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 for NRP79 project on 3D lung models to predict (nano)material aerosol effects

    The BioNanomaterial’s group invites applications of a PhD researcher (m/f) for a project in the domain of lung tissue engineering including (nano)material aerosol delivery and assessment of cell effects based on the adverse outcome pathway concept. This position and project are part of the National Research Program 79 (NRP79) from the Swiss National Science Foundation on “Advancing 3R”  (https://www.nfp79.ch/en/). The project is done in collaboration with PD Dr. Fabian Blank, Pulmonary Medicine Research Laboratory (Adults), Department for BioMedical Research, University of Bern.

    Applicants must have a MSc or equal degree in Cell Biology or Tissue Engineering. Excellent skills in the domain of cell culture techniques, cell analysis, and / or (nano)material aerosol technology are expected. Enthusiasm for top-quality research and good oral and written English communication skills are a must. Proficiency in either German or French is an advantage.

    We offer a uniquely stimulating interdisciplinary research environment at the interface of cell biology and bionanomaterials, state-of-the-art laboratories, excellent working conditions, a competitive salary in accordance with the Swiss National Science Foundation guidelines, and outstanding career prospects.

    Please send your complete documentation (including letter of motivation, CV, copies of pertinent certificates, and contact details of two references) until July 15, 2022, to Prof. Barbara Rothen-Rutishauser, Adolphe Merkle Institute, University of Fribourg, Ch. de Verdiers 4, CH-Fribourg, Switzerland, barbara.rothen@unifr.ch. The successful candidate is expected to start as early as possible. Please state “PhD student - NRP79 PhD position” in your motivation letter and in the subject header!

  • Accounting and financial controller 80-100%

    To complete our team of currently 100 researchers and staff members at the Adolphe Merkle Institute, we are seeking an

     Accounting and financial controller 80-100%

     As part of the central administration team, you will manage the financial accounting, controlling and reporting of the institute. You will be responsible for:

    • Institute finances: budgeting, accounting, reporting, forecasting
    • Workflow organization of the finance team, and interfacing with the financial services of the University.
    • Project controlling: providing project budgets for research proposals, financial management, forecasting, monthly closing and internal reporting, compliance management, coordination of external reporting, and audits.

    You will also be the primary contact for scientific project managers and the executive board for all aspects of project financial administration.

    You have at least a commercial diploma or equivalent with working experience in a similar position. You are well versed in accounting, have a good sense for prioritization, are comfortable functioning in a complex context and like to take on responsibilities. You have a goal-oriented mindset and work in a collaborative and pro-active manner (can-do mentality, hands-on personality). You have excellent written and verbal communication skills (German or French mother tongue with excellent skills in the other language); fluency in English. Preferably you have worked with SAP.

    We offer an interesting work environment in an international team, flexible working conditions, and good social benefits.

    The start date will be August 1st 2022 or according to agreement. Please send your complete application until May 31th to: Catherine Jungo, Adolphe Merkle Institute, University of Fribourg, Chemin des Verdiers 4, 1700 Fribourg or online: catherine.jungo@unifr.ch. For additional information about the position, please contact: Prof. Ullrich Steiner, Tel. 026 300 92 54, ullrich.steiner@unifr.ch

  • PhD positions in photonic structural materials with controlled disorder (ERC)

    Two PhD positions are offered by the AMI Soft Matter Physics group in the framework of 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.

    The two PhD positions on offer are:

    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.

    Experiment: In collaboration with New York University, so-called "patchy" colloids will be developed. DNA patches provide on-demand sticking points that allow the colloids to assemble in packed structures that do not naturally form. These assemblies will have locally well-defined coordination, but remain globally disordered. The goal of this project is to create colloidal assemblies that 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.

    The positions will be filled as soon as possible. Please send your CV, a motivation letter, and contact information of at least two references as one PDF file via E‐mail to ami‐applications@unifr.ch with the subject title "Photonic Structural Materials with Controlled Disorder”.

  • PhD positions in the area of stimuli-responsive supramolecular polymer systems

    AMI’s Polymer Chemistry and Materials group (Prof. Christoph Weder, Dr. Jessica Clough, Dr. José Berrocal) invites applications for two PhD Positions in the area of Stimuli-Responsive Supramolecular Polymer Systems. 

    The research project involves the design, synthesis, and investigation of stimuli-responsive polymers, which change their properties on demand. A new materials systems approach that allows access to dissipative out-of-equilibrium states will be used to create such materials. This principle is ubiquitous in biological materials and essential for the complex structures and functions of living organisms. This concept is expected to afford new polymers that offer a range of hitherto unavailable functions.

    Applicants must have a MS degree in Chemistry or Polymer Science, experience in organic and/or polymer synthesis, and wish to pursue interdisciplinary research involving small-molecule and polymer synthesis, polymer processing, and the characterization of various materials properties. AMI offers highly attractive employment  conditions,  and an outstanding infrastructure in a new research facility.

    The positions will be filled as soon as possible. Please send your CV, a motivation letter, and contact information of at least two references as one PDF file via E‐mail to ami‐applications@unifr.ch with the subject title “Stimuli-Responsive Polymer Systems”.

  • PhD position in the area of polymer mechanochemistry

    AMI’s Polymer Chemistry and Materials group (Prof. Christoph Weder, Dr. Jessica Clough) invites applications for a PhD Position in the area of Polymer Mechanochemistry.

    The research project involves the development and application of mechanochromic molecules that can sense mechanical forces in aqueous environments, in particular hydrogels and biological materials. The project is part of the activities of the National Center of Competence in Research (NCCR) Bio-Inspired Materials (bioinspired-materials.ch) and will be carried out in close collaboration with other members of the center. The research includes the design and synthesis of new mechanophores, their incorporation into polymers, and the characterization of these materials.

    Applicants must have a MS degree in Chemistry or Polymer Science, experience in organic and/or polymer synthesis, and wish to pursue interdisciplinary research involving small-molecule and polymer synthesis, polymer processing, and the characterization of various materials properties. AMI and the NCCR offer highly attractive employment  conditions,  and an outstanding infrastructure in a new research facility.

    The position will be filled as soon as possible. Please send your CV, motivation letter, and contact information of at least two references as one PDF file via E‐mail to ami‐applications@unifr.ch with the subject title “Polymer Mechanochemistry”.

  • 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 29.4.2022

  • 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 29.4.2022

  • 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: 29.4.2022

  • 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)