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Postdoctoral Research Associate (F/M/X)

“Multiscale Structure-Mechanics Relationships of Hydrogels”


Project Description

Hydrogels find widespread use in biomedical applications, serving as versatile platforms for drug delivery, tissue engineering, and regenerative medicine. Their viscoelastic properties are crucial for their performance in biological systems. These properties are influenced by the molecular characteristics of network chains and crosslinks, as well as network topology and hierarchical structure formation. Understanding these structure-property relationships across multiple hierarchical levels is essential for the bottom-up design and synthesis of hydrogels with tuneable structure and viscoelasticity. In this project, we aim to integrate synthetic polymers with engineered protein-based molecular building blocks. Initially, we will focus on elucidating if and how structure, assembly state and stability of the molecular building blocks control the bulk hydrogel properties. Subsequently, fluorescence reporter systems will be introduced to directly observe crosslink assembly states, determine the number of formed crosslinks, and track material failure and self-healing processes during and after mechanical deformation. The overarching objective of this project is to develop mechanically controlled and self-reporting hydrogels capable of optically visualizing cell-generated traction forces in a 3D environment.



You hold a PhD in (Bio)Physics, Physical or Polymer Chemistry, or Materials Science. Building upon your solid foundation in one of these fields, you are eager to expand your skill set and knowledge by acquiring new skills and techniques from various research disciplines. You will prepare biohybrid hydrogels, perform force spectroscopy and rheology of building blocks and hydrogels, and develop, characterize and implement fluorescent reporter systems. This project flourishes through collaboration, both within JKU and beyond. Hence, a strong interest in multidisciplinary teamwork is essential. A growth mindset, independent thinking, and effective communication are key attributes for steering the success of the project.


JKU is dedicated to fostering equality and diversity. We invite applicants from all backgrounds, irrespective of gender, ethnicity, disability, or sexual orientation. In the Department of Biomolecular & Selforganizing Matter (BiOM), we strive to create an environment where everyone can authentically be themselves, share insights, learn collaboratively, and excel in their work.


Application Deadline: June 5, 2024

Starting Date: September 01, 2024 (temporary contract with a duration of 2 years)

How to Apply: Please submit your application via our online portal, öffnet eine externe URL in einem neuen Fenster.

Contact: Prof. Dr. Kerstin Blank, P +43 732 2468 9811, Email: kerstin.blank(at)jku.at