Type of Position: 
PhD Candidate
Date : 
Position is available now.
Duration of Employment: 
One PhD position (3 years)
Job Description: 

Microfluidic Platform to Study Single SNARE Mediated Membrane Fusion Event

Cell communication usually involves the production of vesicles from a cell membrane, the transport of these vesicles and finally, their fusion with the target cell membrane. SNAREs are a family of proteins discovered in the late 1980s whose main physiological function is to mediate vesicle fusion. Since then, and because of their ubiquitous action, SNARE mediated vesicle fusion has been under constant and thorough investigation. Despite these enormous efforts, kinetic measurements of the ionic transport during a single vesicle fusion event are still difficult to obtain. Many model systems were developed for this purpose, but all of these model systems suffer from several drawbacks which question their bio-relevance.


To overcome these issues, we developed a microfluidic platform in which suspended fluid phospholipid bilayer can be generated at a defined place and the fusion of individual vesicles with this model membrane can be monitored with excellent optical and electrical access. This platform further enables exploring ion transport across membranes and fluidity of membranes. Using this microfluidic platform, different aspects of the SNARE mediated fusion dynamics and bilayer properties shall be explored. After an initial period to become familiar with the field, the candidate is expected to design and to perform experiments to study membrane fusion properties. These studies involve fluid manipulation (microfluidics), optical (florescence) microscopy, electrophysiological measurement (patch clamp), force measurements (with optical tweezer), protein expression and purification.


The project is part of the collaborative research center SFB-1027 from the German Science Foundation located at the Saarland University (Physical modeling of non-equilibrium processes in biological systems). Experiments will also be performed in close collaboration with the group of Frederic Pincet (ENS-Paris) and with other groups involved into the  networks.

More informations can be found here.


Profile: Applicants should have a master in physics, biophysics, biology, biomedical
engineering or similar. Experience in microfluidics or lipidic system is welcome.

Desirable skills: Ability to work independently within a scientific team, good communication
skills (English).


Applications: Please send a letter of motivation + CV + available letters of reference to Dr.
Jean-Baptiste Fleury ( jean-baptiste.fleury@physik.uni-saarland.de), or Prof Ralf Seemann
( r.seemann@physik.uni-saarland.de ).













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