ESR position 5 – Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing

Fluorescent imprinted receptors for phosphopeptides and glycans based on various core/shell particle architectures

Host Institute

Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM), Berlin

Host Country


Start date

During the period February 1st 2017 – May 1st 2017

The candidate will be employed at the Chemical and Optical Sensing Division, headed by Knut Rurack, in the Department Analytical Chemistry; Reference Materials at the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM), Berlin and will be enrolled at Humboldt University Berlin.

Project description

A major challenge in the war against cancer is to find ways to diagnose and treat the disease at an early stage where the cancer is still curable. This calls for sensitive and effective diagnostic tools that can sense the cellular state early in the process.  In this project you will develop fluorescent protein or peptide capture agents to be used as sensors for protein posttranslational modifications (phosphorylations or glycosylations) or for specific proteinaceous cancer biomarkers.

You will join the Chemical and Optical Sensing Division at BAM to develop molecularly imprinted polymer (MIP) probes with fluorescent reporter groups detecting the presence of the target compounds. Fluorescent monomers will be introduced in thin MIP shells on particle supports for obtaining fluorescent sensors for the targets. Your task includes synthetic organic and polymer chemistry as well as MIP probe characterization with the many different tools available at BAM. In close connection with ESR6 you will design the respective assays and optimize the MIP probes for application on real samples. We expect your work to result in unique affinity probes suitable for biomarker detection in modification specific proteomics.

The project will include secondments to Lund University (Sweden) – µ-analytical systems; Malmö University (Sweden) – molecular imprinting technology; Linneaus University (Sweden) and Pavia University (Italy) – theoretical modeling and characterization, Cancer Research UK Manchester (UK), Proteome Sciences, London (UK) –biomarker assays; University of Copenhagen (Denmark) – glycomics.  The secondments will allow you to work with and oversee the implementation of the materials and to gain insight into academic and industrial work environments.

Apart from carrying out research within these areas the applicant is expected to supervise students at the BSc or MSc level. Conducting your research at BAM entails working in a metrological context, being able to witness the entire production chain from fundamental research to validated technology transfer. Within the long-established bonds between BAM and Humboldt University Berlin (HUB), e.g., manifested in the Graduate School SALSA (School of Analytical Sciences Adlershof), funded by the German Government’s Excellence Initiative, the candidate will be expected to graduate with a PhD from HUB in Chemistry, the university awarding doctoral certificates in the Natural Sciences.

Group description

The Chemical and Optical Sensing Division at BAM develops chemical sensors, microfluidic systems as well as optical and mass-spectrometric methods. Our research focuses on the sensitive and selective detection of organic, inorganic and biochemical species. Relying on fundamental theoretical as well as applied experimental knowledge, we integrate chemical particle- or thin film-based probes with miniaturized or hyphenated instrumentation, utilizing diverse techniques such as fluorescence, Raman, laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy or atmospheric pressure mass spectrometry for indication and quantification.

The Division is located at BAM’s Campus in Berlin-Adlershof, which itself is part of the City of Science, Technology and Media, comprising of ten non-university research institutes, six Natural Sciences Departments of Humboldt University and ca. 1,000 SMEs with more than 20,000 people working and studying there. Four of the six major research and production foci in the area match well with different aspects of the BioCapture project, i.e., photonics and optics, microsystems and materials, biotechnology and environment and analytics. The Division is well integrated into this research, development and application network.

Institute description

The mission of the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM) is to deploy technology in a safe and environmentally friendly way. Our research, testing, approval and regulation activities are intended to promote safety in engineering and chemistry. As a higher federal authority and departmental research institution of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi), with 1700 employees, we have national and international responsibilities, cooperate with universities and non-university research institutions and support young academics. With its headquarters and three branch offices, BAM is based in Germany’s capital Berlin.

Ideal candidate

The successful candidate will have a masters’ degree (or equivalent) in chemistry preferably organic chemistry, polymer chemistry, biochemistry or analytical chemistry. Experimental laboratory experience is required and candidates with experience directly related to the research topic of the position outlined above will be given preference.

Working conditions and benefits

The candidate will become an employee of BAM and receive a competitive monthly gross salary in accordance with the EC Marie Sklodowska-Curie rules. The contract period will last for 3 years.


For more information on this position, contact the hiring party: Dr. Knut Rurack

Phone: +49-30-8104 1190

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