Postdoctoral Position in Biophotonics
Ghent University



Postdoctoral position in Biophotonics



Context and background

Delivering compounds like nucleic acids or proteins into cells is a common requirement in the life sciences, whether it is for fundamental cell-based research, for drug screening or for cell-based therapies. Our laboratory has world-leading expertise on ‘photoporation’ as a new technology for the transfection of cells with improved efficiency and flexibility. Photoporation makes use of laser light and nanoparticles to transiently permeabilize cell membranes in order for external compounds to enter into the cell’s cytoplasm. It was demonstrated that photoporation can deliver a broad range of macromolecular compounds (siRNA, mRNA, anti- and nanobodies, etc.) into a variety of cell types, including hard-to-transfect cells like primary immune and stem cells.

Following several years of successful fundamental research on this topic, and considering broad interest from within the life sciences, the current aim is to further mature this technology and make it widely available to researchers in academia as well as in industry. As it is an optics based technology, further research and development is needed of optical devices with advanced capabilities to treat cells safely, efficiently and in high throughput. We are, therefore, looking for a talented optics or photonics engineer with a passion for interdisciplinary research and willing to contribute to improved treatment strategies for patients.


Selected publications


  1. Xiong R., Raemdonck K., Peynshaert K., Lentacker I., De Cock I., Demeester J., De Smedt S.C., Skirtach A.G., Braeckmans K. Comparison of gold nanoparticle mediated photoporation: vapor nanobubbles outperform direct heating for delivering macromolecules in live cells. ACS Nano 8, 6288-6296 (2014).
  2. Xiong R., Drullion C., Verstraelen P., Demeester J., Skirtach A.G., Abbadie C., De Vos W.H., De Smedt S.C., Braeckmans K. Fast spatial-selective delivery into live cells. J. Control. Release 266, 198-204 (2017).
  3. Teirlinck E., Xiong R., Brans T., Forier K., Fraire J., Van Acker H., Matthijs N., De Rijcke R., De Smedt S.C., Coenye T., Braeckmans K. Laser-Induced Vapour Nanobubbles Improve Drug Diffusion and Efficiency in Bacterial Biofilms. Nature Communications 9, Article Number 4518 (2018).
  4. Liu J., Xiong R., Brans T., Lippens S., Parthoens E., Cella Zanacchi F., Magrassi R., Singh S.K., Kurungot S., Szunerits S., Bové H., Ameloot M., Fraire J., Teirlinck E., Samal S.K., De Rycke R., Houthaeve G., De Smedt S.C., Boukherroub R., Braeckmans K. Repeated photoporation with graphene quantum dots enables homogeneous labelling of live cells with extrinsic markers for fluorescence microscopy. Light – Sci. Appl. 7, 47 (2018).
  5. Liu J., Hebbrecht T., Brans T., Parthoens E., Lippens S., Li C., De Keersmaecker H., De Vos W.H., De Smedt S.C., Boukherroub R., Gettemans J., Xiong R., Braeckmans K. Long-term live-cell microscopy with labeled nanobodies delivered by laser-induced photoporation. Nano Research 13, 485-495 (2020).




  • Performing research on new optical strategies to make photoporation more cost-efficient and with even better performance in terms of delivery efficiency and cell viability.
  • Being responsible for the construction, installation and maintenance of photoporation demonstrator devices for (international) collaborations
  • Being responsible for optical set-ups in the lab, including constructing new setups, implementing modifications on existing set-ups, performing maintenance and QC, and giving trainings to new users.
  • Contribute to general tasks in the lab, such as ICT related matters and providing guidance to bachelor, master and PhD students when needed.
  • Contribute to teaching tasks of the lab, such as providing demonstrations for the doctoral’s school specialist course on light microscopy and the master’s course on Bionanotechnology.
  • Attracting funding by contributing to the writing of research proposals in the field



Who can apply.

The position is open to motivated candidates with a strong and demonstrated background in the development of optical systems and with a keen interest in interdisciplinary sciences. Eligible candidates must hold a PhD degree in Physics or Engineering Physics or Engineering Photonics, or equivalent. A strong interest in biological and biomedical applications is needed, as well as willingness to work and collaborate in a multidisciplinary team. The candidate must be willing to travel, not only for conferences and exhibitions, but also for providing technical support for international collaborations. Programming experience is required as well, including LabView and Matlab.



What we offer.

A one-year contract as postdoctoral researcher is offered, starting on December 1st 2020 at the earliest, which can be prolonged after a positive evaluation. You will be part of a dynamic and multidisciplinary team that is highly motivated to make photoporation broadly available for the benefit of the life science community and cell therapy applications in particular.



How to apply.

Please apply for this job via Ghent University’s online jobs platform. Selected candidates will be invited for an interview and further discussion. Additional information about the Lab. Of General Biochemistry and Physical Pharmacy (director: prof. Stefaan De Smedt, co-director: prof. Kevin Braeckmans), can be found on our website:

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