Open Positions

We are always interested in welcoming new members to our group (please see bottom of page). At the moment, we are also looking for new members to join us to contribute specifically to three projects.


Crystallography and protein engineering (Sinergia)

Summary: First, we are looking for a Ph.D or Postdoc to contribute to a recently funded SNSF Sinergia project. The broader topic is in protein engineering and crystallography with the specific focus on bromodomains. You can access the details regarding this position in the attached PDF (CLICK HERE TO OPEN THE JOB DESCRIPTION). Please send your application directly to the dedicated email address: sinergia [dot] brd [at] chem [dot] uzh [dot] ch.


Ph.D. position in computational chemistry (drug discovery)

Project Description: We have recently developed and applied a strategy to find novel ligands for biological targets relevant to human disease (DOI). The idea is to generate new ligands by following synthetic routes in the computer that are known to be experimentally feasible. We are in the process of integrating the entire workflow, which consists of target preparation, ligand creation, binding pose prediction, and affinity prediction, into a web-based frontend that is able to offload the computing requirements to an HPC backend. The role of the Ph.D. student will be to contribute significantly to the conclusion of this development, to test the framework, and, most importantly, to apply it to pharmaceutical targets of interest to the group. The research conducted as part of these studies will be published in peer-reviewed journals. A Ph.D. tenure in the group typically lasts 3-4 years.

What we look for: We are seeking a university graduate who is trained in chemistry, physics, or an engineering discipline to join our team for the project mentioned above. The ideal candidate will have a background that enables her/him to quickly become fluent in the science and language of small molecules and their interactions with biologically relevant macromolecules. The willingness to write software and learn programming languages as needed is a requirement. Prior experience with web server technologies is a plus. A good proficiency in English (spoken and written) will ensure that the integration into the new work environment is as seamless as possible.

Whom to contact for further information: Amedeo Caflisch (caflisch [at] bioc [dot] uzh [dot] ch)

Formalities: We solicit applications starting immediately until the position is filled. Please send a single PDF with a letter of motivation (no more than one page), a short CV (no more than two pages), and relevant Transcripts of Records by email to Amedeo Caflisch (caflisch [at] bioc [dot] uzh [dot] ch). The selected candidate will be expected to start as soon as possible. As a Ph.D. student at the University of Zurich, you will be affiliated with one of the Ph.D. programs, for example the Computational Science or the Biomolecular Structure and Mechanism programs.


Ph.D. position in data analysis (molecular simulations)

Project Description: Molecular systems, in particular those of biological relevance, are systems of exceptional complexity, and simulations provide a tool to study them with practically unlimited spatial and temporal resolution. However, these simulations typically describe trajectories of just a single macromolecule or macromolecular complex over a short stretch of time. Due to their microscopic nature, the evolution of these trajectories is, in part, stochastic, and the resultant dynamics often appear chaotic. It is surprisingly challenging to rigorously quantify statistical or systematic errors in predictions derived from simulations. Because brute-force simulation approaches lead to large statistical errors, many advanced sampling techniques have been developed, which require additional corrections during analysis, e.g., progress index-guided sampling (DOI). The role of the Ph.D. student will be to continue our work in developing a rigorous protocol for mining these simulation data to arrive at reliable thermodynamic, mechanistic, and kinetic predictions. In the latter stages of the project, applications to newly generated or existing data sets are envisioned. The research conducted as part of these studies will be published in peer-reviewed journals. A Ph.D. tenure in the group typically lasts 3-4 years.

What we look for: We are seeking a university graduate with a background in physics or applied mathematics to join our team as a full-time member for the project mentioned above. The ideal candidate will already have a solid grasp of the statistical mechanics of microscopic (molecular) systems, but this is not a requirement. Prior experience in data science is an asset. It is expected that the candidate is able to attain in-depth fluency with state-of-the-art data analysis methods developed in the lab and elsewhere, which requires curiosity, persistence, and intellectual rigor. Some basic programming experience is highly desirable as is a good proficiency in spoken and written English.

Whom to contact for further information: Andreas Vitalis (a [dot] vitalis [at] bioc [dot] uzh [dot] ch)

Formalities: We solicit applications starting immediately until the position is filled. Please send a single PDF with a letter of motivation (no more than one page), a short CV (no more than two pages), and relevant Transcripts of Records by email to Andreas Vitalis (a [dot] vitalis [at] bioc [dot] uzh [dot] ch). The selected candidate will be expected to start as soon as possible. As a Ph.D. student at the University of Zurich, you will be affiliated with one of the Ph.D. programs, for example the Computational Science program.


General information

Applications to join our group are ALWAYS welcome from outstanding and enthusiastic Ph.D. and postdoctoral candidates. We offer a stimulating research environment at a highly ranked department within a university of excellent international standing. The quality of life in Zurich and in Switzerland in general is outstanding and well-documented by popular rankings.

There are frequently open positions in the laboratory and the best is to inquire. All our research projects are aimed at studying biological macromolecular systems. Current focus areas are situated in pathogenic protein aggregation and cancer therapeutics with a focus on epigenetics. Various projects have a strong component of methodology development while others require the application of existing approaches. Possible subjects include using molecular dynamics simulations to understand peptide aggregation and peptide-protein binding, the characterization of small molecule binding to macromolecules by simulation, theory, and experiment, the development of new ligands for therapeutically relevant targets by docking or de novo ligand design, and the development of new methods and models for classical biomolecular simulations. Applicants should preferably hold a Masters or Ph.D. degree in physics, biophysics, chemistry, or biochemistry. We also perform experiments, specifically protein crystallography and a number of in vitro binding and functional assays such as surface plasmon resonance. For computational applicants in particular, programming skills and a familiarity with the Linux operating system are highly advantageous.  Individuals interested in applying for a postdoc position should submit a letter of application, resume, and the names of three professional references to Prof. A. Caflisch: caflisch[at]bioc.uzh.ch

Please refer to the contact page for how to reach us or contact us by phone or postal mail. Prospective doctoral students are encouraged to also familiarize themselves with the various Ph.D. programs offered by the University of Zurich or jointly with the ETH. Some pointers are provided on a separate page.