PhD position - Microscopic dynamic properties of antibody solutions

Context & Job description

Project title: Microscopic dynamic properties of antibody solutions: Connecting to macroscopic phase behaviour and pharmaceutical applicability

Diffusion of proteins within cells is essential, as it strongly influences the cellular machinery through numerous processes such as signal transmission and reactions between proteins. The ability to understand and predict dynamic properties of concentrated protein solutions and mixtures is thus vital for understanding cellular mechanisms, but also important for the formulation of future protein drugs.

As part of a collaboration with the University of Tübingen, Germany, ( and Lonza AG, Basel, Switzerland, ( on immunoglobulin antibody protein solutions, this project will be hosted by the ILL and include stays in Basel and Tübingen. It will apply both static and dynamic X-ray and neutron scattering techniques, including small angle scattering, neutron backscattering and spin-echo spectroscopy, and X-ray photon correlation spectroscopy. 

Based on these scattering and complementary experiments as well as on modeling, the link between microscopic interactions and phase behaviour relevant for pharmaceutical applicability of antibody protein solutions will be established, involving the fundamentally important link between macroscopic viscosity and diffusion on nanosecond time and nanometer length scales. Moreover, insight into the function and specificity of antibodies will be gained, which is relevant for their pharmacological and medical application.

Further information may be obtained from Olga Matsarskaia (tel.: +33 (0)457 42 8256, email:, Tilo Seydel (+33 (0)476 20 7579, email:, and Frank Schreiber (+49 (0)7071 29 78663, e-mail:

Expected profile

  • Degree allowing enrollment for a PhD (such as MSc, Master 2, Laurea or equivalent) in physics, physical chemistry, biology, biochemistry, chemistry or closely related science
  • A strong interest or background in X-ray, neutron, and light scattering techniques
  • An interest in programming for data analysis in Matlab or python, numerical optimization, and modeling
  • Proficiency in English  (A proof of upper-intermediate level would be advantageous and can be provided in the application. Applicants originating from native-English-speaking countries can apply without the need for proof of level. An official degree conducted in English will be also accepted as a proof; Students without proof upper-intermediate level may still apply and their level of English will be checked during the interview.)
  • Compliance with the Marie Sklodowska-Curie mobility rule: candidates may not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in France for more than twelve months in the three years immediately before the date of recruitment.
  • At the date of recruitment, early-stage researchers must be in the first four years of their research careers and have not yet been awarded a doctoral degree.
  • Candidates must satisfy the conditions for enrollment in a doctoral programme

More details about the application procedure on

Working conditions

The successful candidate will be enrolled in the doctoral school of (University of Tübingen, Germany) and based full-time at the ILL (Grenoble, France), other than a 3-month secondment at Lonza AG, Basel, Switzerland. Additional visits up to 3 months in total will be made to the University of Tübingen as needed. Furthermore, a varied pedagogical training programme will be offered to the successful candidate throughout the 3-year PhD project.

More details on the InnovaXN programme on

Company description

InnovaXN is a Horizon 2020 MSCA COFUND programme providing an opportunity for 40 industrial companies to work with 40 PhD students, performing advanced research and exploiting the unique characterisation techniques of the ESRF and ILL. Through collaborations with industry, innovation will be the central theme of the programme. This will provide a unique cross academic-industry science setting, secondment opportunities and society-relevant research, training the future key researchers able to tackle major research and societal challenges.

The equal opportunity policies of the ESRF and ILL have been in place for many years. These policies focus on gender balance, cultural diversity and inclusion of disabled staff.

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