Research Scientists in Nanoscience
University of Basel Swiss Nanoscience Institute

A Death-Dealing Bacterial Nanomachine (P2002)

100% position for 4 years, earliest starting date: 1 January 2021

The Swiss Nanoscience Institute (SNI) at the University of Basel invites highly motivated scientists to apply for the SNI PhD program in Nanoscience.

Your position

This SNI PhD fellowship will study the Type 6 secretion system (T6SS) that Gram-negative bacterial cells employ to kill other bacterial and eukaryotic cells [1] (Fig. 1). The T6SS resembles a nanoscale harpoon that is rapidly ejected from bacterial cells to deliver toxins into neighbouring cells [2,3]. In this project, we will use high-speed atomic force microscopy (HS-AFM) [4], as well as AFM force spectroscopy and confocal microscopy (CM) to study the nanomechanical forces produced by the T6SS to puncture neighboring cells. In doing so, our project promises to shed light on how bacterial cells kill their prey. You will work with a collaborative interdisciplinary team and enthusiastic mentors.

For more information, please visit:

[1] Wang, J., Brodmann, M. & Basler, M. in Annual Review of Microbiology, Vol 73 Vol. 73 Annual Review of Microbiology (ed S. Gottesman) 621-638 (2019).
[2] Shneider, M. M. et al. PAAR-repeat proteins sharpen and diversify the type VI secretion system spike. Nature 500, 350-+, doi:10.1038/nature12453 (2013).
[3] Basler, M. & Mekalanos, J. J. Type 6 Secretion Dynamics Within and Between Bacterial Cells. Science 337, 815-815, doi:10.1126/science.1222901 (2012).
[4] Sakiyama, Y., Mazur, A., Kapinos, L. E. & Lim, R. Y. H. Spatiotemporal dynamics of the nuclear pore complex transport barrier resolved by high-speed atomic force microscopy. Nature Nanotechnology 11, 719-+, doi:10.1038/nnano.2016.62 (2016).

Your profile

Highly motivated individuals with a background in biology, nanoscience, or related fields are encouraged to apply. A master degree is required in any of the natural sciences. You will be registered as a PhD student in the graduate program of the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel.

We offer you

  • Excellent scientific and social environment
  • Very competitive employment conditions
  • Membership in a very supportive and recognised community
The successful candidate will join an attractive interdisciplinary programme together with the ~30 currently supported scientists. The SNI covers a wide variety of topics, including cutting edge quantum physics and chemistry, material science, nanotechnology, biochemistry, cell biology, or medical research.
Application / Contact

More information and the online application platform can be found at For questions please contact the head of the SNI PhD program, Dr. Andreas Baumgartner (, or directly the respective project leaders. The complete application has to be submitted before 31 December 2020. Please note that the decision to fill a given vacancy can be taken at any time from now.

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