Research Associate in Surface Chemistries for Photonic Biosensors

University of York Department of Electronic Engineering

United Kingdom

Research Associate in Surface Chemistries for Photonic Biosensors

Department:Electronic Engineering
Based at:University of York - Heslington Campus
Hours of work:Full-time
Contract status:Fixed term
Salary:32,817 - 40,322 a year
Posted Date:17/03/2021
Apply by:17/04/2021
Job Reference:9229

Role Description

Project overview

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Research Associate to work on a Wellcome Trust funded, collaborative project between the Departments of Electronic Engineering, Physics and Biology. The aim of the project is to develop a novel sensing and imaging technology using resonant nanophotonic structures to monitor protein secretion in cell signalling. Specifically, the role holder will develop robust chemistries to regulate protein immobilisation on the photonic sensor surface and investigate approaches to detect multiple proteins in parallel. The successful candidate will have significant experience in the design, characterisation and optimisation of surface chemistries for protein immobilisation and ideally, experience in the fabrication of biosensors and their structural and functional characterisation. Experience of working collaboratively, on highly interdisciplinary research projects is essential.

The post is full time and is expected to start on June 1st, 2020, or shortly thereafter, for a duration of 36 months.


The role holder will be based in the Department of Electronic Engineering under the supervision of Dr Steve Johnson and will work closely with the group of Prof TF Krauss in Physics. The imaging sensor developed during the project is based on the principle of guided-mode resonances (GMR) that we have previously demonstrated to detect low protein concentrations (1 pg/ml) with high spatial resolution (≈ 1 µm). This project will combine the high sensitivity and spatial resolution of the GMR to develop imaging sensors capable of mapping the secretion of proteins from individual cells. Additionally, we will develop the capability to detect multiple secreted proteins in parallel via site-selective immobilisation of antibodies, for example using photolabile self-assembled monolayers. The imaging sensor will be developed in close collaboration with colleagues in the Department of Biology providing an opportunity to demonstrate the technology across a range of research areas from infection and immunity to cancer, haematology and vaccinology. The long-term goal of the project is to develop the project towards commercialisation. You will also be responsible for:

  • Disseminating research through publications, seminars, conference presentations and outreach activities.
  • Providing guidance to other researchers within the research groups including project students and PhD students.

Skills, Experience & Qualification needed

  • First degree and PhD in Engineering, Chemistry, Physics, or related discipline
  • Knowledge and experience of research techniques and methodologies related to surface chemistry and protein immobilisation.
  • Knowledge of research techniques and methodologies related to optical sensing and nanofabrication.
  • Ability to analyse, interpret and present complex data.
  • Highly developed oral and written communication skills.
  • Ability to write-up research work for publication and to present at academic conferences.
  • Ability to develop research objectives and carry out individual and collaborative projects, planning and prioritising own work in order to meet deadlines.
  • Ability to perform practical tasks to a consistently high standard with attention to detail and commitment to high quality.
  • Highly collaborative work ethic, committed to high quality research, and a willingness to proactively support colleagues and students.

Interview date:  To be confirmed

For informal enquiries: Candidates are encouraged to contact Dr Steve Johnson ( or Prof Thomas Krauss (

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