PhD/Post-doc positions on Building a Synthetic Cell and Membrane Biology - Molecular Dynamics

Job description

Prof. Siewert-Jan Marrink, Molecular Dynamics ( on the Martini force field and associated tools, we are currently at a stage where we can simulate the dynamics of entire cells and cellular organelles at near-atomic resolution. We aim to construct realistic models of minimal cells as well as mitochondria in order to obtain insight in their molecular level organization. Alongside, we will develop improved Martini models for the constituents, as well as efficient tools to facilitate the workflow of simulating such complex systems.

Example and founding work: doi:10.1002/wcms.1620Application link:


  • the most important criteria are enthusiasm, excellence, commitment to research and team spirit. Educational background preferably in the area of bioengineering, biochemistry, biophysics, multiscale modeling, systems biology or synthetic biology (see Job descriptions)
  • candidates for a PhD position need to have completed a European Master’s degree or equivalent prior to the application deadline. Post doc candidates need to have completed their PhD
  • excellent proficiency in English language.


The University of Groningen provides an excellent environment for top-notch research in the field of biomolecular sciences. In the framework of a national program on the construction of a synthetic cell, seven PhD/Post-doc positions are available at the Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute of the University of Groningen in The Netherlands.

The building of a synthetic cell is a great scientific and intellectual challenge for biophysicists, biochemists, and biologists. We aim to take on this challenge in the context of the NWO Gravitation Program BaSyC ( and personal funding programs (ERC). We will combine biomolecular building blocks to create an autonomous self-reproducing cell – a synthetic cell that can sustain itself, grow, replicate and divide.

Seven PhD and Post-doc positions are available for both computational and experimental research: (i) to develop computational models at different levels of complexity with the aim to generate a feasible design of the synthetic cell; (ii) to experimentally reconstruct metabolism for cell fuelling and biosynthesis, with the ability to produce energy carriers and molecular building blocks; (iii) to build pathways that are responsible for the biosynthesis of lipids and macromolecules and integrate these pathways into a synthetic cell, (iv) to design proteins de novo that control the molecular transport across protocell membranes, also including the development of nanopores for diverse applications.

Conditions of employment

We offer you in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities:

  • for the PhD position: a salary of € 2,541 gross per month in the first year, up to a maximum of € 3,247 gross per month (based on fulltime employment) in the fourth and final year. The successful candidate will first be offered a temporary position of one year with the option of renewal for another three years. Prolongation of the contract is contingent on sufficient progress in the first year to indicate that successful completion of the PhD thesis within the next three years is to be expected. A PhD training program is part of the agreement and the successful candidate will be enrolled in the Graduate School of Science and Engineering
  • for the postdoc position: a temporary appointment of three years and a salary from a minimum of € 3,557 gross per month up to a maximum of € 4,670 gross per month (salary scale 10) based on a full-time position and dependent on qualification and work experience
  • a full-time position (1.0 FTE)
  • a holiday allowance of 8% gross annual income
  • an 8.3% end-of-year bonus and participation in a pension scheme for employees.

Starting date: early 2023


Please send us a complete application with the below-mentioned supporting documents:

  • a cover letter with background and motivation to apply for this position (1-2 pages)
  • a curriculum vitae including a brief description of your research interests and accomplishments
  • two letters of recommendation from former advisors/professors.

You may apply for this position until 30 January 11:59pm / before 31 January 2023 Dutch local time (CET) by means of the application form (click on “Apply” below on the advertisement on the university website).

The University of Groningen strives to be a university in which students and staff are respected and feel at home, regardless of differences in background, experiences, perspectives, and identities. We believe that working on our core values of inclusion and equality are a joint responsibility and we are constructively working on creating a socially safe environment. Diversity among students and staff members enriches academic debate and contributes to the quality of our teaching and research. We therefore invite applicants from underrepresented groups in particular to apply. For more information, see also our diversity policy webpage:…)rsity-and-inclusion/

Our selection procedure follows the guidelines of the Recruitment code (NVP): and European Commission’s European Code of Conduct for recruitment of researchers:

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For information you can contact:

  • Please contact the contact person that is mentioned in each job description,

Please do not use the e-mail address(es) above for applications.

Additional information