Open positions

  • PhD position in the BioNanomaterials group

    The Adolphe Merkle Institute (AMI) at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland invites applications for one PhD position in the BioNanomaterials group which is co-chaired by Prof. B. Rothen-Rutishauser and Prof. A. Fink.

    The goal of the SNSF funded project “Long-term fate of internalized nanoparticles in macrophages” is to study (i) the dynamics of nanoparticles after cellular internalization including trafficking and agglomeration, and (ii) to combine light and electron microscopy methods to provide accurate number projection of intracellular particles.

    Applicants must have a MSc or equal degree in Cell Biology and Light / Electron Microscopy. Excellent skills in the domain of microscopy techniques to analyze sub-cellular structures are expected. Enthusiasm for top-quality research and good oral and written English communication skills are a must.

    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) to Prof. Barbara Rothen-Rutishauser, Adolphe Merkle Institute, University of Fribourg, Ch. de Verdiers 4, CH-Fribourg, Switzerland, The successful candidate is expected to start as early as possible. Please state “PhD student BioNanomaterials” in your motivation letter and in the subject header!

  • Postdoctoral position

    Study of emulsion digestion and particle-cell interaction with custom-made optical micromanipulation tools

    Are you passionate about colloid and interface science and interested in optical micromanipulation? In a collaborative project between the groups of the departments of chemistry, physics, and the Adolphe Merkle Institute of the University of Fribourg, we are hiring a postdoc focusing on manipulation of micron-sized bio-colloids to study emulsion digestion and particle-cell interactions. The candidate will have the responsibility of developing a novel acousto-optical tweezer tool for this activity.

     Your Mission and Responsibilities

    • Development, adaption of an optical tweezer system and its integration into existing microscopy environments.
    • Application of the newly developed platform to the in situ study of emulsion digestion, drug delivery and particle-cell interactions.
    • Generating advanced knowledge in soft matter science and bioinspired materials.
    • Collaborate with internal and external project partners from academia and industry.
    • Communicate results at meetings, conferences and publications in peer-reviewed journals.

    Minimum Qualifications

    • A PhD degree in a relevant field (physics, physical chemistry, colloid chemistry, materials science).
    • Proven experience in developing novel experimental platforms.
    • Programming skills. We currently use LabVIEW to control the optical tweezers. Therefore, a good command of LabVIEW is mandatory. We would consider a candidate with excellent knowledge in Python that would be able to translate the existing LabVIEW code.
    • Proven experience in working in interdisciplinary research environments selected from the following disciplines (in form of a peer-reviewed publication): Colloid chemistry, soft-matter, nanomaterial characterization, scattering, AFM, confocal (Raman) microscopy.
    • Fluency in English (written and oral) is a must, German or French would be a benefit.
    • Proven experience in publication of research findings with a strong publication record.

    Other Skills

    • Outcome driven personality that takes risks and enjoys working on in interdisciplinary environments.
    • Creative attitude, flexibility and team player.
    • Passion for science and independent problem-solving skills.

     The position is available as soon as a suitable candidate is found. Your application portfolio should include a cover letter clearly outlining your motivation for this role and relevant experience, CV with publication list and information of at least 3 reference contacts and diploma copies and reprints of 3 relevant publications.

    Please send your application documents to clearly noting project number CP4 in the reference line.

  • 4 PhD positions in optics

    The Adolphe Merkle Institute (AMI) at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland invites applications for 4 PhD positions in the Soft Matter Physics group of Prof. Ullrich Steiner.

    The goal of the ERC funded project “Photonic Structural Materials with Controlled Disorder” is the discovery how structural color arises from materials with various degrees of disorder. The projects encompass the following four domains:

    • Tomographic analysis of disordered materials occurring in nature (e.g. bird feathers), the discovery of structural correlations in these materials and linking them with their optical properties
    • The analysis of disordered optical gratings occurring in plants and the development of models describing their optical response
    • The manufacture of materials that replicate the properties of the materials described above. This includes the discovery how nature creates these materials
    • The development of numerical and analytic methods to describe and model the propagation of light through disordered media

    The project includes the investigation of these structures with state-of-the-art tomographic methods, synthetic and self-assembly methodologies to create structured materials and both analytic and simulation methods analyzing structural correlations and the light-matter interaction in disordered materials.

    The successful applicant will hold a Master’s degree (or equivalent) in Physics, Materials Science or a related field, preferably with a focus on optics, topology or structure-function interactions. While the projects are mostly experimental, there is also the possibility to carry out a theoretical PhD project on the analytical analysis and numerical simulation of disordered materials and their optical response.  The candidate should wish to pursue independent research involving optical characterization techniques, electron microscopy, analytic theories or optical simulations. Excellent communication skills in English (both written and oral) are an essential requirement. PhD positions at AMI provide the opportunity of close collaborations with other groups at AMI, the Faculty of Sciences, within the National Center of Competence in Research “Bio-inspired Materials”, as well was with the University of Cambridge and several US universities.

    The Adolphe Merkle Institute at the University of Fribourg is a recently established center of competence, focused on research in the field of soft nano-materials, science and technology. With the objective to stimulate innovation, AMI aims to combine fundamental and application-oriented research within an interdisciplinary setting. AMI offers highly competitive working conditions, an outstanding infrastructure and a competitive salary. For informal enquiries please contact

    Please email your application to including your CV, a cover letter, and contact information of (at least) two references with the subject title “PhD position in Optics (ERC)”. Review of applications will begin immediately upon receipt of complete application materials. The call remains open until a fitting candidate has been selected.