve, identify and classify these pathological proteins in blood from patients at various stages of decline in memory and cognition using label-free nanoscale imaging and chemical spectroscopy. Blood from age-matched healthy controls will also be analysed. The classified Aβ and tau protein aggregates ranging from single oligomers, protofibrils to mature fibrils in blood will be correlated in a patient-specific manner with clinical results to build a predictive model for identifying people at risk of developing AD and evaluating treatment efficiency.
We seek a highly motivated candidate with a Ph.D. degree in experimental biophysics (or a closely related discipline) with experience in application of chemical spectroscopy for protein analytics and morphological characterisation of biomolecules in body fluids (blood, cerebrospinal fluid). The candidate will be responsible for developing innovative approaches and new methods for data analysis aimed at chemically classifying pathological protein aggregates in blood from patients at various stages of decline in memory and cognition.
More specifically, a successful applicant should have experience:
- With atomic force microscopy combined with one or more of the following chemical spectroscopy techniques :Raman, IR, fluorescence;
- With conducting studies on the role of protein aggregation in neurodegenerative disease progression;
- Working in biosafety level 2 laboratory.
We offer a stimulating research environment with an excellent infrastructure in chemical spectroscopes (Raman, IR, fluorescence based chemical profiling of proteins) and nanoscale imaging techniques (a suite of atomic force microscopes, 3D rotational tomography and electron microscopes). Within the collaborative project, the successful candidate will interact closely with neurologists at the cantonal hospital St Gallen, Switzerland, where the AD patients for the study will be recruited. The position is available for 2 years with a possible extension of 1 year and will be available as of May 2023 or upon agreement. The position is in Dübendorf near Zürich.