PhD position in X-ray analytical research for biomedical applications: understanding nanoparticle behavior in biological environments (a)
Materials science and technology are our passion. With our cutting-edge research, Empa's around 1,100 employees make essential contributions to the well-being of society for a future worth living. Empa is a research institution of the ETH Domain.

Empa’s Centre for X-ray Analytics develops X-ray analytical and imaging methods for understanding materials structure in materials, life- and medical sciences.
Your tasks

The PhD research will focus on fundamental studies to understand the behavior of nanoparticles in a biological environment. This includes experiments using laboratory and synchrotron infrastructures for in-situ and operando investigations. The mechanism of interactions of (mostly) inorganic materials with biomolecules will be studied in depth with small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) as the main methodology, complemented by microscopy and dynamic light scattering, among other methods. The aim is to develop a fundamental understanding of the leading interactions between nanoparticles and biology, enabling the design of high-efficiency strategies for targeted applications. The project is interdisciplinary, is related to a funded European project, and will be in close cooperation with our national and international partners.

Your profile

If you are a highly motivated and passionate individual, with excellent communication skills, seeking to make a major impact in analytical research related to biomedicine; you thrive in interdisciplinary environments, and meet the following criteria:

  • completed Master`s degree in crystallography, material science, chemistry, physics or similar.
  • have strong hands-on laboratory skills
  • have experience with X-ray based analytical methods
  • Have additional experience in the biomedical domain
  • Fluent in English, German is beneficial


then, this position might be for you.

Your contribution and Our offer
  • Investigating the interaction of inorganic nanoparticles with a surrounding biological environment such as proteins, serum, or whole blood.
  • Studying the interplay of bio-molecules on surfaces.
  • Focusing on analytical research: methods development in SAXS and Grazing-Incidence SAXS (GISAXS).
  • Design of experiments for in-situ and operando studies.

Project duration is three years with the potential extension by one more year. The candidate will perform his/her research at Empa in St. Gallen. The desired starting date is the 1st of June 2023 or upon mutual agreement.

For further information, please contact Prof. Dr. Antonia Neels, Head of the Center for X-ray Analytics at Empa,

"a" stands for «all» in our job advertisements. We live a culture of inclusion and respect. We welcome all people who are interested in innovative, sustainable and meaningful activities. That's what counts - not age, gender, origin, religion, sexual orientation, etc....
We look forward to receiving your complete online application including a letter of motivation, CV, certificates, diplomas and contact details (names and addresses) of two reference persons. Please submit these exclusively via our job portal. Applications by e-mail and by post will not be considered.
Esther Zürcher, Personalleiterin Empa St. Gallen / Head Human Resources Empa St. Gallen
Your future place of work
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9014 St. Gallen
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