Post doc Experimental evaluation of nanopore devices for protein analysis (CSC2020-15)

Leuven - Research & development
More than two weeks ago

Unraveling protein translocations through solid-state nanopores


Post doc Experimental evaluation of nanopore devices for protein analysis

Project description

Please note that this project is in the framework of CSC-IMEC-KU Leuven Scholarships. Please read the requirements before applying here

Scaling of CMOS technology has been a tremendous driver for the transformation of technology and  the society. In parallel to the improvements in computation power, technology has made its way to  the life sciences and has been fueling a revolution in diagnostic capabilities and throughput. One of  the latest technologies that have hit the market in genomics is based on nanopores. Precisely  measuring ionic currents through biological or solid‐state nanopores allows to determine the  molecular properties of objects passing through the pores with great accuracy. Biological nanopores  are already revolutionizing the field of genomics by means of fairly high throughput, long read  length, single molecule DNA sequencing.     

Nanopores yield a wealth of molecular information, which can also be exploited for label‐free  analysis of non‐DNA biomolecules, such as proteins. Proteins do pose specific issues that are  different than in the case of DNA. While the diameter of proteins is much larger than the diameter of  a DNA strand, the total size is much smaller. This requires on the one hand larger pores to allow  molecular translocation, but much increased read‐out speeds. It is, however, notoriously difficult to  read out nanopores at high speeds due to the low ionic currents through the pore.  At imec, we are developing a novel read‐out scheme for solid‐state nanopores, which is based on the  direct integration of nanopores with state‐of‐the art silicon transistors. Rather than measuring the  ion current through the pore directly, but we measure the response of the transistor current to the  presence of molecules in the pore. This reduces the impact of ionic current noise and provides a  path to large scale parallelization.      

In this postdoc project, you are initially responsible for (bio)physical characterization of the first  generation of nanopore transistors, developing a deep understanding of the device properties, also  by comparing the signals to "classical" nanopores. In parallel you will develop schemes, based on  both classical and transistor based nanopores to enable label‐free screening of proteins.  You will closely interact with both device designers and process integration engineers for device  assay development, as well as biophysics and biochemistry researchers for molecular assay  development. You will carry out your work in imec's life lab, where you can work together with an  international, multidisciplinary team.   

You have a PhD in the field of (bio)physics, chemistry, nanotechnology, or engineering, experience with  nanopore sensors or bio‐FETs is an asset. Extensive knowledge of and experience with singlemolecule sensing, single molecule enzymology, nanocharacterization and surface chemistry, and  basic knowledge of semiconductor devices is an assetHands‐on experiences with advanced lab  facilities (e.g. surface functionalization, SEM, TEM, fluorescence microscope, patch clamps,  amplifiers, probe stations, and etc).Hands‐on experience with data analysis. Theoretical  understanding of and experience with modeling of nanopore sensors is an asset.Self‐motivated,  innovative, results driven, and team‐player.Good communication and interpersonal skills to link  research groups and project partners.English language skills to work in imec's international working  environment.

Please note that this project is in the framework of CSC-IMEC-KU Leuven Scholarships. Please read the requirements before applying here  

Supervisor: Pol Van Dorpe (KU Leuven)
Daily advisor: Pol Van Dorpe
Required background: Electrical engineering, Nanotechnology, biophysics  
Type of work:
70% experimental, 20% modeling/simulation, 10% literature


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