Current vacancies

Optics / photonics engineer or physicist

Context and background

The Lab. for General Biochemistry and Physical Pharmacy is a world-leading research group on drug delivery by nanomedicines. Apart from its expertise on the development of new nanomaterials for drug delivery, the group has specialized in the development and application of biophotonics technologies for (1) studying the interaction of nanomaterials with biological tissues and (2) for achieving light-mediated drug delivery and therapies. A recent example is the development of ‘photoporation’ as a new technology for delivering compounds into cells and tissues, or for the treatment of ocular diseases. In addition, the group is leading the Ghent University’s Centre for Advanced Light Microscopy, which further testifies to its leading role on optical technologies in the life sciences.
The Lab. for General Biochemistry and Physical Pharmacy hosts 5 professors and their multidisciplinary research teams which collaborate closely on a daily basis. With approximately 40 researchers, the group is looking for a talented and motivated optics/photonics engineer or physicist to provide high-level support to the optics activities which are an integral part of many research projects. Tasks include building dedicated optical setups, ensuring proper operation and quality control of existing optical systems in the lab, providing support with image and data analysis, and support innovation of our research activities e.g. by introducing new optical technologies in the lab. Despite the fact that for these tasks the main emphasis will be on optics, a broader interest and willingness is required to contribute to other research projects where engineering is crucial.

Selected publications

1. Braeckmans K., Buyens K., Bouquet W., Vervaet C., Joye P., De Vos F., Plawinski L., Doeuvre L., Angles-Cano E., Sanders N.N., Demeester J., De Smedt S.C. Sizing nanomatter in biological fluids by fluorescence Single Particle Tracking. Nano Letters 10, 4435-4442 (2010).
2. Deschout H., Raemdonck K., Stremersch S., Maoddi P., Mernier G., Renaud P., Jiguet S., Hendrix A., Bracke M., Van den Broecke R., Röding M., Rudemo M., Demeester J., De Smedt S.C., Strubbe F., Neyts K., Braeckmans K. On-chip light sheet illumination enables diagnostic size and concentration measurements of membrane vesicles in biofluids. Nanoscale 6, 1741-1747 (2014).
3. Teirlinck E., Xiong R., Brans T., Forier K., Fraire J., Van Acker H., Matthijs N., De Rijcke R., De Smedt S.C., Coenye T., Braeckmans K. Laser-Induced Vapour Nanobubbles Improve Drug Diffusion and Efficiency in Bacterial Biofilms. Nature Communications 9, Article Number 4518 (2018).
4. Sauvage F., Fraire J.C., Remaut K., Sebag J., Peynshaert K., Harrington M., Van de Velde F.J., Xiong R., Tassignon M.J., Brans T., Braeckmans K., De Smedt S.C. Photoablation of human vitreous opacities by light-induced vapor nanobubbles. ACS Nano 13, 8401-8416 (2019).
5. Xiong R., Hua D., Van Hoeck J., Berdecka D., Léger L., De Munter S., Fraire J., Raes L., Harizaj A., Sauvage F., Goetgeluk G., Pille M., Aalders J., Belza J., Van Acker T., Fernandez E.B., Si T., Vanhaecke F., De Vos W., Vandekerckhove B., van Hengel J., Raemdonck K., Huang C., De Smedt S.C., Braeckmans K. Photothermal nanofibers enable safe engineering of therapeutic cells. Nature Nanotechnology DOI: 10.1038/s41565-021-00976-3 (2021).


• Designing, constructing and optimizing dedicated optical setups to support ongoing research projects.
• Being responsible for existing optical set-ups in the lab, performing maintenance and QC, and giving trainings to new users (e.g. setups for photoporation, experimental microscopy setups etc.).
• Innovation of optics-based technologies for drug delivery, for instance by developing improvements to existing technologies or by introducing new technologies in the lab
• Develop software tools to support quantitative image and data analysis.
• Contribute to more general technical and engineering tasks in the lab, such as ICT related tasks or providing assistance to setting up experimental techniques.
• Contribute to teaching tasks of the lab, such as providing demonstrations for the doctoral’s school specialist course on Light Microscopy and the master’s course on Bionanotechnology.
• Attracting funding by contributing to the writing of research proposals in the field.

Who can apply.

The position is open to motivated candidates with a strong background in the development of optical systems and with a keen interest in interdisciplinary sciences. Eligible candidates must hold a PhD degree in Physics or Engineering Physics or Engineering Photonics, or equivalent. A strong interest in biological and biomedical applications is needed, as well as willingness to work and collaborate in a multidisciplinary team. The candidate must have the willingness and interest to contribute to technical and engineering tasks in the lab in a broad manner. Programming experience is required as well, including LabView and Matlab. The candidate must be able to speak and write fluently in English.

What we offer.

We are looking to extend our team with a highly motivated enthusiastic optics/photonics engineer or physicist to support the optics activities in our lab on a long-term basis. A contract at the level of postdoctoral researcher is offered, starting in February 2022 or as soon as possible afterwards. In case of a positive evaluation 1 year after the start, the contract can be extended for a long-term position. You will be part of a dynamic and multidisciplinary team that is highly motivated to perform high-level research on drug delivery supported by advanced optical technologies.

How to apply.

Please apply for this job via Ghent University’s online jobs platform. Selected candidates will be invited for an interview and further discussion. Additional information about the Lab. Of General Biochemistry and Physical Pharmacy (director: prof. Stefaan De Smedt, co-director: prof. Kevin Braeckmans), can be found on our website: