Open positions

Interested in nanoscience research? Please remember to check this page where we regularly post job offers for PhD students, postdoctoral researchers, and senior scientists at the Adolphe Merkle Institute. Chemistry, materials science, analytics, physics, and biophysics are all at the core of our scientific projects. We offer a uniquely stimulating interdisciplinary research environment, state-of-the-art laboratories, excellent working conditions, competitive salaries, and outstanding career prospects. Our alumni regularly take up attractive positions in academia, public research organizations, and industry around the world.

  • PhD position - delivery of RNA therapeutics using polymeric nanoparticles

    The BioNanomaterials group of Profs Rothen-Rutishauser/ Fink (https://www.ami.swiss/bionanomaterials/en/) at the Adolphe Merkle Institute at the University of Fribourg is looking for a highly motivated and talented PhD student, who is interested and capable of working in a strongly interdisciplinary environment combining drug delivery, cell biology, and nanomaterial chemistry.

    Project goals: Development of polymeric cancer nanovaccines loaded with RNA therapeutics to reprogram immunologically the brain cancer microenvironment.

    The PhD student will work in an interdisciplinary team working at the interface of biomaterials, drug delivery nanosystems, cancer metabolism and cell biology.

    As such, the project relies on a multitude of analytical techniques, both from the material and the biological field.

    We aim at attracting the best talent in the respective research field and expect:

    • An outstanding university master's/ diploma degree (or equivalent) in Biomedical Engineering, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Materials Science (with major in bio-sciences) or related disciplines.
    • A clear vision about your PhD goals
    • Experience in one or more of the following areas will be beneficial but is not required: RNA and drug delivery, biomacromolecules delivery, formulation and preparation of nanoparticles, cell biology, immunology and cell culture models.
    • We are looking for collaborators with an independent, target- and solution-driven work attitude, inter- and multidisciplinary thinking & strong motivation and interest to join an ambitious interdisciplinary research cluster an independent, target- and solution-driven work attitude;
    • an integrative and cooperative personality with excellent communication and social skills;
    • fluency in English – written and oral

    You will be joining a team of enthusiastic scientists who creatively pursue their research agenda by the cluster's innovative approach and support. We offer:

    • A cutting-edge research project
    • Excellent research facilities
    • Salary funding according to the SNSF guidelines
    • Supporting curriculum with many optional courses
    • International environment with English as the working language

    Application Procedure

    Please send your complete documentation including letter of motivation, CV, copies of pertinent certificates, and contact details of two references to: alke.fink@unifr.ch and flavia.sousa@unifr.ch

  • PhD positions - fluorescent sensors for super-resolution imaging of damage in polymeric materials

    We have two open PhD positions on the development and application of fluorescent sensors for the super-resolution imaging of damage in polymeric materials. This project is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) through a PRIMA grant awarded to Dr. Jessica Clough.

    The first PhD student will focus on the design and synthesis of the sensors, which will include fluorescent mechanophores, nanoparticles and photo-switches.

    The second PhD student will primarily apply the sensing platforms for super-resolution imaging of nanoscopic defects in polymeric films.

    Both students will be involved in the development of the methodology, the incorporation of the sensing platforms in polymers and the mechanical and optical characterisation of the materials.

    The ultimate goal of the project is to establish a novel methodology, super-resolution force imaging (SRFI), to push the resolution of optical mechano-sensing in polymers to the ultimate limit. The information obtained by this technique will allow us to understand important micro-mechanisms that lead to fracture in these materials and predict mechanical failure.

    A strong collaboration between the two PhD students and with other groups that contribute complementary expertise is expected and desired. In particular, the work of the PhD candidates will be supported by collaborations with the laboratories of Prof. Christoph Weder (Adolphe Merkle Institute) and Prof. Guillermo Acuña (University of Fribourg), which are centres of expertise in the characterisation of polymeric materials and super-resolution imaging respectively.

    Requirements for applicants:

    First PhD student: M.Sc. (or equivalent) in Chemistry or Polymer Science. Experience in organic synthesis and/or polymer synthesis is highly desirable.

    Second PhD student: M.Sc. (or equivalent) in Materials Science, Polymer Science or Physics. Experience in experimental optics or any branch of optical imaging is desirable.

    Both PhD students must have a passion for interdisciplinary research and enjoy collaborating with other researchers. An excellent command of oral and written English is essential.

    AMI offers highly competitive working conditions and an outstanding infrastructure in a cutting-edge research facility. Moreover, Fribourg sits in a strategic position in the heart of Europe, can be easily reached from many destinations and offers exceptional quality of life.

    The successful applicant will enrol in a full-time 4-year PhD program. Please send your CV, motivation letter and the contact details of two references to Dr. Jessica Clough via e-mail to jessica.clough@unifr.ch with the subject title “PhD position SRFI”.

