Unraveling radiation damage of microsolvated biomolecules

Applications are invited for a PhD fellowship/scholarship at Graduate School of Science and Technology, Aarhus University, Denmark, within the Physics and Astronomy programme. The position is available from 1 July 2019 or later.


Title:
Unraveling radiation damage of microsolvated biomolecules


Research area and project description:
Living organisms are constantly exposed to radiation, which is both beneficial and detrimental. Irradiation of living tissue with energetic, ionizing radiation (extreme UV, x-rays, radioactive radiation) can induce various types of cell damage, most importantly ruptures within the genome (DNA) causing cancer or cell death. The goal of this project is to unravel how radiation damage occurs on the molecular scale – and how we may control it for targeted cell protection or destruction, e.g. for cancer treatment. Using synchrotron radiation, we will probe isolated biomolecules and specifically designed complexes thereof with regard to their response to ionizing radiation (ultraviolet up to x-ray).

In particular, irreparable radiation damage of DNA is mainly caused by secondary species instead of the primary radiation. The most abundant secondary species are slow electrons (0-20 eV) created by non-local autoionization processes involving two or more neighboring molecules, e.g. water surrounding the biomolecule. These processes, called intermolecular Coulombic decay (ICD) and electron transfer mediated decay (ETMD), rely on the ultrafast transfer of energy or charge from one weakly bound molecule to another one nearby. These processes will be studied in a bottom-up approach by synthesizing isolated biomolecules and tailored complexes thereof inside superfluid helium nanodroplets and water clusters.

In this PhD project, detailed insight into the ionization dynamics is obtained by detecting emitted electrons, ions, and photons when the complexes are irradiated by extreme UV radiation generated by synchrotrons and free-electron lasers. To this end, an existing cluster beams apparatus will be extended and commissioned, and experiments will be carried out at the local synchrotron facility ASTRID2 and at external facilities such as Elettra Sincrotrone Trieste, Italy. The project starts at the earliest on 1 July 2019.

Further information can be found on: http://phys.au.dk/forskning/forskningsomraader/cluster-dynamics-group/


Qualifications and specific competences:
Working experience in at least one of the following fields is desirable: Vacuum technology, electron spectroscopy, ion detection, synchrotron radiation, femtosecond and/or free-electron lasers, data acquisition, data analysis using Matlab, Python or similar.


Place of Employment and Place of Work:
Department of Physics and Astronomy, Aarhus University; the experimental work may involve 1-2 weeks stays at international research facilities (Elettra, Trieste, Italy; DESY, Hamburg, Germany)


Contacts:
Applicants seeking further information are invited to contact: Marcel Mudrich (mudrich@phys.au.dk)


Application procedures


Before you apply

Information and attachments:

Please be aware that you must have all relevant appendices, attachments, addresses for referees, etc. ready when you apply, as the entire application must be uploaded to the system in one go.

Documentation of language skills:

The English language requirement at GSST is comparable to an “English B level” in the Danish upper secondary school (“gymnasium”).

English language qualifications comparable to an “English B level” are documented by one of the following tests:

  • TOEFL test, minimum score: 560 (paper-based test) or 83 (internet-based test). The paper-based test must have a “total score”. From the August 2019 call, GSST will no longer accept the paper-based test.
    Aarhus University does not accept the TOEFL ITP test. Aarhus University’s TOEFL code is 8935. Ask the test centre to send your test results to Aarhus University, in order to enable verification of your test results.
  • IELTS (academic) test, minimum average score: 6.5 points
  • Cambridge English Language Assessment:
    Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency (CPE)
    Cambridge English: Certificate of Advanced English with grade A,B or C (CAE)
    Cambridge English: First Certificate  with grade A (FCE)

When to take the test and how to upload the documentation:
The test result must not be more than two years old at the time of application.

The English language test should be taken before applying for admission and uploaded under “language skills documentation” in the online application form.

It is possible to apply for admission before you have taken the test. In this case documentation stating that you have signed up for a test (please state expected submission date) must be uploaded. If the test result is not part of the original application the test result is to be sent to sphd@psys.au.dk no later than one month after the application deadline.

The following applicants are exempted from documenting their English qualifications/taking a test:

  • Applicants with citizenship from the following countries: Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States, or one of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway or Sweden).
  • Applicants with a Bachelor’s or Master’s programme completed in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, or the United States. In this case, please upload your Bachelor’s or Master’s diploma under the section ”Language skills documentation”.
  • Applicants with a Bachelor’s or Master’s programme completed at Aarhus University for which the requirement was English B level at the time of admission. In this case, please upload your Bachelor’s or Master’s diploma under the section” Language skills documentation”.

The programme committee may request further information or invite the applicant to attend an interview.

How to apply:

1)      Find the application form:
Go to www.phd.scitech.au.dk/for-applicants/apply-here 
Choose February 2019 Call with deadline 1 February 2019 at 11.59 PM MET.
You will be directed to the call, and must choose the programme 'Physics and Astronomy'

2)      Fill in the following information:

  • Personal information
  • Academic background
  • Admission
  • Financing (if any)
  • Study: In the dropdown menu you must choose the project: "Unraveling radiation damage of microsolvated biomolecules"
  • Source (how you found out about the call)

Next to some of the information fields you will find a number. Click on the number to get further directions on how to fill in the information field/what information is needed.

3)      Application attachments:
Please be aware that you cannot submit the application if one or several of these documents have not been uploaded.

If you wish to upload more than one document under each section, you must scan/merge all documents into one large PDF file and upload this. Please note that we reserve the right to remove scientific papers, large reports, theses and the like. Instead you can indicate a URL where the information is available.

Please note that all information in the application must be in Danish or English.

As a minimum all applications must include (pdf-files only, max. 20 MB, no zip):

  • One reference (template for references)
  • Curriculum vitae,
  • Motivation (max. 1 page)
  • Transcripts and diploma(s)
  • Project description (½-4 pages). For technical reasons, you must upload a project description. When - as here - you apply for a specific project, please simply copy the project description above, and upload it as a PDF in the application. If you wish to, you can indicate an URL where further information can be found. Please note that we reserve the right to remove scientific papers, large reports, theses and the like.
  • Documentation of language skills if required.

After submission of the application, you will receive a confirmation e-mail with an application ID, you should use for reference if needed. The e-mail will also include a link to the application – GSST urges you to check that all mandatory data, marked with an asterisk (*), is registered correctly and all attached files are readable. If there are any significant errors, you should reply to the confirmation e-mail with the correct details before the application deadline.

GSST reserves the right to verify the authenticity of your educational diploma and transcripts:

  • Request additional information to verify an application.
  • Reject the application if it is proven, or if the University has reasonable belief, that the information provided is false or if the applicant refuses to provide the requested information, whether or not an offer has already been made. 
  • For further information on applying, assessment procedures, etc. please see the GSST application guide here.  

Please note:

  • The programme committee may request further information or invite the applicant to attend an interview.

All interested candidates are encouraged to apply, regardless of their personal background.

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