2 ERC-funded PhD positions to work on an exciting project!

In their natural environment, cells need to combine two seemingly contradicting tasks: they need to constantly change their shape, while remaining intact in the face of mechanical forces their often experience. How do they do this?

Both the mechanical resilience of cells and their ability to change their shape are based on the cytoskeleton. Aspects of stability and adaptability are reflected by microtubules and vimentin intermediate filaments, which have complementary properties: while microtubules are stiff and highly dynamic, vimentin filaments are soft, stretchable and not very dynamic (see Gan et al., Cell Systems, 2016 and Schaedel et al., Nature Communications 2021). The goal of the project is to investigate how these complementary filaments work together so that cells can balance robustness and adaptation – a question that is relevant to all biological systems, from subcellular structures to organisms.

To address this question, we have 2 openings for PhD students fully funded by a prestigious ERC grant. The successful applicants will benefit from our lab’s experience with diverse systems, from reconstituted in vitro systems based on purified proteins to cell-based asays. To study these systems, we use a variety of techniques, including surface micropatterning strategies, microfluidics, and advanced fluorescence microscopy.

Job requirements:

  • Completed university studies (M.Sc.) in biology, biophysics, biochemistry, or a related field.
  • Prior wet lab experience is essential.
  • Desirable experience in one or more of the following areas: in vitro reconstitution (cell-free assays, protein biochemistry), cell-based studies (cell culture, molecular biology), biophysics (rheology / network mechanics), micro-fabrication (photolithography, microfluidics, surface chemistry).


The successful candidates will become part of an international and multidisciplinary team in a creative working environment. Motivated candidates are encouraged to send their application including CV, cover letter, transcripts, and 1-2 contact details of references to laura.aradillazapata / at / The job posting will remain open until the positions are filled.

We always welcome PhD students and postdocs who are interested in applying for their own funding. We also have projects for Bachelor and Master students available. Please contact us: laura.aradillazapata [at]