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Postdoc Structural Biology of the Neuronal Synapse

Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

Delft, Netherlands
Posted on Tuesday, October 31, 2023


Challenge: Visualizing the neuronal synapse at the nanoscale.

Change: Using patient-derived sequencing data to construct a neurodegenerating synapse.

Impact: Contributing to a nanoscale model of degenerative brain diseases.


Job description

Neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and other dementia's severely affect the lives of patients and their loved ones. To develop future treatments, gaining an in-depth understanding of (dys)functional synapses is crucial. As a postdoc at TU Delft you will take the lead in the development of a simple biophysical model of synapses at nanoscale. This bottom-up model will help identify the mechanisms of synapse formation in healthy and diseased neurons. Would you like to conduct fundamental research at the interface between biology, chemistry and biophysics?


To develop the synapse model using a bottom-up approach, you will reconstruct macro-molecular protein complexes in situ, study them with our state-of-the-art light and cryo-electron microscopes, and reveal novel structure-function relationships. You will also tackle the technical challenges related to the sample prep and cryo-EM/cryo-ET. In this project you will work closely with neurologists of Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam, who will provide us with clinical data that you can embed in your model. Within the scope of our roadmap, you will be encouraged to develop your own vision to set up your own line of research for your future career step.


You will be joining the Structural Neurobiology team, an international group of academic students and staff. Our team fosters an open, collaborative, and reflective environment, where we embrace different perspectives in order to ensure high-quality research. We share a common goal to advance the field of neuroscience by overcoming scientific and technical challenges. As part of this role, you will have the opportunity to supervise and mentor PhD, Master’s and Bachelor’s students, while receiving support and training to further develop your own academic career. See for more information on our group:



You have a background in structural biology and share our fascination with molecular interactions that underlie life. Harnessing your communication skills, you persuade, motivate and mentor individuals from diverse backgrounds, ranging from students to neurologists, to achieve meaningful results. You have a keen eye for details, yet maintain focus on the big picture. Recognising the importance of collaboration, you are a true teamplayer. While, as an independent researcher, you possess the skills necessary to develop your own research project to completion.

You also have:

  • A PhD in structural biology, single molecular biophysics, or a related subject.
  • Experience of, or a keen interest in Cryo-EM/Cryo-ET.
  • A good command of English, as you will be working in an international, ambitious and collaborative environment.



We offer an appointment as a postdoc for a period of 3 years. Remuneration will be according to the scales set by the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO NU), and will range from € 2.960,- per month to € 4.670,- per month (gross amounts, in case of fulltime employment). Applicants should have the right to work in the Netherlands for the duration of the contract. Fulltime is considered to be 38 hours per week.


TU Delft

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context. At TU Delft we embrace diversity and aim to be as inclusive as possible (see our Code of Conduct). Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale.

Challenge. Change. Impact! 



Faculty of Applied Sciences

With more than 1,000 employees, including 135 pioneering principal investigators, as well as a population of about 3,400 passionate students, the Faculty of Applied Sciences is an inspiring scientific ecosystem. Focusing on key enabling technologies, such as quantum- and nanotechnology, photonics, biotechnology, synthetic biology and materials for energy storage and conversion, our faculty aims to provide solutions to important problems of the 21st century. To that end, we train students in broad Bachelor's and specialist Master's programmes with a strong research component. Our scientists conduct ground-breaking fundamental and applied research in the fields of Life and Health Science & Technology, Nanoscience, Chemical Engineering, Radiation Science & Technology, and Engineering Physics. We are also training the next generation of high school teachers and science communicators.

Click hereto go to the website of the Faculty of Applied Sciences.


Department Bionanoscience

The Department of Bionanoscience focuses on the fundamental understanding of biological processes, from the level of single molecules to the full complexity of living cells. This research provides fascinating insight in the molecular mechanisms that lead to cellular function. Furthermore it enables the in vitro bottom-up construction of cellular machinery and it impacts applications ranging from biomolecular diagnostics to novel antibiotics and targeted nanomedicine. The department features a strongly multidisciplinary and international team of scientists, whose research areas include single-molecule biophysics, synthetic biology, as well as (quantitative) cell biology.


Additional information

For more information about this vacancy, please contact Dr. Dimphna Meijer, Principal Investigator, e-mail:    



Are you interested in this vacancy? Please apply before 1st of December 2023 via the application button and upload the following information in English (pdf format only):

  1. Letter of motivation (generic letters will be disregarded),
  2. Detailed CV with publication list,
  3. Three names of potential references.