ETH Zürich

PhD position on "On-Chip Separation of Proteins for Single-Cell Proteome Profiling"

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ETH Zürich is well known for its excellent education, ground-breaking fundamental research and for implementing its results directly into practice.

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PhD position on "On-Chip Separation of Proteins for Single-Cell Proteome Profiling"

The laboratory of Single-Molecule and Single-Cell Biophysics (BMC)is a research group in the Department of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering (D-ITET) at ETH Zürich led by Prof. Morteza Aramesh. We work in close collaboration with the Laboratory of Biosensors and Bioelectronics (LBB) led by Prof. Janos Vörös.

The focus of BMC group is developing technologies that enable single-cell studies down to single-molecule level. In our research, nanotechnology and biophysics meet to answer important biological questions. We're curious about things like how cells release proteins and how immune cells in our body fight against disease using their protein repertoire.

Our work has important applications, especially in understanding immune cells better and finding new ways to treat diseases using cells. Our research is focused on making sensors that can be used for monitoring process in living cells, and we're especially interested in using nanopore sensors for this purpose. These sensors help us see what's happening both inside and outside the cells. For example, we can observe how immune cells fight against cancer cells or how cells react to external physical or chemicals cues. We work closely with scientists from other disciplines such as biology and immunology, to implement our knowledge in emerging applications such as cell-based therapies to fight against cancer and other infectious diseases.

In this context, we invite applications for one PhD position to work on ERC funded project focusing on development of nanopore sensors for monitoring protein production and secretion in single cells.  

Project background

Genomics revolution occurred because of the invention of single-molecule sequencing technologies, and consequently it has profoundly improved precision medicine and diagnostics. Single-cell proteomics and secretomics is on its way to make a similar groundbreaking impact on our future understanding of cells and will significantly contribute to the development of drugs and cell-based therapies.

The main objective of the ERC funded project is to pioneer research direction of in situ cell profiling by identification of proteins, their abundance and temporal distribution at a single-cell level using nanopore sensors. The approach is the first of its type that can potentially address important biology questions at single-cell level and with a much higher temporal and spatial sensitivity compared to other existing methods.

To achieve a major breakthrough in single-cell profiling technologies and pushing the boundaries of in situ proteomics and secretomics, the project is set to achieve the following goals:

  • To advance the Nanopore Sensing technology to enable specific detection of proteins of interest.
  • To develop microfluidic or nanofluidic devices for purification and sorting of proteins.
  • To demonstrate the potential applications of the technology in studying biological processes, such as antibody production in immune cells and its connection with the biophysical and biochemical environment of the cell.

Job description

  • You will be developing a platform for the detection of protein production and secretion in single cells. An example of application is to study antibody secretion in immune cells upon their activation
  • You will be optimizing recently established scanning nanopore microscope for specific detection of proteins in complex physiological solutions, addressing these open research challenges:
  • Specificity of the sensor towards selected proteins: Enhancing the contrast for specific proteins
  • Data analysis: Improving data analysis approaches for capturing more information from each individual protein
  • Sampling from single cells: Developing methods for better sampling from individual cells, and handling of small volume samples
  • You will be collaborating with colleagues from the machine learning domain to improve data analysis
  • You will be responsible for project meetings, reporting, scientific publications, and conference/seminar presentations
  • You will supervise master/bachelor students


Successful candidates should have

  • Solid working knowledge in either on-chip protein separation, microfluidics or nanofluidic.
  • Hands-on experience with protein samples.
  • Working experience in cell labs is valuable.
  • Familiarity with data analysis using bioinformatic tools is highly valuable.
  • Independent personality, self-driven, creative, solution-oriented, open-minded, team-player & collaborative.

We offer

ETH Zurich is a family-friendly employer with excellent working conditions. You can look forward to an exciting working environment, cultural diversity and attractive offers and benefits.

Working, teaching and research at ETH Zurich

We value diversity

In line with our values, ETH Zurich encourages an inclusive culture. We promote equality of opportunity, value diversity and nurture a working and learning environment in which the rights and dignity of all our staff and students are respected. Visit our Equal Opportunities and Diversity website to find out how we ensure a fair and open environment that allows everyone to grow and flourish.

Curious? So are we.

We look forward to receiving your online application with the following documents:

  • CV
  • Cover Letter
  • Transcripts
  • (Optional) Reference Letters

Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered.

Further information about BMC can be found on our website.

Questions regarding the position should be directed to Prof. Morteza Aramesh ( (No applications).

About ETH Zürich

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.

Job details

PhD position on "On-Chip Separation of Proteins for Single-Cell Proteome Profiling"
Rämistrasse 101 Zurich, Switzerland
Application deadline
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About the employer

ETH Zürich is well known for its excellent education, ground-breaking fundamental research and for implementing its results directly into practice.

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