Postdoc Position: Molecular Mechanisms of Protein Biogenesis

Faculty of Science
Department of Chemistry
Hours per week: 
36 to 40
Application deadline: 

Are you curious about how cells produce functional proteins? Do you want to push the envelope of applying single-molecule techniques to complex macromolecular systems? Join our single-molecule lab to study co-translational folding and chaperone function.

Your job

We are working at the interface of biochemistry, molecular biology and biophysics to follow the journey of nascent proteins toward their functional structures as they emerge from the ribosome. These mechanistic studies pave the way for targeted interventions against protein misfolding and perturbed protein homeostasis which are important for a number of aging-related diseases, including neurodegeneration, and several forms of cancer.

The research group of Professor Christian Kaiser, which just relocated from Johns Hopkins University to Utrecht, has established single-molecule optical tweezers assays for probing nascent protein folding on the ribosome. These studies have shown how the ribosome and molecular chaperones counter misfolding and help large, multi-domain proteins attain their functional structures. The group is now combining mechanical manipulation with single-molecule fluorescence detection. These in vitro studies are complemented by cellular assays. Collectively, the work is revealing fundamental principles of cellular protein biogenesis.

As a postdoc in our group, you will:

  • join a collaborative group working on projects around protein synthesis and folding;
  • work in a stimulating scientific environment with top-notch instrumentation and infrastructure;
  • master the use of optical tweezers with single-molecule fluorescence detection;
  • utilise modern biochemical and molecular biology approaches for sample preparation;
  • lead your own project around protein translation, molecular chaperone function and protein folding;
  • collect, analyse and interpret single-molecule data and prepare your results for publications and presentations at national and international scientific meetings.

The position is embedded in the research group of Professor Christian Kaiser at the Bijvoet Centre for Biomolecular Research with state-of-the-art facilities, including brand-new molecular biology/biochemistry equipment and single-molecule instrumentation.

Your qualities

We are looking for enthusiastic, highly motivated experimentalists who are eager to participate in our research.

Ideally, you meet several or all of the following criteria:

  • a PhD degree in an experimental field related to Molecular Biology, Biochemistry or Biophysics (required);
  • a strong track record from your PhD degree studies, documented by your publications;
  • a passion for research in biochemistry or biophysics;
  • molecular biology and biochemistry skills;
  • experience with biophysical techniques, preferably using single-molecule approaches;
  • an inclination toward quantitative analyses;
  • good communication skills and an interest in working with people from different backgrounds.

We foster diversity and encourage applications from female candidates.

Our offer

We offer:

  • a world class academic environment where English is the main language;
  • a supportive environment with a commitment to academic development and maintaining a healthy work-life balance;
  • mentoring that emphasises personal, professional and scientific growth;
  • a position for three years; 
  • a fulltime working week and a gross monthly salary between €3,226 and €5,090 in the case of full-time employment (salary scale 10 under the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO NU); 
  • 8% holiday pay and 8.3% year-end bonus; 
  • a pension scheme, partially paid parental leave and flexible terms of employment based on the CAO NU. 

In addition to the terms of employment laid down in the CAO NU, Utrecht University has a number of schemes and facilities of its own for employees. This includes schemes facilitating professional development, leave schemes and schemes for sports and cultural activities, as well as discounts on software and other IT products. We also offer access to additional employee benefits through our Terms of Employment Options Model. In this way, we encourage our employees to continue to invest in their growth. For more information, please visit Working at Utrecht University.

About us

A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major strategic themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Pathways to Sustainability. Sharing science, shaping tomorrow.

At the Faculty of Science there are 6 departments to make a fundamental connection with: Biology, Chemistry, Information and Computing Sciences, Mathematics, Pharmaceutical Sciences and Physics. Each of these is made up of distinct institutes that work together to focus on answering some of humanity’s most pressing challenges. More fundamental still are the individual research groups – the building blocks of our ambitious scientific projects.

The Bijvoet Centre for Biomolecular Research coordinates the Molecular Life Sciences PhD programme and offers regular seminars by scientists from all over the world, access to advanced courses for PhD candidates and regular PhD evenings for PhD candidates and postdocs to present their work and enhance social cohesion within the Bijvoet Centre. The Bijvoet Centre comprises six research sections that form a collaborative environment focusing on elucidating the structure of the biomolecules that make up all living organisms. These sections cover multiple areas of contemporary protein research, including mass spectrometry, NMR spectroscopy and structural biology/cryogenic electron microscopy. In addition, The Bijvoet Centre has a state-of-the-art Protein Research Centre that is equipped for protein production, purification and analysis.

More information

If you have any questions that you’d like us to answer, please contact Dr Christian Kaiser at

Do you have a question about the application procedure? Please send an email to

Apply now

As Utrecht University, we want to be a home for everyone. We value staff with diverse backgrounds, perspectives and identities, including cultural, religious or ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation, disability or age. We strive to create a safe and inclusive environment in which everyone can flourish and contribute.

If you are enthusiastic about this position, just apply via the 'apply now' button! Please enclose:

  • your letter of motivation;
  • your curriculum vitae;
  • the names, telephone numbers, and email addresses of at least two referees.

If this specific opportunity isn’t for you, but you know someone else who may be interested, please forward this vacancy to them.

The application deadline is 27 June 2024.