Available positions


WP3-WP4. Structural and functional characterization of ion channels embedded in planar lipid bilayers.

Recruiting institution: University of Warsaw (UW)

Location: Warsaw, Poland

Supervisor: Slawomir Sęk

Project description:

The project assumes the use of the artificial lipid bilayers as platforms that can provide a suitable environment for the insertion of transmembrane proteins while retaining their native function. In this context, the tethered lipid bilayers anchored to a solid support are excellent candidates for the development of the sensing devices. The project will involve the identification of crucial factors determining the quality and stability of planar lipid bilayers including lipid composition, pre-modification of the supporting substrate, as well as conditions and the method of lipid bilayer deposition. The quality and mechanical stability of the lipid films will be probed using an experimental approach which combines electrochemical methods with high-resolution imaging technique such as atomic force microscopy. Further, the artificial lipid bilayers will be used for the protein insertion. This involves optimization of the insertion protocol and the bilayers with embedded proteins will be characterized in terms of the molecular arrangements of the channels, morphology, and their nanomechanical properties. The project also assumes the characterization of the functionality of the ion channels upon insertion into the lipid bilayers. The response of the channels upon application of external stimuli (change of the pH, temperature, electric field) will be monitored in situ with electrochemical methods combined with surface-enhanced infrared absorption spectroscopy (SEIRAS). The ultimate goal of the project is to develop the planar lipid bilayers with fully functional ion channels which activity can be triggered by means of physical or chemical stimuli.


  1. University of Lausanne (Switzerland). Training in electrophysiological methods of analysis of ion channels.

  2. Polytechnic University of Catalonia (Spain). Preparation of PLA membranes for lipid bilayer immobilization.

  3. 4Dcell SAS (France). Device preparation of cell microenvironment control.

PhD awarding entity: University of Warsaw

Qualifications: The candidate should hold or be about to obtain a Master level degree preferably in chemistry, physics, material science or related field. A copy of academic works such as papers or abstract of M.Sc. thesis will be appreciated. Candidates should have good proficiency in written and spoken English.

Skills: Ability to work both as part of a team, and independently, coupled with excellent communication, organizational and problem-solving skills; dedication and enthusiasm for experimental research, high technical skills, good laboratory skills, availability to travel for training events and research secondments.

Experience: The PhD candidate should have:

  • Theoretical background in self-assembly, lipid bilayer membranes, transmembrane proteins.

  • Experience in electrochemical and microscopic methods will be appreciated.

Expected start day: October 1st, 2021