PhD Candidate in the Mechanics of Active Solids – Universiteit Leiden – Leiden

  • Leiden

Universiteit Leiden

Key responsibilities

Active or Living materials are made of driven entities, such as cells or cell components, birds, or even people and robots. They differ from normal matter because they are moving from the inside out, leading to phenomena such as flocks of birds and crowd waves at concerts. The physics of this active matter is highly relevant to biology, as it helps us understand how wounds heal and how organisms develop and maintain their shape.

In this PhD position you will work on the physics of active solids, using theoretical and computational approaches from soft matter physics. You will focus on models of cell sheets and embryonic tissue mechanics, including vertex models of cell sheets and deformable particle models. This will involve mapping out the emergent active mechanics, rigidity and melting transitions of such materials with active feedback, like force-polarity alignment or stress-responsive microscopic internal pulling forces. Additionally, there is considerable common ground with the rigidity of granular packings, and we will work with my long-standing collaborators in the area. We will complement work on microscopic models with a continuum elastic approach where appropriate.

Selection Criteria

  • Master’s degree in physics or a related discipline, with a background in statistical physics, soft matter physics or biophysics.
  • A genuine interest in interdisciplinary science and in working with experimentalist, and in learning how to translate between disciplines.
  • Good computational skills in Python, Matlab or another programming language such as C++
  • Good communication skills, and good English language level
  • Research at our faculty
    The Faculty of Science is a world-class faculty where staff and students work together in a dynamic international environment. It is a faculty where personal and academic development are top priorities. Our people are committed to expand fundamental knowledge by curiosity and to look beyond the borders of their own discipline; their aim is to benefit science, and to make a contribution to addressing the major societal challenges of the future.

    The research carried out at the Faculty of Science is very diverse, ranging from mathematics, information science, astronomy, physics, chemistry and bio-pharmaceutical sciences to biology and environmental sciences. The research activities are organised in eight institutes. These institutes offer eight bachelor’s and twelve master’s programmes. The faculty has grown strongly in recent years and now has more than 2,300 staff and almost 5,000 students. We are located at the heart of Leiden’s Bio Science Park, one of Europe’s biggest science parks, where university and business life come together.

    The Lorentz Institute
    You will be become part of the Lorentz Institute, the oldest institute of theoretical Physics in the Netherlands.

    Terms and conditions
    We offer a full-time 1 year term position for initially one year. After a positive evaluation of the progress of the thesis, personal capabilities and compatibility the appointment will be extended by a further three years. Salary range from € 2.770,- to €3.539,- gross per month (pay scale P in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities).

    Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses(8.3 %), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break.

    Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups.

    Applications
    To apply for this vacancy, please use the ‘Apply now’ button on this page. You are kindly asked to quote the vacancy number and upload the following documents:

  • CV including information about your degree
  • Research interests statement (two pages maximum)
  • Name and contact information of two references
  • Review of applications will begin immediately . Only applications received before 19.04.2023 can be considered.

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