Open positions

Master and Semester projects

1. Nanopore-based single-molecule proteomics

Keywords: Nanopore, biophysics, protein engineering

Biological nanopores have been successfully applied in sequencing long DNA, and this achievement has inspired its application for single-molecule proteomics, which is an exciting and emerging field to explore. The project will focus on applying various biological pores (that are available in the lab) for application in single-molecule proteomics, including protein sensing and/or sequencing.

Supervisor: Verena Rukes, Chan Cao

Contact: [email protected], [email protected]

Availability: Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2023


2. Structure-function relationship of pore-forming toxins and their application in molecular sensing

Keywords: Bioengineering, biophysics, biosensor, single-molecule detection 

Pore-forming toxins (PFTs), an ancient protein family, produced by many pathogenic bacteria have long fascinated structural biologists, microbiologists, and immunologists. Recently, this family of proteins is growing attention also because of their biotechnological application as nanopore sensors for biological and synthetic molecule sensing and sequencing. During this project, by engineering single and/or multi amino acids of aerolysin, we expect to control the sensing capability of aerolysin nanopores for biomolecules of interest, expanding its sensing applications and meantime achieving a more accurate molecular detection.

Supervisor: Juan Francisco Bada Juarez, Chan Cao

Contact: [email protected], [email protected] 

Availability: Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2023


PhD positions in nanopore sensing

We are seeking highly motivated candidates with an interest in nanopore single-molecule sensing to join Dr. Chan Cao’s group at the School of Life Science, EPFL (Switzerland).

This newly established research group is focused on developing novel approaches to address questions in life science and diagnosis at the single-molecule level, especially specialized in nanopore technology. Nanopore measurement is an electrophoretic approach that allows the characterization of molecules of interest in real-time with sub-angstrom resolution and without the need for additional labels/amplification in aqueous solution. It has been successfully applied in sequencing long fragments of DNA and has shown great potential for single-molecule proteomics applications. The main goal of the group is to push the limits of nanopore technology and maximize its potential for as many fields of application as possible. In this position, you will join a dynamic team of computational & structure biologists, biophysicists, biochemists and analytical chemists.

The applicant should have at least one of the following backgrounds: biophysics, biochemistry, analytical chemistry, molecular biology or biomolecule synthesis. Experience in protein production and good programming skills is an advantage. 

The applicant who is interested in this position, please send your resume to Dr. Chan Cao ([email protected])

The position is part of a Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) PRIMA project and the student will be co-supervised by Dr. Chan Cao, Prof. Matteo Dal Peraro and/or Prof. Gisou van der Goot.

Doctoral programs in Biotechnology and Bioengineering (EDBB) and Molecular life Science (EDMS). For more details please check: