Lunds universitet, kemiska institutionen (Nfak)

Lund University was founded in 1666 and is repeatedly ranked among the world’s top universities. The University has around 47 000 students and more than 8 800 staff based in Lund, Helsingborg and Malmö. We are united in our efforts to understand, explain and improve our world and the human condition.

Lund University welcomes applicants with diverse backgrounds and experiences. We regard gender equality and diversity as a strength and an asset.

Subject description

Biological materials such as plant seeds, bone, and skin present a variability of microscopic structures, which in turn determine the complex functionality for life and health. The spatial variability of microscopic structure is of high importance to better understand how mechanical loads and chemical environments affect the materials in structure and function.

In this context, small- and wide-angle X-ray scattering with a microfocus beam is an emerging technique with strong future prospects that allows to study the spatial distribution of specific nanoscopic structural patterns. In addition, simultaneous X-ray fluorescence allows to monitor the related chemical compositions in the different spots.

As central goal, this project supervised by Associate Professor Felix Roosen-Runge aims at the characterization of macromolecular microstructure in plant seeds, and related implications for optimization of extraction protocols for more sustainable food protocols. Proteins from plant seeds present promising opportunities to replace animal-derived food proteins with a more sustainable, healthy and affordable protein source. However, plant seeds have been selected for efficient and long-lasting storage of proteins, so that an efficient non-destructive extraction of proteins presents a considerable challenge. In this context, microscopic structure is an essential information for novel extraction pathways.

The postdoctoral researcher will be part of a collaborative network of students and researchers at the division of Physical Chemistry ( at Lund University.

Work duties

In this postdoctoral project, we focus on spatial variation of microscopic structure in plant seeds by using combinations of scanning X-ray scattering with scanning X-ray fluorescence, X-ray tomography, and optical and electron microscopy.

Specific tasks will be preparation and conductance of experimental campaigns at synchrotron facilities such as MAX IV (Lund) or ESRF (Grenoble, France), the establishment of a suitable data analysis framework (python-based) targeted at the measured big data sets, and subsequent scientific analysis and interpretation, also involving machine-learning approaches.

To develop and benchmark the analysis, we will on the one hand aim to employ available frameworks and python modules as much as reasonable, and on the other hand use already measured data sets on biological materials such as pea seeds, bone, teeth or skin. The postdoctoral researcher thus will have the opportunity to experience the broad applicability of the methodology hands-on.

The research group has a deep expertise and a strong track record with large-scale facility research at synchrotron and neutron facilities, such as MAX IV and ESS in Lund. The postdoctoral researcher will have the opportunity to experience these unique and world-leading scientific environments during experimental campaigns, and strengthen general soft skills by co-managing these team-based experimental campaigns and writing competitive proposals for measurement time. The research project will develop expertise in data analysis and scientific computing as a key skill in the era of big data sets.

The work will be performed in a team of PhD and project students, postdoctoral researchers and the supervisor, focused on the optimization of protein extraction for subsequent tunable formation of protein gels. We aim for an interactive and team-based research program, in which each member is encouraged to actively contribute with ideas and competence to a common scientific progress. The postdoctoral researcher will have the opportunity to participate in national and international workshops and conferences - not only to present and disseminate the research, but also to strengthen the personal network with other researchers and collaborators.

We aim for the postdoctoral researcher to grow as an active and independent researcher at the interdisciplinary boundary between biological and soft matter and synchrotron science.

The main duties involved in a post-doctoral posistion is to conduct research. Teaching may also be included, but up to no more than 20% of working hours. The position shall include the opportunity for three weeks of training in higher education teaching and learning.

Qualification requirements

Appointment to a post-doctoral position requires that the applicant has a PhD, or an international degree deemed equivalent to a PhD, within the subject of the position, completed no more than three years before the date of employment decision. Under special circumstances, the doctoral degree can have been completed earlier.

Additional requirements:

  • Very good oral and written proficiency in English.
  • Good knowledge and skills relevant to the work duties.
  • Ability to work independently and to formulate and tackle research problems.

Assessment criteria and other qualifications

This is a career development position primarily focused on research. The position is intended as an initial step in a career, and the assessment of the applicants will primarily be based on their research qualifications and potential as researchers.

Particular emphasis will be placed on research skills within the subject.

For appointments to a post-doctoral position, the following shall form the assessment criteria:

  • A good ability to develop and conduct high quality research.
  • Teaching skills.

Additional assessment criteria:

  • Hands-on and theoretical knowledge of one or several of the following experimental methods are a strong merit: data analysis of larger data sets; scientific scripting (e.g. python, matlab); X-ray scattering and fluorescence (e.g. SAXS, WAXS, XRD, XRF); X-ray tomography; optical or electron microscopy; sample preparation using microtomes
  • Motivation and documented ability to actively contribute to an interdisciplinary and international research environment are a merit.

Consideration will also be given to good collaborative skills, drive and independence, and how the applicant’s experience and skills complement and strengthen ongoing research within the department, and how they stand to contribute to its future development.

Terms of employment
This is a full-time, fixed-term employment of 2 years. The period of employment is determined in accordance with the agreement “Avtal om tidsbegränsad anställning som postdoktor” (“Agreement on fixed-term employment as a post-doctoral fellow”) between Lund University, SACO-S and OFR/S, dated 1st February 2022.

Instructions on how to apply

Applications shall be written in English and be compiled into a PDF-file containing:

  • résumé/CV, including a list of publications,
  • a general description of past research and future research interests (no more than three pages),
  • contact information of at least two references,
  • copy of the doctoral degree certificate, and other certificates/grades that you wish to be considered. 
Type of employment Temporary position
Contract type Full time
First day of employment 2023-09-01 or as agreed
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100
City Lund
County Skåne län
Country Sweden
Reference number PA2023/2506
  • Ulf Olsson,, 046-2228159
  • Erik Andersson Jardby,
Union representative
  • OFR/ST:Fackförbundet ST:s kansli, 046-2229362
  • SACO:Saco-s-rådet vid Lunds universitet,
Published 10.Jul.2023
Last application date 12.Sep.2023 11:59 PM CEST

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