Postdoctoral researcher in supramolecular catalyst development

Research / Academic

At the Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences (HIMS) we are looking for a postdoctoral researcher in supramolecular catalyst development for carbohydrate chemistry.

Carbohydrates are the most versatile class of biomolecules and play an important role in many malignant biological processes such as diabetes, infection, and cancer metastasis. Synthesizing complex carbohydrate molecules is thus a crucial aspect of research aimed at intervening in such processes. This clearly has pharmacological implications. Current methods based on (fragile) enzymes and/or (multi-step) organic synthesis can be time-consuming and/or poorly adapted for large-scale synthesis. Carbohydrates are also widely regarded as the future feedstock for the chemical industry.

In an ongoing project we aim to develop supramolecular macrocyclic cage-like (homogeneous) catalysts that can selectively and in one-pot derivatize a carbohydrate like D-glucose. This has never been attempted before and positive results may lead to a new sub-field within carbohydrate chemistry. So far, we have several caging molecules of unique design that can bind to monosaccharides. In this project, the aim is to exploit these molecules in a catalytic conversion of unprotected or minimally protected carbohydrates.

The challenge for you will be to make our developed carbohydrate binders and disclose their catalytic potential. The project will require the use of organic and inorganic synthesis and various physical techniques such as NMR, MS, UV-Vis, IR, fluorescence, CD, ITC and HPLC.

What are you going to do?

As postdoctoral researcher you will:

  • synthesize a variety of organic and organometallic molecules;
  • characterize these molecules with an array of techniques (NMR, MS, etc.);
  • study the binding properties of caging molecules for monosaccharides;
  • test carbohydrate binders for their catalytic activity;
  • analyse complex reaction mixtures with TLC/HPLC/NMR;
  • adjust catalyst designs to refine the binding and catalysis properties of working catalysts;
  • provide daily guidance to BSc and/or MSc students working with you on a project;
  • write scientific papers about your discoveries;
  • keep updated with relevant literature related to the research project;
  • participate in research discussions, including own research involvement.


  • A PhD in Molecular Chemistry;
  • experience with homogeneous catalysis and (in)organic synthesis;
  • affinity with physical and analytical chemistry;
  • proven skills to (relatively) independently write a scientific paper in English;
  • ability to guide students at the BSc and MSc level;
  • good communication skills in English;
  • ability to collaborate and adapt in an international team.

Salary Benefits:

We offer a temporary contract for 38 hours per week, preferably starting 1 September 2019. This full-time offer is for the duration of 12 months with a possible extention of 6 months and a trial period of 2 months. The salary will be in accordance with the University regulations for academic personnel, and will range from €2,709 to €4,207 (salary scale 10) gross per month based on a full time employment and depending on expertise and previous experience. This is exclusive of 8% holiday allowance and 8,3% end-of-year bonus. A favourable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities is applicable.

Are you curious about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits like our excellent opportunities for study and development? Take a look at our website

Work Hours:

38 hours per week


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