Two postdoctoral research positions in structural and biophysical characterization of the human complement system (1.0 FTE)

Hours per week: 
38 to 40
Faculty of Science
Department of Chemistry, Crystal and Structural Chemistry
Application deadline: 

Job description

The Gros lab at the Bijvoet Centre for Biomolecular studies is currently seeking two post-doctoral researchers to strengthen our team. The Gros lab studies biomolecular recognition and regulation processes in the area of infection and immunity. The lab has an internationally strong reputation in uncovering the molecular mechanisms that underpin the complement system. We combine protein crystallography, cryo-electron microscopy, light microscopy, biochemical and biophysical assays to get a detailed picture of the molecular interactions that enable the complement system to discriminate between healthy self-cells and pathogens or dying/malignant cells. The goal of the current projects is to understand how the molecular mechanisms of complement attack and defence on cell membranes determines whether a cell is destined for clearance or not. These are challenging projects that involve several large, flexible, sometimes transient, protein complexes that work in tandem to achieve an adequate native immune response to invading microbes and altered-self, whilst avoiding bystander damage to host cells. The group offers a highly collaborative environment where candidates will have ample opportunity to continue developing their skills to further their careers.

Project one is an ERC funded project on biophysical and structural aspects of the human complement system and will address the role of the various B-cell receptors in the equilibrium between complement attack and defence.

Project two is funded through the Institute for chemical Immunity (NWO-Zwaartekracht) and focusses on the role of tetraspanins in host-cell protection for complement-dependent cytotoxicity (CDC).


We are looking for motivated and skilled candidates that enjoy working in a highly collaborative environment. The projects are quite challenging so we would like for you to be flexible, adaptive and have a keen interest to learn. Furthermore, you have shown to be able to overcome hurdles/challenges in your previous projects.

To excel in this role, you have:

  • a PhD in structural biology, biochemistry, membrane biophysics or a related discipline;
  • a proven interest in structural biology preferably in relation to membrane proteins;
  • experience in reconstituted protein/membrane systems and/or biophysical analysis of protein interactions;
  • experience with spectroscopic methods such as fluorescent scanning-disc confocal microscopy, PALM, or related methods (considered a strong plus).


  • the chance to become part of a dynamic, multidisciplinary team with a positive and open work ethic;
  • a full-time gross salary depending on previous qualifications and experience ranging between €2,790 and €4,402 per month (scale 10 of the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities (cao));
  • benefits including 8% holiday bonus and 8.3% end-of-year bonus;
  • a pension scheme, partially paid parental leave, and flexible employment conditions based on the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities.

In addition to the employment conditions laid down in the cao for Dutch Universities, Utrecht University has a number of its own arrangements. For example, there are agreements on professional development, leave arrangements and sports. We also give you the opportunity to expand your terms of employment yourself via the Employment Conditions Selection Model. This is how we like to encourage you to continue to grow.

More information about working at the Faculty of Science can be found here.

About the organisation

The Crystal and Structural Chemistry group of Piet Gros shares lab space and facilities with the Cryo-EM group led by Friedrich Förster. Having the two groups together with joint work discussions, coffee breaks etc. creates a stimulating environment where people get the opportunity to get the most out of their projects and themselves.

The groups are part of the Bijvoet Centre for Biomolecular Research at Utrecht University, and offer a collaborative environment and state-of-the-art infrastructure (e.g. cryo-EM, MS, X-ray, NMR, light microscopy (incl. PALM/STORM/SDCM), protein and membrane biochemistry). Cryo-EM microscopes are available at the Utrecht EM-square and national facility NeCEN.

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 which work together to focus on answering some of humanity’s most pressing problems. More fundamental still are the individual research groups – the building blocks of our ambitious scientific projects.

Utrecht University is a friendly and ambitious university at the heart of an ancient city. We love to welcome new scientists to our city – a thriving cultural hub that is consistently rated as one of the world’s happiest cities. We are renowned for our innovative interdisciplinary research and our emphasis on inspirational research and excellent education. We are equally well-known for our familiar atmosphere and the can-do mentality of our people. This lively and inspiring academic environment attracts professors, researchers and PhD candidates from all over the globe, making both the University and the Faculty of Science a vibrant international community and wonderfully diverse.

Additional information

If you have any questions that you’d like us to answer, please contact Piet Gros via or Harma Brondijk via

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


Everyone deserves to feel at home at our university. We welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives. If you have the expertise and the experience to excel in this role, then simply respond via the “Apply now” button and add for which project you would like to apply.

Please enclose:

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

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

Please note: Due to the current situation regarding the Corona virus (COVID-19) the process of selection and interviews is subject to change. Initial interviews will most likely be conducted online.

Some connections are fundamental – Be one of them

The application deadline is 6 September 2020.