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PhD student in Organic and Supramolecular Chemistry

Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) The Human Resources Strategy for Researchers
22 Dec 2022

Job Information

Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB)
Engineering of Molecular NanoSystems
Research Field
Chemistry » Organic chemistry
Chemistry » Molecular chemistry
Researcher Profile
First Stage Researcher (R1)
Application Deadline
Type of Contract
Job Status
Hours Per Week
Offer Starting Date
Is the job funded through the EU Research Framework Programme?
H2020 / ERC
Is the Job related to staff position within a Research Infrastructure?

Offer Description

A 4-year PhD fellowship (€2300/month) and a 3-year postdoctoral fellowship are available in the Engineering of Molecular NanoSystems laboratory of the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) to work on the synthesis and development of transmembrane transporters for ions.


These fellowships are offered in the context of a project funded by the European Research Council (ERC) and a project funded by the national foundation for scientific research (FNRS), both aimed at the development of molecular transmembrane transporters for ions and their applications in biology. One candidate will focus on the transport of anions and the other on transition metal cations.

See for recent publications on this topic:

Job description

The successful applicants will join the team of Dr. Hennie Valkenier to work on different aspects of the development of synthetic transmembrane transporters:

  1. Design and synthesis of compounds, in collaboration with Prof. Ivan Jabin (Laboratory of Organic Chemistry).
  2. Studies of the interactions between the synthetic receptors (or ligands) and the ions using various physicochemical methods including NMR, microcalorimetry, and optical spectroscopy.
  3. Transmembrane transport studies in liposomes, using fluorescence and NMR spectroscopy.
  4. Activity studies in cells, in close collaboration with different specialised labs in Belgium, France, and the UK.

Considering the expertise and results obtained so far, testing the activity of compounds will start as soon as the first compounds have been prepared. The successful applicants will thus work closely together with other team members. English and French are the main languages spoken in the laboratory (currently ~10 nationalities), but all results will be disseminated in English (presentations, written reports, and articles). Participation in international conferences will be encouraged.




Research Field
Education Level
Master Degree or equivalent
  • Excellent grades, including for the Master thesis
  • Experience in Synthetic Organic Chemistry
  • Able to synthesise novel compounds and develop robust synthetic routes and protocols
  • Experienced in the structural characterisation of organic compounds, especially by NMR spectroscopy
  • Familiar with the concepts of Supramolecular Chemistry and Coordination Chemistry and the study of host-guest or metal-ligand interactions 
  • Team worker
  • Creativity and problem-solving skills
  • Strongly developed logic and critical thinking skills
  • Excellent communication skills in English
Specific Requirements



Additional Information


The net amount of the doctoral fellowship will be ~€2300/month.

  • EU Citizens and citizens from countries that have a bilateral social security agreement with Belgium: social security coverage including medical insurance, unemployment benefit, retirement pension, maternity leave and child benefit.
  • Non-EU Citizens from countries that have no bilateral social security agreement with Belgium: social security coverage including medical insurance, maternity leave and child benefit.
  • Insurance against accidents in the workplace.
  • Tax exemption.
  • Low-cost private hospitalization insurance.
  • On-site services at the ULB: medical centre, university hospital, sports centre, subsidized restaurants, cultural centre, crèche, activities for children…
Eligibility criteria

Applicants of any nationality are eligible.

Eligible applicants hold a Master degree (or will receive a Master degree no later than summer 2023) in Chemistry or a related field.

Eligible applicants have not worked as an assistant at a university in Belgium for more than 365 days in total prior to the starting date of the doctoral fellowship.

Selection process

Applications should be sent by email to (with as subject: "Application PhD-TransmembraneTransporters, your name") and should include:

  • a cover letter to Dr. Hennie Valkenier, motivating the application for this position and considering the listed requirements
  • a CV, including publications or communications (if applicable)
  • contact details of two persons that can provide a reference

The selection procedure will start once applications from competitive candidates have been received and will remain open till filled.

The starting date of this PhD position is flexible, between 1 May and 1 October 2023.

Additional comments

The fellowship will be awarded for 12 months, renewable to a total of 4 years upon a positive evaluation.


Work Location(s)

Number of offers available
Université libre de Bruxelles
Postal Code
Avenue Paul Héger

Where to apply



50 Avenue F.D. Roosevelt
Postal Code