Netherlands: PhD position in Interaction of anti-freeze proteins with water and ice at FOM Institute AMOLF

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Job description

In this project we will study the molecular interactions between AFPs/AFGPs and water/ice that cause the freezing point depression. This study will be performed with advanced (nonlinear) spectroscopic techniques, like 2D polarization-resolved vibrational spectroscopy, surface sum-frequency generation and transient THz spectroscopy. These techniques enable the label-free study of the structural dynamics of the (glyco)protein conformations, the ice surfaces and the hydration shell of water molecules surrounding the protein.


Anti-freeze proteins (AFPs) and anti-freeze glycoproteins (AFGPs) have a surprisingly strong effect on the freezing point of water. Even millimolar concentrations are sufficient to lower the freezing temperature by 2 degrees Celsius. AFPs and AFGPs have evolved in fish, insects, plants, fungi and bacteria, and enable these organisms to survive in polar and near-polar areas. AFPs are also used in the food industry, for instance to prevent recrystallization in ice cream. Despite their apparent importance and industrial relevance, the mechanisms by which AFPs and AFGPs depress the freezing point of water are poorly understood.


PhD-students must meet the requirements for an MSc-degree in Physics or Physical Chemistry.

Conditions of employment

When fulfilling a PhD position at the FOM foundation, you will get the status of junior scientist.
You will have an employee status and can participate in all the employee benefits FOM offers. You will get a contract for 4 years. Your salary will be up to a maximum of 2,636 euro gross per month.The salary is supplemented with a holiday allowance of 8% and an end-of-year bonus of 8.33%.
You are supposed to have a thesis finished at the end of your four year term with FOM.
A training programme is part of the agreement. You and your supervisor will make up a plan for the additional education and supervising that you specifically need. This plan also defines which teaching activities you will be responsible (up to a maximum of 10% of your time). The conditions of employment of the FOM-foundation are laid down in the Collective Labour Agreement for Research Centres (Cao-Onderzoekinstellingen), more exclusive information is available at this website under Personeelsinformatie (in Dutch) or under Personnel (in English).
General information about working at FOM can be found in the English part of this website under Personnel. The ‘FOM job interview code’ applies to this position.

Contract type: Temporary, 4 years


FOM Institute AMOLF

FOM Institute AMOLF performs leading fundamental research on physics of Biomolecular Systems and Nano Photonics; two areas with key potential for technological innovations. The Institute contributes to knowledge transfer to industry and society and trains talented young researchers. AMOLF is located at Science Park Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and engages approximately 140 scientists and 70 support staff. See

The goal of the Ultrafast Spectroscopy group is to study the molecular-scale properties of water, ice and aqueous systems like hydrated ions, membranes and proteins. The research is carried out using spectroscopic techniques including femtosecond (nonlinear) vibrational spectroscopy, surface sum-frequency generation and GHz-THz dielectric relaxation spectroscopy.

Additional information


Prof.dr. Huib Bakker
Group leader Ultrafast Spectroscopy
Phone: +31 (0)20 754 71 00

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