PhD Position in Materials Chemistry
Stockholm University Department of Materials and Environmental Chemistry
Sweden

PhD student in Materials Chemistry Stockholm

Ref. No. SU FV-3703-20

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at the Department of Materials and Environmental Chemistry. Closing date: 5 November 2020

The Department of Materials and Environmental Chemistry (MMK) is, with about 150 employees, one of the largest departments at the Faculty of Natural sciences at Stockholm University. A significant part of the teaching activities is at the undergraduate level with courses in General, Physical, Inorganic, and Analytical Chemistry. The teaching at the graduate level focuses on the master programs in Materials and Analytical Chemistry. Research activities of MMK focus primarily on materials, and include different classes such as ceramics, glasses, self-assembled, porous materials, and soft matter. The projects often encompass synthesis, and characterization by X-ray, neutron diffraction, electron microscopy, solid-state NMR, and computer modelling of materials with a potential for various applications. Research activities in the area of Analytical Chemistry focus on developing advanced analytical techniques for studies of organic compounds and biomolecules.

Project description

Project title: Better drugs through ionic liquids – computational modelling of solvent-solute interaction for drug crystallization

Project leaders (PIs): Prof.  Alexander Lyubartsev and Prof. Anja-Verena

Efficient drugs for the treatment of diseases are a critical need for society. A critical step in drug development is obtaining the optimal solid form of the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API). This is a challenge because most active pharmaceutical ingredients are able to adopt different solid forms (polymorphs). Thus, it is imperative to develop new crystallization methods. In this, ionic liquids (ILs, room temperature molten salts) can open completely new opportunities in drug development.  In the Knut & Alice Wallenberg funded project “Access to potent medical drugs through polymorph-specific crystallization enabled by ionic liquids” the PhD project will focus on studying computationally the crystallization of active pharmaceutical ingredients.  

The main responsibilities of the student will be to study the interaction of APIs with ILs employing computational tools. Molecular dynamics simulations of the solvation structure around dissolved APIs and near specific crystallographic facets will be carried out in order to quantitatively characterize the amount and strengths of relevant interactions. The free energy landscape of crystallization precursor formation and further crystal growth will be explored using the metadynamics approach in order to identify crystallization pathways, free energy barriers and thus approach thorough understanding of the molecular mechanisms of formation of specific polymorphs.

The applicant should have excellent skills in the English language, both written and spoken. The applicant should easily take initiatives and cooperate well in groups. Highly motivated students with a background in chemistry or physics, with a focus in theoretical, computational or physical chemistry are encouraged to apply.  

The PhD student will work within the project “Access to potent medical drugs through polymorph-specific crystallization enabled by ionic liquids” funded by the Knut & Alice Wallenberg foundation. For further information can be found here or at www.mudring.org.

The candidate will work in collaboration with material chemists, crystallographers, organic and theoretical chemists at SU.

Qualification requirements

In order to meet the general entry requirements, the applicant must have completed a second-cycle degree, completed courses equivalent to at least 240 higher education credits, of which 60 credits must be in the second cycle, or have otherwise acquired equivalent knowledge in Sweden or elsewhere.

In order to meet the specific entry requirements, the general syllabus for doctoral studies in the field of Chemistry is valid. Those studies should include at least one specialized course or a thesis in the research subject. In order to facilitate the evaluation of merits and suitability for the PhD studies your curriculum vitae (CV) should contain information about the extent and focus of the academic studies. The quantity (as part of an academic year) and the quality mark of courses in chemistry and physics are of particular interest. Please, state titles of undergraduate theses and project works.

The qualification requirements must be met by the deadline for applications.

Selection

The selection among the eligible candidates will be based on their capacity to benefit from the training. The following criteria will be used to assess this capacity: the candidates’ documented knowledge in a relevant field of research, written and oral proficiency in English, the capacity for analytical thinking, the ability to collaborate, as well as creativity, initiative, and independence. The assessment will be based on previous experience and grades, the quality of the degree project, references, relevant experience, interviews, and the candidate’s written motivation for seeking the position. 

A short list will be set up and interviews with the top candidates will be carried out at the department or via internet. 

Economic support for the PhD studies are guaranteed for full time studies during the time period agreed on in the individual study plan. The studies does normally mean four years full time studies. You are encouraged to contact the project leader for more information about the project.

Admission Regulations for Doctoral Studies at Stockholm University are available at: www.su.se/rules and regulations.

Terms of employment

Only a person who will be or has already been admitted to a third-cycle programme may be appointed to a doctoral studentship. 

The term of the initial contract may not exceed one year. The employment may be extended for a maximum of two years at a time. However, the total period of employment may not exceed the equivalent of four years of full-time study. 

Doctoral students should primarily devote themselves to their own education, but may engage in teaching, research, and administration corresponding to a maximum of 20 % of a full-time position. 

Please note that admission decisions cannot be appealed. 

Stockholm University strives to be a workplace free from discrimination and with equal opportunities for all.

Contact

For more information, please contact the PIs, Prof.  Alexander Lyubartsev (Email: alexander.lyubartsev@mmk.su.se) and Prof. Anja-Verena Mudring (Email: anja-verena.mudring@mmk.su.se). For general information about the Department of Materials and Environmental Chemistry, please contact the Head of the Department, Professor Gunnar Svensson, gunnar.svensson@mmk.su.se.

Union representatives

Ingrid Lander (Saco-S), telephone: +46 708 16 26 64, saco@saco.su.se, Alejandra Pizarro Carrasco (Fackförbundet ST/Lärarförbundet), telephone: +46 8 16 34 89, alejandra@st.su.se, seko@seko.su.se (SEKO), and PhD student representative, doktorandombud@sus.su.se.

Application

Apply for the PhD student position at Stockholm University's recruitment system. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the application is complete in accordance with the instructions in the advertisement, and that it is submitted before the deadline.

Please include the following information with your application

  • Your contact details and personal data
  • Your highest degree
  • Your language skills
  • Contact details for 2–3 references

and, in addition, please include the following documents

  • Cover letter
  • CV – degrees and other completed courses, work experience and a list of degree projects/theses
  • Project proposal/Research proposal describing:
    – why you are interested in the field/project described in the advertisement 
    – what makes you suitable for the project in question
  • Degree certificates and grades confirming that you meet the general and specific entry requirements (no more than 6 files)
  • Letters of recommendation (no more than 6 files)
  • Degree projects/theses (no more than 6 files).

The instructions for applicants are available at: How to apply for a position.

You are welcome to apply!

Stockholm University contributes to the development of sustainable democratic society through knowledge, enlightenment and the pursuit of truth.

Closing date: 05/11/2020

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