ESR7: Molecular sensors for calcium ion detection at lipid membranes via TTA-upconversion

at Leiden University /The Netherlands
Leiden Institute of Chemistry
Dr. Sylvestre Bonnet (

Candidates with a background in synthesis, photochemistry, sensing, and/or bioinorganic chemistry, are invited to apply for a PhD position in the department of Metals in Catalysis, Biomimetics, and Inorganic Materials (MCBIM, sub-group Dr. Sylvestre Bonnet) at Leiden Institute of Chemistry (Leiden University, The Netherlands).

The aim of the doctoral project is to develop an upconversion sensing platform based on liposomes for the detection of calcium ions. The candidate will synthesize blue-emitting amphiphilic molecules that can bind to lipid bilayers and to calcium ions. Insertion of these molecules in liposomes, together with triplet sensitizers, will provide upconverting liposomes that can detect the presence of calcium ions in biological fluids surrounding the membrane. The sensitivity of such supramolecular logic sensors for Ca2+ ions to the presence of dioxygen and antioxidants, will be evaluated.

Secondments: time-resolved spectroscopy studies (3 months at Leibniz IPHT/Germany), and quantum chemical calculation of photoexcited states (2 months at the company SciClus/Germany).

Requirements: Master/Engineering degree in Chemistry. Good knowledge and interest in both synthetic and physical-chemical work. Proven competence in the field of synthesis, spectroscopy, or bioinorganic chemistry, is required. Knowledge in the field of (bio)chemical sensing and quantum chemistry are great assets.
Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups.

Planned start date: 1st April 2019

Application deadline: 31st January 2019

For more information and how to apply click here.

Contact: Applications should be addressed to Dr. Sylvestre Bonnet and sent at with the subject “application LOGICLAB”. Informal enquiries may be addressed to Dr. Sylvestre Bonnet at