PhD Studentship in Molecular Mechanisms of Membrane Proteins

(taken from

Design and Characterization of Bio-inspired Nanosensors Engineered by Assembly of Receptors and Ion Channels

The subject.

We have devised a novel type of bio-inspired sensors, Ion-Channel Coupled Receptors (ICCR), based on the fusion of receptors with an ion channel serving as an electrical probe. Binding of a ligand to the receptor triggers opening of the associated ion channel and an increased ion flux that is easily detectable using existing techniques. This concept was validated by the creation of ICCRs between a potassium channel and several G-protein coupled receptors (GPCR) [cf. Moreau et al, 2008, Nature Nanotech 3:620-5].

The thesis shall concern the structure-function study of receptor-channel interactions in existing ICCRs and on the design and construction of new ICCRs. Work will involve molecular engineering, biophysics, and bioinformatics. It should establish the foundation of high-performance bioelectrical sensors while providing a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms of GPCR activation and ion channel gating.

Although this project has a strong biotechnological flavor, the approach shall remain very fundamental with a strong focus on the structure and function of membrane proteins and on their interactions.

The place.

The thesis will take place in the Channels lab within the Membrane Proteins Dept of the Institute for Structural Biology


The Channels lab focuses on ion channels and membrane protein engineering and is recognized for its work on K-ATP channel and proteic biosensors. IBS is a renowned institute in the field of structural and molecular biology. It is part of the Grenoble scientific polygon with numerous research intitutes and colleges as well as several large instruments such as the European Synchrotron. The site offers a stimulating
scientific environment in the natural surroundings of the French Alps.

The candidate.

Strong academic background. Experience or interest in molecular biology, electrophysiology, or bioinformatics. The granting agency (CEA) will only consider candidates with top-tier academic records. There are no other restrictive conditions and foreigners can, and should, apply.

The position.

The position is for three years starting in October 2010. The salary is very competitive (~2000 €/month).

Send a one-page CV to Michel Vivaudou (

A full-fledged application will be requested subsequently.


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