Imaging Cardiovascular Macro- and Microstructure Using HfO2 Nanocrystals as X-ray Tomography Contrast Agents (P2001)

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

In DeRooLab (Department of Chemistry, University of Basel), we are working on the synthesis and analysis of nanocrystals and atomically precise clusters [1-3]. In the X-ray Tomography Group (Swiss Light Source, Paul Scherrer Institut), we are developing instrumentations and algorithms for tomographic X-ray imaging, exploiting synchrotron and laboratory sources [4-5].
In 2016, cardiovascular diseases were responsible for 31% of all global deaths (WHO). To develop personalized treatment, it is essential to analyse the structural organization of the heart. Synchrotron Radiation X-ray Phase Contrast Imaging (SR X-PCI) is a non-destructive tomography technique, providing 3D information: from full heart morphology down to cellular level microstructure. However, the use of a contrast agent remains necessary to achieve ultra-fast acquisition or improve contrast for cell differentiation.

In your first years, you will learn synthetic inorganic techniques at the University of Basel and develop sustainable syntheses for hafnium oxide nanocrystals and hafnium oxo-clusters. You will then learn how to functionalize the surface to stabilize the particles in biologically relevant media. Finally, you will apply these CT (computed tomography) contrast agents at the Paul Scherrer Institute to visualize the cardiovascular system of the whole heart and improve the contrast in heart transplant biopsies. This experience will offer you a broad range of synthetic and analytical techniques, including electron microscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance, X-ray diffraction, X-ray tomography, etc.

[1] J. De Roo et al. Nat. Mater. 2016, 15, 517
[2] E. Dhaene et al. Nano Lett. 2019, 19, 7411
[3] Z. Hens and J. De Roo. JACS. 2020, 142, 15627
[4] M. Stampanoni et al. Developments in X-Ray Tomography V, Proceedings SPIE. 2006, 6318, U199-U212
[5] H. Dejea et al. Scientific Reports. 2019, 9(1): 6996
[6] H. Dejea et al. FIMH Springer, Cham. 2017

Your profile

You are highly motivated and have a Master in Nanosciences or Chemistry. A highly interdisciplinary background is a plus, in the areas of synthetic chemistry, physical chemistry and physics. Computing and image analysis skills would be an asset. You enjoy working in a dynamic, multidisciplinary and multicultural team.
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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University of Basel


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