Doctoral Position in Physics

Lund University

Doctoral Student in Physics with Focus on Biophysics and Characterization of Protein-Based Artificial Molecular Motors

Lund University, Faculty of Engineering, LTH, Department of Physics

Lund University was founded in 1666 and is repeatedly ranked among the world’s top 100 universities. The University has around 44 000 students and more than 8 000 staff based in Lund, Helsingborg and Malmö. We are united in our efforts to understand, explain and improve our world and the human condition.

LTH forms the Faculty of Engineering at Lund University, with approximately 9 000 students. The research carried out at LTH is of a high international standard and we are continuously developing our teaching methods and adapting our courses to current needs.

The Department of Physics is with a staff of about 350 scientists and educators one of the largest departments within Lund University. There are seven research divisions and a number of research centra within the department. The research activities at the department cover a broad spectrum of modern physics.

Solid State Physics

The research at the division of Solid State Physics within the physics department is focused around different aspects of semiconductor physics, ranging from materials science to quantum physics, and different applications. The division plays a major role in NanoLund, the major interdisciplinary research environment within nanoscience and nanotechnology at Lund University, and it hosts Lund Nano Lab, a central key facility for fabrication of material and devices on the nanoscale. The division is also heavily involved in the undergraduate education, especially within the “Engineering Nanoscience” program.

Research Area

A significant part of the research at the division is in the area of nano-biotechnology, where we develop new methods to investigate biological systems, and to use biomolecules in nanodevices. The department hosts the ERC Synergy Grant ArtMotor (PI Heiner Linke), which aims at designing and building functional, synthetic protein motors, and to detect their movements along a DNA-track. As a first step, the partners will construct relatively simple protein motors that will require external control in the fluid to achieve motility. The final goal is to construct, step by step, an autonomous protein motor capable of transducing energy from ATP to move along a track.

More information can be found at:,,,

Work duties

The PhD project’s focus will be to develop and improve, based on fundamental biophysical principles, solutions to detect and control nanoscaled stepwise movements of passive motor-types. The long-term goal is to research motility of autonomous, ATP-driven motor types. The molecules are artificial protein motors and will be provided by the collaboration partners Birte Höcker (University of Bayreuth, Germany) and Paul Curmi (UNSW, Sydney, Australia).

Thus, the project tasks are to

  • 1) Develop a fluorescence-based method to detect individual steps of motors at nm-scale precision,
  • 2) Use this to optimize and characterize the motor while it moves along a defined DNA track.

Methods may include bioanalytical and biochemical methods, fluorescence microscopy, TIRF, microfluidics, surface modification, nanofabrication, and image analysis.

The PhD position is in the research groups of Prof. Heiner Linke at the department of solid state physics and Assoc. Prof. Peter Jönsson at the department of physical chemistry, both at Lund University. Prof. Linke has long-term experience in the development of molecular motors and is a PI in the ArtMotor project in the frame of which the PhD project is located. Assoc. Prof. Peter Jönsson is an expert in high-resolution fluorescence microscopy and single molecule studies. The PhD project will also be done in close collaboration with the other ArtMotor partners Birte Höcker (University of Bayreuth, Germany) and Paul Curmi (UNSW, Sydney, Australia) and research visits to one or both of the collaborator’s groups can be part of the project.

The PhD student is expected to work independently as well as in close collaboration with the other partners in the project.

The main duties of doctoral students are to devote themselves to their research studies which includes participating in research projects and third cycle courses. The work duties can also include teaching and other departmental duties (no more than 20%).

Admission requirements

A person meets the general admission requirements for third-cycle courses and study programmes if he or she:

  • has been awarded a second-cycle qualification, or
  • has satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits of which at least 60 credits were awarded in the second cycle, or
  • has acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad.

A person meets the specific admission requirements for third-cycle studies in Physics if he or she has:

  • at least 30 second-cycle credits of relevance to the subject, of which at least 15 credits shall comprise a second-cycle degree project, or
  • an MSc in engineering physics or an associated field, or a Master’s degree in physics or an associated field.

Additional requirements

  • Very good oral and written proficiency in English.

Basis of assessment

Selection to postgraduate studies is based on the expected ability to perform well in the studies. The evaluation of the ability to perform well is based primarily on the results of studies at the basic and advanced levels, in particular:

  1. Knowledge and skills relevant to the thesis project and the subject of the study, see description of work duties above. These can be shown through attached documents.
  2. An assessment of ability to work independently and to formulate and tackle research problems. The assessment can, for example, be based on the degree project and a discussion about this in a possible interview.
  3. Written and oral communication skills
  4. Other experience relevant to postgraduate studies, such as professional experience.

Other assessment criteria

  • Being able to quickly assimilate new techniques and knowledge is an advantage.
  • We expect that your undergraduate studies include courses in physics and biophysics. The research is to a large extent interdisciplinary, and a broad competence profile and experience from relevant areas of physics, biology and micro/nanoscience is of high value.
  • Laboratory work skills are essential, specifically experience in biochemical and molecular biological methods as well as working with optical microscopy and microfluidics.
  • Experience with image analysis is also meriting.

Consideration will also be given to good collaborative skills, drive and independence, and how the applicant, through his or her experience and skills, is deemed to have the abilities necessary for successfully completing the third cycle programme.

Terms of employment

Only those admitted to third cycle studies may be appointed to a doctoral studentship. Third cycle studies at LTH consist of full-time studies for 4 years. A doctoral studentship is a fixed-term employment of a maximum of 5 years (including 20% departmental duties). Doctoral studentships are regulated in the Higher Education Ordinance (1993:100), chapter 5, 1-7 §§.

Instructions on how to apply

Applications must be written in English and include a cover letter stating the reasons why you are interested in the position and in what way the research project corresponds to your interests and educational background. The application must also contain a CV, degree certificate or equivalent, and other documents you wish to be considered (grade transcripts, contact information for your references, letters of recommendation, etc.).

The applicant is also required to answer the job specific questions when submitting the application.

The English version of this announcement is an interpretation of national formalities expressed in the Swedish text. In case of uncertainties, the Swedish text applies.

Lund University welcomes applicants with diverse backgrounds and experiences. We regard gender equality and diversity as a strength and an asset. We kindly decline all sales and marketing contacts.

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Type of employment Temporary position longer than 6 months
First day of employment Accordning to agreement
Salary Monthly salary
Number of positions 1
Working hours 100
City Lund
County Skåne län
Country Sweden
Reference number PA2021/1638
Professor Heiner Linke, +46462224245,
Gerda Rentschler, Project manager, +46462223776,
Union representative
OFR/ST:Fackförbundet ST:s kansli, 046-222 93 62
SACO:Saco-s-rådet vid Lunds universitet, 046-222 93 64
SEKO: Seko Civil, 046-222 93 66
Published 26.May.2021
Last application date 23.Jun.2021 11:59 PM CET