The Paul Scherrer Institute PSI is the largest research institute for natural and engineering sciences within Switzerland. We perform cutting-edge research in the fields of future technologies, energy and climate, health innovation and fundamentals of nature. By performing fundamental and applied research, we work on sustainable solutions for major challenges facing society, science and economy. PSI is committed to the training of future generations. Therefore, about one quarter of our staff are post-docs, post-graduates or apprentices. Altogether, PSI employs 2200 people. 

For the Nanodiffraction Group we are looking for a

PhD Student

Your tasks

This is an exciting opportunity to contribute to cutting-edge research in the field of neurodegenerative diseases and metal-protein interactions. You will be embedded at the interface of the Luoand Hillergroups, in a highly stimulating collaborative research environment. Both the PSI Villigen and the Biozentrum Basel offer access to fantastic infrastructure including state-of-the-art technology platforms for cuttingedge interdisciplinary research, as well as a lively scientific community and the opportunity to collaborate with experts in the field.

Your tasks will include:
  • Evaluate metal elements, metallic nanoparticles in postmortem brain tissues of individuals with neurodegenerative diseases by using X-ray microspectroscopy and energy SEM-dispersive X-ray (EDX) analysis
  • Investigate how amyloid proteins, particularly Alzheimer's Aβ and Parkinson's α-synuclein, induce the formation of metallic nanoparticles in coacervation through the use of biophysical techniques such as NMR spectroscopy and X-ray absorption spectroscopy
  • Characterize the cellular toxicity and potentially harmful effects of metallic nanoparticles and metal-protein coacervates using cell viability assays and other biochemical assays
  • Collaborate with other group members, utilizing the facilities and resources available at the PSI and Biozentrum Basel
  • Co-supervise and co-support master and bachelor students
  • Present work at international conferences/workshops and publish work

Your profile

  • Good background in protein aggregation, amyloid research, or metal-protein interactions
  • Experience with biophysical techniques such as NMR spectroscopy or soft Xray absorption spectroscopy
  • Knowledge of neurodegenerative diseases and their molecular mechanisms 
  • Ability to work independently as well as collaboratively in a multidisciplinary team
  • Excellent communication and scientific writing skills

We offer

Our institution is based on an interdisciplinary, innovative and dynamic collaboration. You will profit from a systematic training on the job, in addition to personal development possibilities and our pronounced vocational training culture. If you wish to optimally combine work and family life or other personal interests, we are able to support you with our modern employment conditions and the on-site infrastructure.

For further information, please contact Dr Jinghui Luo, phone +41 56 310 47 64.

Please submit your application online by 26 July 2024 (including addresses of referees) for the position as a PhD Student (index no. 2411-00).

Paul Scherrer Institut, Human Resources Management, Luca Simen, 5232 Villigen PSI, Switzerland