KU Leuven
Postdoctoral Position Biochemistry - Chemical Biology - Genomics
KU Leuven
KU Leuven is an autonomous university. It was founded in 1425. It was born of and has grown within the Catholic tradition.
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Published: 11 days ago
Application deadline: Feb 15
Location: Leuven, Belgium
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Postdoctoral Position Biochemistry - Chemical Biology - Genomics

(ref. BAP-2017-712)

Hofkens’ group, the single molecule unit in the laboratory for photochemistry and spectroscopy (LPS), has long been active in the field of photochemistry and spectroscopy and has thus gained international recognition. LPS started to develop methodologies for studying ordered structures and their properties, including photophysical and/or photochemical processes, with a sub micron to molecular spatial resolution, fifteen years ago. Professor Hofkens and his team have been active in the field of single molecule spectroscopy for 10 years and the group is internationally recognized for their seminal contributions to the development of optical (single molecule) microscopy. The research group was also one of the first to realize that next-generation advances in imaging require the concerted optimization and improvement of not only the experimental hardware, but also the photophysics of the probes themselves, a finding that has become very clear with the new paradigm of ‘dynamic fluorescence’. This is especially obvious in the development of imaging modalities that make it possible to overcome the resolution limit in optical microscopy. To maintain its presence at the top of this research field, the LPS has introduced facilities that enable the engineering, expression, and characterization of switchable/ convertible fluorescent proteins using combined high- throughput and semi-rational approaches. The Hofkens group has recently developed a super-resolution DNA mapping technology, which complements sequencing and allows identification and quantification of genomic length DNA molecules at the single molecule level. The approach relies on enzymatic labelling of target DNA with fluorescent molecules in a sequence specific manner. Subsequent super-resolution fluorescence microscopy allows a 'barcode' of the genomic DNA to be created with unparalleled resolution. Further efforts are currently under way to extend the methodology allowing longer strands of DNA to be mapped, to create multi-color maps and/or to probe DNA methylation status. You will work in a fast paces and science-driven environment with the opportunity to interact with several internal and external groups. The applicant should be highly motivated and passionate in conducting research and associated laboratory tasks for projects and be able to work independently. Responsibilities include, design and execution of in vitro and cell-based experiments.


Contributing to various projects within the team byproposing novel and actionable ideas, aligned with internal and externalscientific strategies and demands. Activities will include:

  • Design and execution of chemical and enzymatic DNA labeling procedures
  • Exploration of new and existing bio-orthogonal labeling procedures
  • Stay up-to-date on literature related to his/her field in support of research and assay development
  • Demonstrate creative and analytical capabilities to interpret, troubleshoot and report on complex data. Basic statistical knowledge is mandatory
  • Analyze and document experimental data in laboratory notebooks and prepare protocols, study reports and publications as required, present scientific data to colleagues and assist in the preparation of internal and external presentations.
  • Strong communication skills and the ability to collaborate with internal stakeholders of all functions as well as external parties.

Your qualifications:

  • Ph.D. degree or equivalent in Biochemistry, Molecular biology, Chemical Biology, Genomics or related disciplines.
  • Hands on experience in molecular biology and biochemistry (PCR, electrophoresis, protein purification, …)
  • Hands on experience applying various mammalian tissue culture techniques (cloning, expansion, transfection, transduction …)
  • Knowledge on epigenetics
  • Experience in microscopy (Super-resolution, confocal, …) would be a major a plus
  • Experience with techniques such as CRISPR-CAS, FISH, …

Valued personal skills and competencies include but are not limited to:

  • Strong organisational skills including the ability to manage several projects simultaneously
  • Ability to adapt and adjust to changing priorities
  • Excellent interpersonal skills with the ability to interact in constructive and productive ways with junior team members, internal and external stakeholders
  • Enthusiastic and creative approach to solving scientific problems
  • Demonstrate a sense of urgency, be organized and adhere to timelines
  • Intellectually curious and up to speed the latest scientific advances in the field
  • Strong publication record
  • Detail-oriented, with excellent record-keeping skills
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills. Able to effectively present scientific data and concepts to international standards.

Suitable candidates will initially receive remuneration conforming to the official Belgian salary scale for post-doctoral fellows but will also be required to apply for external funding as to maximize resources at the Hofkens group. Current Senior staff will assist candidates in these efforts based on their extensive knowledge of the BE funding landscape.


For more information please contact Prof. dr. Johan Hofkens, tel.: +32 16 32 78 04, mail: johan.hofkens@kuleuven.be or Dr. Kris Janssen, tel.: +32 16 37 94 75, mail: kris.janssen@kuleuven.be.

You can apply for this job no later than February 15, 2018 via the online application tool

KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at diversiteit.HR@kuleuven.be.

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