    Deadline for applications is 30th November 2022, but the selection of candidates will start immediately. Project work will begin on 1st March 2023.

  • PhD positions in photonic structural materials (ERC)

    Two PhD positions are offered by the AMI Soft Matter Physics group in the ERC project "Photonic Structural Materials with Controlled Disorder” (https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/833895).  This project studies the 100-nm morphologies within the coloured scales of beetles and butterflies and bird-feather barbs  to discover the relationship between physical structure and their optical appearance.  In particular this project seeks to discover how the order-disorder interplay affects the optical appearance of the scales/barbs.  A further goal is to manufacture materials that employ the gained knowledge, creating new types of photonic colours. 

    Two PhD positions are on offer:

    Theory. Development of a theoretical description of optical bandgaps arising from structural assemblies with partial disorder. This project will be predominantly based on already acquired 3D data of biological materials that exhibit photonic band gaps and it is the goal to develop a physical model that underpins the bandgap in these materials. These models will be tested using numerical approaches. The candidate should have a background in theoretical physics, preferably optics. Given the appropriate qualification this position might also be filled on the post-doc level.


    Experimental: In collaboration with New York University, so-called "patchy" colloids will be developed. DNA patches on the colloids provide on-demand sticking points that allow assembly the colloids in packing structures that do not naturally form. This will allow generating colloidal assemblies that locally have a well-defined coordination, but are globally disordered. The goal of this project is to great colloidal assembly which have an optical band gap. The candidate should ideally have a background in colloid physics, optical materials, or supramolecular materials.

    General requirements:  MSc degree in physics, physical chemistry, applied mathematics, materials science, or a related field.

    Please send applications (including letter of motivation, CV, copies of pertinent certificates, and contact details of references) as one PDF file via e‐mail to ami.applications@unifr.ch with the subject title PhD position "Photonic Structural Materials with Controlled Disorder” .

  • PhD Nanoparticles & Cellular Mechanics - 2 positions

    The National Center of Competence in Research for Bio-Inspired Stimuli-Responsive Materials (www.bioinspired-materials.ch) is an internationally recognized hub for paradigm-shifting research, innovation, and education in the domain of “smart” materials whose function and design are inspired by nature. Transcending traditional disciplines, the center integrates the research activities of various research groups from the University of Fribourg’s Adolphe Merkle Institute, its departments of chemistry, medicine, biology, and physics, and partners at the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ) and Lausanne (EPFL).

    To complete our team for the third phase of the NCCR, we are seeking two PhD students to study the role of substrate topography on nanoparticle-cell interactions with a focus on cellular mechanics.

    Position and Requirements

    The BioNanomaterial research team of Profs Rothen-Rutishauser/ Fink (https://www.ami.swiss/bionanomaterials/en/) at the Adolphe Merkle Institute is looking for two highly motivated and talented PhD students who are interested and capable of working in a strongly interdisciplinary environment combining cell biology, cell mechanics and nanomaterial chemistry.

     Project goals: Study the influence of topography and topographic stimuli on cell mechanics, cell phenotype dynamics and nanoparticle cellular uptake.

    As such, the project relies on a multitude of analytical techniques, both from the material and the biological field.

    We aim at attracting the best talent in the respective research field and expect:

    • An outstanding university master's/ diploma degree (or equivalent) in biomedical engineering, materials science (with major in bio-sciences) or vice-versa, first research experience, preferably in (a related) field, and a strong analytical background.
    • A clear vision about your PhD goals
    • We are looking for collaborators with an independent, target- and solution-driven work attitude, inter- and multidisciplinary thinking & strong motivation and interest to join an ambitious interdisciplinary research cluster. an independent, target- and solution-driven work attitude;
    • an integrative and cooperative personality with excellent communication and social skills;
    • fluency in English – written and oral

     You will be joining a team of enthusiastic scientists who creatively pursue their research agenda by the cluster's innovative approach and support. We offer:

    • A cutting-edge research project
    • Excellent research facilities
    • Salary funding according to the SNSF guidelines
    • Supporting curriculum with many optional courses
    • International environment with English as the working language

    Application Procedure

    Please send your complete documentation including letter of motivation, CV, copies of pertinent certificates, and contact details of two references to:

    Adolphe Merkle Institute, University of Fribourg, Ch. de Verdiers 4, CH-Fribourg, Switzerland.

    Online: barbara.rothen@unifr.ch

    The submission deadline is August 31, 2022.

  • PhD “Micro- and nanoplastic particles”- 2 positions

    The BioNanomaterials research team of Profs. Fink / Rothen-Rutishauser is looking for 2 highly motivated PhD students.

