PhD. student and Postdoc fellow for the SOMICELL project


FZU is a leading public research institution located in Prague, the Czech Republic, which strives to pursue high quality, innovative and ground-breaking fundamental research, as well as to promote developments in applied technologies. FZU is the largest institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences with more than 1100 employees. 


The department of Optical and Biophysical Systems, Division of Optics has recently established new research groups that focus on combined research in Biophotonics, Biophysics or Functional Biointerfaces. It serves as international multidisciplinary research platform proving to researchers motivating and friendly working environment. It provides access to newly established modern state-of-the-art research facilities in order to carry out cutting-edge research directions in science and technology development. New co-workers are granted with creative freedom to explore new solutions and innovations addressing currently emerged grand challenges faced by the modern society. 

The Czech-Austrian bilateral project ‘Soft micromachines for mechanic stimulation and biosensing in cell-on-chip applications – SOMICELL’ starts in the group of Biophotonics and it concerns novel toolbox of miniature microdevices for actuating, positioning, and biosensing serving in cell-on-chip studies. It is based on the implementation of responsive hydrogel materials and metallic nanostructures enabling actuating with light and aims at their exploitation in mechanical stimulating and cell signaling study by using a tendon-on-chip system.

Mechanical and molecular signalling plays a crucial role in intercellular communication and it is pivotal in many physiological processes such as wound healing or connective tissue maturation. Yet, understanding these biological processes driven by mechanic forces and chemical cues is currently hindered by the ability to mimic and monitor the local environment experienced by individual cells and their ensembles. We propose a novel approach to mechanical stimulus based on light-controlled free-standing microactuators performing defined cyclic motion, which is directly transmitted to attached cellular structures. Next, we integrate plasmonic microbiosensors with the microactuators, which allow for spatiotemporally resolved in situ monitoring of molecular signalling and stress biomarker species. The developed toolbox will be employed for the investigating of the impact of dysfunctional inflammatory mechano-signalling in tendon and ligament models. Developed novel analytical platform holds potential to outperform current cell-on-chip technologies by precise control over applied stresses/strains, spatiotemporal resolution of cell monitoring, and high throughput.

Depending on candidate’s background and research interest, the candidate will focus on the development of the experimental optical setup or signal processing and will be involved in the investigation of biomolecular processes in continuous manner with the use of plasmonic nanomaterials and plasmon-enhanced optical spectroscopy.

Required profile

  • MSc or Ph.D. in Physics, Biophysics, or related field.
  • Creativity and analytical thinking
  • Sound verbal and written communication skills in English
  • Previous experience in optical microscopy, spectroscopy and/or bioanalytical techniques and/or scientific instrumentation development

Why should you apply

  • Working in an international, creative and highly motivated team of a newly established research group Biophotonics at Division of Optics, Institute of Physics, Czech Academy of Sciences
  • Addressing cutting-edge research topics with high application potential 
  • Working in a multidisciplinary research environment
  • A stimulating and friendly supervising and mentoring
  • Unique research facilities
  • Training and development possibilities (seminars, workshops, conferences)
  • Soft skills trainings (project management, grants applications, etc.) 
  • Language courses 
  • Indoor yoga classes
  • A competitive salary 
  • Flexible working hours
  • Home office mode
  • And more benefits such as Multisport card, cooperate kindergarten, etc

Terms of employment

The initial period of employment is 1 year (with the possibility of an extension), starting from middle of 2024 or as otherwise agreed.

Application procedure

Please send a motivation letter, your CV, a list of publications and two references to Petra Kratochvilova, HR partner. Questions about the position please address to petra [dot] kratochvilova [at] fzu [dot] cz (petra[dot]kratochvilova[at]fzu[dot]cz).