MSc or PhD position: Synergy of Small-Angle X-ray Scattering and Molecular Dynamics in the Study of Phospholipid Membranes

Job description

The Research Group for Biological Nanochemistry is looking for a new MSc or PhD student colleague to conduct experimental and computational work in developing a method for the joint application of small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) and molecular dynamics (MD). Although this pairing has already successfully been employed for the case of biological macromolecules, such as proteins, but phospholipid bilayers require very different approaches for both above mentioned research methods.

The fundamental question of this research is composed of the structural properties of natural and artificial, lipid bilayer-based systems, and the interactions of these with other molecules. Of the few experimental methods that can yield detailed information from these systems, eminent is the non-invasive method of small-angle X-ray scattering. With its aid, the structure of the bilayer can be described with nanometric precision. Compared to imaging techniques (e.g. electron microscopy), it does not require special sample preparation, therefore the concomitant experimental artifacts can also be avoided. Its drawback is that the results are indirect, significantly complicating their interpretation. In contrast, the simulation method of molecular dynamics yields information in real space and on the atomic level, although – being an in silico method – the correspondence to reality is frequently questionable. Using the two methods in concert enables not only the interpretation of scattering results, but also to employ the latter for validation of the calculations, or even steer them towards realistic data.

Since its inception, the focus of the Research Group for Biological Nanochemistry was on phospholipid self-assembled systems, eminently bilayers. In the recent years, our interest has shifted towards small vesicles of biological origin, a hot research topic which drew us into many successful cooperations both on the national and international scale.

What we offer to the successful applicant:

  • wide range of experimental and theoretical approaches available locally
  • will gain in-depth knowledge in the above mentioned two research methods, as well as in state-of-the-art data acquisition and analysis techniques
  • working in a friendly (!) and international research group
  • get versed in high-performance computing (HPC) methods
  • possibility to scale up from in-house equipment to large-scale facilities (synchrotron SAXS measurements, high performance computing clusters)
Contract type



For PhD students, the position offers a competitive salary, extension to the state-funded PhD scholarship. For MSc students, a monthly scholarship can be arranged.

Other requirements

The successful candidate will have to enroll into a 4-year PhD curriculum at either the Roland Eötvös University (Chemistry program) or at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics (Physics program), or should already be a MSc student at a Hungarian university.

The sucessful candidate will also be involved in writing and publishing technical reports and research papers as well as presenting results at national and international conferences

Required education and skills

The candidate must:

  • hold a MSc or equivalent degree in physics, chemistry or similar (applicants for the PhD position) or already be an MSc student at a Hungarian university (applicants for the MSc position)
  • have at least basic knowledge in Python programming and scientific data analysis
  • have good communication skills in English, both oral and written
  • be able to work cooperatively with other researchers
Preferred education and skills

We would be happy if the candidate would

  • have in-depth knowledge of the Python programming language
  • have at least basic experience in C/C++
  • have experience with Linux operating systems
  • have already done molecular dynamics simulations or know about small-angle X-ray scattering
The application must contain
  • Detailed curriculum vitae including previous education and research work (if any)
  • List of publications (if any)
  • Application letter
Submit applications to

The application should be submitted to the prospective supervisor (Click here to show mail address) and the leader of the research group, Zoltán Varga (Click here to show mail address).

Submission deadline
Decision and notification

Job interviews will be organized in a continuous fashion, shortly after receiving the application documents. Final notification will take place not later than 31th July.

Position starts

The position starts not later than 1st September 2024, but earlier start can be negotiated.

Further information

For further information or informal inquiries, please contact András Wacha.