Open Positions

CONSENSE will provide exceptional training to 15 ESRs, allowing them to develop professionally and perform world-class research that will fundamentally advance the field of continuous biomolecular monitoring for healthcare.

The training program educates ESRs with unique training topics from complementary research in science, technology, and industry, fosters important transferable skills, and provides unique insight into a network of large medical tech companies, clinical experts and leading pioneers in biomolecular switch engineering.

Browse the available ESR jobs below:

Host Institution: Max-Planck-Institute for Medical Research

Supervisor: Prof. Kai Johnsson

Project Description:

ESR4 will establish a platform for the selection of protein switches in which the analyte of interest induces  conformational changes. The tasks of this project consist of the development of suitable protein libraries for the generation of semisynthetic biosensors, automatization of the process of sensor generation and application of the platform to generate sensors against small molecule analytes.

Expected Results:

Development of specific ligand binding proteins and use of the developed technology for various diagnostic applications

Planned Secondments:

TU/e, Prins, M12, 2 months: Single-molecule biosensing technologies. 2) Hybr, Rain, M20, 4 months: Selection of nanobodies.

Essential Background: Biochemistry

Desirable Background: Chemical Biology

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Host Institution: Max-Planck-Institute for Medical Research

Supervisor: Prof. Kai Johnsson

Project Description:

The aim of the project for ESR5 is the identification of semi-synthetic biosensors compatible with the SPR technology or alternative readouts. The developed semi-synthetic biosensors will be applied to detect various small molecules.

Expected Results:

Development of semi-synthetic biosensors compatible with SPR or alternative readouts.

Planned Secondments:

1) TU/e, Zijlstra, M16, 4 months: Plasmonic detection. 2) FD, Lindhout, M23, 2 months: Development of Snifit-based assays.

Essential Background: Chemical Biology

Desirable Background: Biochemistry

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Host Institution: Eindhoven University of Technology

Supervisor: Prof. Menno Prins

Project Description:

The ESR will investigate biosensing concepts based on particle tracking, affinity probes, digital state switching, and single-molecule resolution. Molecular architectures with nanoswitches and aptamers will be studied for continuous monitoring of proteins and small molecules.

Expected Results:

Novel concepts to achieve sensitive continuous biomarker measurements in complex biological matrices.

Planned Secondments:

1) AU, Gothelf, M12, 4 months: Conjugated DNA nanostructure for competitive small-molecule sensing. 2) AG, Bunka, M18 2 months: Aptamer selection for conformational TPM biosensing.

Essential Background: engineering sciences and/or analytical sciences

Desirable Background: chemical engineering, physical engineering, biophysics, analytical chemistry

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Host Institution: Eindhoven University of Technology

Supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Peter Zijlstra and dr. K. Sergelen

Project Description:

The ESR will develop single-molecule and continuous biosensing principles based on plasmonic nanoparticles and optical detection methods. The project involves the design of the plasmonic sensor, particle biofunctionalization strategies, single-molecule microscopy, and signal processing.

Expected Results:

A single-molecule plasmon sensor that continuously monitors biomolecular interactions to provide a real-time probe for concentration fluctuations.

Planned Secondments:

1) EPFL, Altug, M12, 3 months: Surface tethering of gold nanoparticles and aptamers. 2) FOx, Delport, M20, 2 months: Kinetic analysis in SPR sensors.

Essential Background: optical microscopy, surface chemistry

Desirable Background: image processing, physical chemistry

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Host Institution: Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

Supervisor: Prof. Jeroen Lammertyn

Project Description:

The strategic objective of this project is to study and design a molecular switch based Fiber Optic SPR bioassay concept with 1) improved control over the bioreceptor layer by functionalizing the sensor surface with 2D DNA origami, 2) integrated innovative aptamer-based molecular switches and 3) demonstrated proof-of-concept for continuous monitoring with FO-SPR in biological fluids. This biosensing concept will be further developed for inflammatory markers in biological fluids (serum and blood) in collaboration with RUMC.

Expected Results:

1) Protocols to design modified 2D DNA origami and to coat FO-SPR sensor surfaces with 2D DNA origami for increased stability while introducing anchoring points with nanoscale precision;

2) Proof-of-concept molecular switching FO-SPR technology using aptamers as bioreceptors;

3) Specific inflammation monitoring in biological fluids and cell-based model system using aptamer based FO-SPR biosensing

Planned Secondments:

1) AU, Gothelf, M16, 4 months: DNA origami design, fabrication and characterisation. 2) Getinge, Wallin, M24, 2 months: Integration of continuous sensors in medical devices

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Host Institution: FOx Biosystems NV

Supervisor: Dr. Filip Delport

Project Description:

FOx Biosystems develops and sells instruments to quantify and characterize biomolecular interactions, using Fiber optic surface plasmon resonance (FO-SPR), for applications in biological research and healthcare. The technology is used both label free, e.g for kinetic binding characterization, and labelled with gold nanoparticles, for fast and sensitive quantification.

The goal of this project is to proof feasibility of CONSENSE technology towards continuous bioprocess monitoring and taking the next step by providing a proof-of-concept demonstrator at system level. Within the project a cell-based model system will be accessible with a dynamic behaviour. Realtime biological assays will be used to generate information on the biology of response dynamics.

In the project the ESR at FOx Biosystems will study the potential of a DNA nanoswitch concept (see e.g. ESR 12) on the FO-SPR platform for continuous protein monitoring. The ESR will:

1) Test an internal reference on the optical fiber to compensate for internal (e.g. light source fluctuations) and external perturbations (e.g. temperature fluctuations).

2) Build a demonstrator to integrate the sensor probe into the cell-based bioreactor product flow both for sample and optical interaction.

3) Modify a nanoswitch concept for detecting proteins in a relevant model case.

4) Generate the feasibility dataset on the entire biosensor system solution for its performance characteristics (stability, sensitivity, specificity, etc.) in a cell culture bioreactor production flow toward an ELISA benchmark.

Expected Results:

1) An improved FO-SPR biosensor with a self-referencing system validated in lab conditions.

2) Feasibility of optical + continuous sensing with an FO-SPR bio-assay for protein monitoring in buffer.

3) Conceptual designs and feasibility of demonstrator systems integrated in the bioprocess flow.

4) A proven self-referencing FO-SPR biosensor for continuous monitoring of proteins in a cell culture with a dose-response data of a model assay.

5) a PhD thesis supported by KU Leuven.

Planned Secondments:

1) TU/e, Merkx, M16, 4 months: Feasibility study of DNA based biosensing concept for antibody based bioassays. 2) Philips, Lieshout, M24, 2 months: Technology assessment for medical applications.

Essential Background: Candidates need to have a scientific background in e.g. chemistry, physics, biomedical engineering, bionanotechnology, or related disciplines.

Desirable Background: Candidates with optical and instrument experience is a plus. Furthermore a strong analytical and structured mindset with a can-do attitude are appreciated.

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