NCBS-InStem-IC Postdoctoral Fellowship



The position

We seek highly motivated, outstanding and adventurous candidates from the engineering and physical sciences for two (theoretical and experimental) NCBS-InStem-IC Postdoctoral Fellowships to investigate challenging problems in the Physics of Living Systems. 

We propose to use the principles of soft condensed matter physics, fluid mechanics, and non-equilibrium physics to study the structure and form of complex compartments within the cell. Specifically, we are interested in the control of size, shape and spatial positioning of cellular organelles within the trafficking pathway, which are subject to active fission and fusion events. We view such cellular compartments as steady states of a driven non-equilibrium process, which we will investigate theoretically and experimentally.

Theory: We have recently constructed the covariant hydrodynamics of a closed membrane embedded in a Stokesian fluid which is subject to active fission and fusion events. These equations, solved analytically in simple settings, already reveal several exciting results, such as a generic drift instability of the organelle. To explore the full scope of these hydrodynamic equations, we would like to use numerical schemes, such as Boundary Element Methods (BEM) or Finite Element Methods (FEM). We are looking for adventurous and talented post-doctoral fellows who are familiar with or willing to learn these methods.

Experiment: We aim to build in vitro model lipid membrane systems incorporating membrane fusion, sorting and spontaneous scission using a combination of microfluidics and soft matter techniques. Using these basic ingredients, we will study the de novo emergence of features of complex organelles. Of particular emphasis will be the quantitative control of the transport, fusion, fission and segregation of the structures commensurate with in vitro studies. These experiments will be carried out in close collaboration with the theoretical investigations above. We are looking for expertise in artificial membrane systems, microfluidics, microscopy, optical manipulation and related physical techniques. Persons with a theoretical background with a strong interest in building experiments are also encouraged to apply


Our offer

This is a joint research program between theorists (Prof. Madan Rao and Prof. Pierre Sens) and experimentalists (Prof. Patricia Bassereau and Dr. Shashi Thutupalli) at two institutes (National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore, India and the Institut Curie, Paris, France).

The prestigious NCBS-InStem-IC Postdoctoral Fellowship is for 2 years (with a renewal for a maximum of 2 more years) and offers a generous salary, benefits and research/travel expenses. The time of the fellowship is to be divided between the institutions in Bangalore and Paris. Right from the start, the candidate will be encouraged and even expected to develop a great degree of independence — from drafting the initial details of the project within the broad framework outlined and to propose interesting directions going forward. 


Your application

Please send your application (CV, a list of publications and two reference letters) by email to before 1 March 2019.

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