Date Posted
27 Sep 2018

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PhD Project

PhD Position “Light-Matter Interaction within Protein Nanowires: Toward bio-inspired optoelectronics”

27 Sep 2018

Position Description

Application deadline: Oct. 31, 2018 @ 6:00 pm (CET).
Duration: 36 months
Start date: December 3, 2018

Funding Offer:
Funding type: Contrat Doctoral/PhD Fellowship
Funding amount: 1450 € Net Salary / month

Level of French required: B1 (intermediate)
Level of English required: C2 (proficiency)
Opportunity to make your thesis in English

UMR5249 (CEA/CNRS/Univ. Grenoble Alpes) Chemistry and Biology of Metals Laboratory
UMR5819-SyMMES (CEA/CNRS/Univ. Grenoble Alpes), Molecular Systems and Nanomaterials for Energy and Health laboratory
Host institution:
UGA: Université Grenoble Alpes
CEA: French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission
CNRS: French National Center for Scientific Research
Doctoral Dchool @ UGA:
EDPHys: Doctoral School of Physics – ED N°47
Annual tuition fee: 400 € / year

Introduction & Context:
Amyloid fibers are quasi-1D nano-objects with high aspect ratio (Length / Diameter ~ 4000) [1,2]. Resulting from the self-assembly of proteins, these fibers are particularly well-suited testbeds to study bottom-up approaches aiming at developing of hierarchically self-organized functional biomaterials across multiple length scales (Nano-> Meso -> Micro-scales). We have recently developed bionanowires allowing long-range (over several microns) electronic transfers thanks to a bioinspired architecture inherited from bacterial microfilaments [3]. Just as bacterial filaments allow the exchange of electrons between the external environment and enzymes within the bacteria, these bio-inspired protein nanowires allow the transport of electrons between a glassy carbon electrode and an enzyme over distance of several microns [3,4]. Beside electron hopping between redox centers on the surface of our bio nanowires, amyloid fibers, which serve as template for the redox centers, possess intrinsic charge transport abilities. The two main mechanisms that be envisaged are protonic conductivity [5] due to a water network on the fiber surface or electronic conductivity through (pi-pi stacked) aromatic side-chains within the fibers.

This PhD research project aims at investigating the various charge transport mechanisms at work within these bionanowires and their interplay. Light effects will be investigated not only to get deeper insight into the (electron/Ion/proton) transport mechanisms but also to explore new optoelectronic properties of these bionanowires. The research project relies on a truly interdisciplinary approach, which will associate nanoelectronic experiments to structural biology characterization and protein engineering. The selected PhD candidate will be embedded into the 2017-2020 public collaborative research project BioNis [6] supported by the French National Agency of Research (ANR) under the Grant # ANR-17-CE09-0013. Importantly, the PhD student will not be in charge of the protein engineering; an advanced biochemistry task that will be performed by others experts of our labs. The required skills are in molecular electronics and nanosciences, the PhD candidate being mandatorily opened to perform basic biochemistry experiments (e.g. triggering and mastering the self-assembly of bionanowires)

A few selected references (over 2016-2018 period) resulting from the scientific production of the hosting labs (UMR5249-LCBM and UMR5819-SyMMES)
[1]: T. Doussineau et al., Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 55, 2340-2344 (2016). DOI: 10.1002/anie.201508995.
[2]: J. Pansieri et al., Chem. Sci. 9, 2791-2796 (2018). DOI: 10.1039/c7sc04542e.
[3]: L. Altamura et al., Nat. Chem. 9, 157-163 (2017). DOI: 10.1038/nchem.2616.
[4]: S. Rengaraj et al. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 56, 7774-7778 (2017). DOI: 10.1002/anie.201702042.
[5]: E.B. Trigg et al., Nat. Mater. 17, 725-731 (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41563-018-0097-2.
[6]: ANR’s Collaborative Research project BioNIcs:

About the PhD co-supervisors
Dr. Vincent Forge:
Dr. Patrice Rannou:

How to Apply

Eligible candidate: Skills and Qualifications The PhD candidate should preferably hold a Master degree, or have a university degree equivalent to an European master (5 years duration) degree, in Materials Science or Nanoscience. Highly motivated and qualified candidates with solid academic background, good track record and experimental experiences are encouraged to submit. The position is open to candidates from around the world.A demonstrated ability to perform independent work, to work across borders of biochemistry, chemistry and physics of functional biomaterials, and excellent communication and writing (English) skills are equally important criteria with respect to academic qualifications and scientific merit for the selection of the PhD candidate. How to Apply and competitive selection process: The deadline for application is Oct. 31, 2018 @ 6:00 pm (CET). Applicants should provide an e-application file combining a curriculum vitae, a letter of motivation, and a summary of their research experience. A single pdf should be addressed to the two PhD co-supervisors: Dr. Vincent Forge ( and Dr. Patrice Rannou ( The applicants should arrange that at least two reference letters are sent directly to the above-mentioned contact addresses. The PhD position is immediately available. We encourage motivated candidates to apply ASAP. The following competitive selection process will be applied: i) Step 1: Ranking according to the quality of the application file and candidate profile (academic merit & research experience, adequacy with the research subject)). ii) Step 2: Interview with a short list (established from Step 1) of candidates. and iii) Step 3: Notification of the decision to candidates (the selected (lucky) PhD student and the other (unlucky) applicants)) will continue until the position will be filled. PhD Supervisors: Dr. Vincent Forge Dr. Patrice RANNOU ORCID: Contacts: Dr. Vincent Forge CEA senior researcher, PhD/HDR E-mail: Dr. Patrice Rannou CNRS Director of Research, PhD/HDR Email:

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