    Project: The aim of this project is to improve analytical sample preparation and detection techniques for micro- and nanoplastic particles. For this, mostly SERS will be developed and validated to detect the particles in complex matrices, mostly physiological environments, based upon our extensive experience with engineered nanoparticles. For more information please visit

    https://www.ami.swiss/bionanomaterials/en/research/

    We aim at attracting the best talent in the respective research field and expect:

    • Strong academic mindset and outstanding university master's/ diploma degree (or equivalent) in analytical chemistry, nanosciences, or materials science first research experience, preferably in (a related) field.
    • A clear vision about your PhD goals
    • We are looking for collaborators with an independent, target- and solution-driven work attitude, inter- and multidisciplinary thinking & strong motivation and interest to join an ambitious interdisciplinary research team.
    • an integrative and cooperative personality with excellent communication and social skills;
    • fluency in English – written and oral

    You will be joining a team of enthusiastic scientists who pursue their research agenda. We offer:

    • A cutting-edge research project
    • Excellent research facilities
    • Full funding
    • Supporting curriculum with many optional courses
    • International environment with English as the working language

    Application Procedure

    Please send your complete documentation including letter of motivation, CV, copies of pertinent certificates, and contact details of two references to: alke.fink@unifr.ch

    The submission deadline is August 31, 2022. 

  • Postdoc position (100%) – Inorganic Nanoparticle Synthesis

    The AMI BioNanomaterials group (https://www.ami.swiss/bionanomaterials/en/) is looking for an experienced scientist in the field of wet chemical inorganic nanoparticle synthesis with a focus on plasmonic nanoparticles.

     We aim at attracting the best talents in the respective research field and expect:

    • A PhD degree in natural sciences/engineering with proven track record in inorganic nanoparticle (wet chemical) synthesis.
    • Expertise in plasmonic nanoparticle synthesis and characterization
    • Track record in SERS (including particle and substrate preparation)
    • Fluency in English – written and oral, Candidates with working knowledge in French or German will be preferred
    • Supervision of Master and PhD students in the group, involvement in teaching activities
    • An integrative and cooperative personality with excellent communication and social skills;

     We offer:

    • Excellent research facilities
    • A one-year contract with the possibility for prolongation and – if successful with high impact publications and acquisition of additional funding – promotion to group leader with the opportunity for a Habilitation
    • Full funding (according to the SNSF guidelines)
    • Supporting curriculum with many optional courses
    • International environment with English as the working language

     Start date: as soon as possible.

    Application Procedure

    Please email your application to alke.fink@unifr.ch including your CV, a cover letter, and contact information of (at least) two references with the subject title “Postdoc position (100%) Plasmonic particles - BioNano group”.

    Deadline: August 31, 2022

  • Postdoctoral position - development of pore-forming protein assemblies with controlled size and activity

    The BioPhysics group of Adolphe Merkle Institute is looking for a POSTDOC (ideally 100%) for developing pore-forming protein assemblies with controlled size and activity.

    ABOUT THE GROUP

    The Biophysics group is a multidisciplinary and collaborative group where concepts from biology and physics converge towards solutions to challenges, such as improving human health, medical diagnostics and bio-inspired energy transformation. The group pioneered the development of biomimetic hydrogel-based electrical power sources which are biocompatible and mechanically flexible (Schroeder et al, Nature 2017). Other research activities of the group are directed towards gaining a molecular understanding of disease, developing sensitive diagnostic assays and sensors (Yusko et al, Nature Nanotechnology, 2011 and 2017), as well as characterizing individual protein molecules for applications in biomarker detection, routine protein analysis, personalized medicine, and proteomics.

    GOAL OF THE PROJECT

    Nanopore technologies are redefining the way we analyse and sequence DNA and RNA as well as unlabelled proteins at a single-molecule level. Nanopore sensing devices consist of a thin membrane with a nanometer-sized pore which separates two electrolite solutions. When a potential is applied across the membrane, an ionic current is established in the nanopore. Measuring the current modulations caused by proteins translocating through the nanopore allows to estimate several important molecular parameters, such as size, shape and charge.

    Controlling the size and the stability of the nanopore is one of the key challenges to the advancement of this technology. We strive to achieve such control by taking advantage of DNA nanotechnology to engineer natural pore-forming proteins to assemble into nanopores with programmable sizes that can be used for protein analysis.

    WE ARE LOOKING FOR A CANDIDATE WITH

    • A PhD in Chemistry, Biochemistry, Biophysics or related fields
    • Experience with protein chemical functionalization and analysis
    • Experience with DNA design and assembly is a plus

    APPLICATION PROCEDURE

    Please send your CV, a motivation letter and two reference letters to Prof. Michael Mayer (michael.mayer@unifr.ch)

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION

    Please contact Prof. Michael Mayer (michael.mayer@unifr.ch) or Dr. Alessandro Ianiro (alessandro.ianiro@unifr.ch)