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Self-assembly in polyelectolyte systems using molecular modeling
Université François Rabelais, Tours
Condensed Matter Physics Biophysics 
Full Description:

PhD Offer: It is a 3-years joint Ph.D. thesis between Region Centre (France) and Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, Korea. The Ph.D. candidate will work full-time in Tours (France) but visits to Korea may be scheduled. It is a fully public funding.

Net income / year: 16323 euros. Starting date: Oct. 1st 2015

Description of the University François Rabelais, Tours: A multidisciplinary and health sector public establishment, the University François Rabelais has high potential and assets that ensure it fulfils European higher education and research standards. As an acknowledged leader in its economic, social and cultural environment, the University of Tours is a cutting-edge, innovative establishment promoting humanistic values which are deeply rooted in a region overflowing with history and cultural heritage. The university has 22.000 students enrolled in its programs, and is employing more than 1.300 teaching and research staff and more than 1.000 technical and administrative staff working in 40 research laboratories ( is a human-sized city. With 300,000 inhabitants, the city of Tours has the characteristic to have 40% of its people having less than 30 years old. At 55 minutes from Paris by TGV, Tours has also an airport with a daily service to London. City of the "good life", its advantages are many: the sweetness of the Loire river, its many parks and public gardens, sports clubs, cultural and associative structures, its historic heritage. Touraine, it is also the land of castles of the Loire: Amboise, Azay-le-Rideau, Chenonceau, Villandry and its gardens, the Clos Luce, Chinon, Langeais, Loches, Ussé.

Description of the laboratory: GREMAN, research group on materials, microelectronics, acoustics & nanotechnology, is a joint research laboratory of Tours University and CNRS in partnership with the French alternative energies and atomic energy commission (CEA) and INSA Centre Val de Loire. This is a  laboratory of over 100 persons with 42 permanent academic staff,  16 administrative & technical staff, 38 PhD students and 10 post-doctoral researchers ('s internal organisation consists in three research axis. They operate on several technological platforms, located in Tours and Blois, in which activities from materials synthesis down to complete system integration can be performed. The CERTeM platform in particular, dedicated to microelectronics and microsystems, includes a 400 m2 class 100 clean room as well as a wide range of characterisation tools. The PhD candidate will work in the research axis "Physics of complex materials and media: interactions, correlations" with the group "Order and disorder in complex physical and biological systems : modeling and numerical simulation". Informations about the activities of the group can be found at:

Description of the thesis: An important class of systems of biological or technological interest is constituted by strongly charged polymers in aqueous solution. The fascinating self-assembly properties that they exhibit are in large part controlled by long-range electrostatic interactions. In presence of various condensing agents such as multivalent ions, proteins, short polyelectrolytes, nanoparticles and so on, the self-assembly process results in the formation of small aggregates with specific characteristics. Compaction and organization of very long DNA into micrometer-size area inside the cell nucleus or inside viruses are natural occurring examples. Due to their biocompatibility, the complexes are also promising for medical applications, especially as vectors for gene and drug delivery to target cells. Polyelectrolytes such as DNA have also recently been used in the emerging fields of nanoelectronics and nanophotonics as templates to self-organize various nanoparticles or conjugated oligomers exhibiting interesting electrical or optical properties in order to fabricate nanostructures such as nanowires and nanolenses.Despite some recent improvements in the understanding of the microscopic mechanisms at play, the prediction and the interpretation of the rich self-assembly phenomena remain very challenging. This is in large part because complex formation results from a delicate balance between energetic and entropic contributions and it is extremely sensitive to a large number of parameters such as the characteristics of the polyelectrolytes and the condensing agents, the mixing conditions, the temperature, the solvent effects and so on.The main objective of the Ph.D. thesis is to better understand the relationship between microscopic characteristics and resulting macroscopic properties through a molecular modeling approach. We will try to draw a generic microscopic picture by studying various polyelectrolyte-condensing agent systems of technological (e.g. nanoelectronics) or biological interest. We will focus more specifically on:-    developing various coarse-grained molecular models with a special emphasis on DNA;-    understanding the kinetics as well as the resulting equilibrium properties of the self-assembly process using the numerical apparatus of statistical physics (e.g. molecular dynamics, Monte Carlo and various hybrid methods to improve sampling and to probe rare events).

Candidate's qualification: We are looking for a candidate highly motivated by working at the interface between physics, biology, chemistry and materials science and strongly interested in applying and/or developing molecular modeling techniques. The candidate should hold a master degree (or equivalent) in physics or closely related field no later than June 2015. Good knowledge of statistical physics is required. Additional knowledge in soft matter physics and biophysics as well as programming skills (C, C++, Python, etc.) will be appreciated.

How to apply: Interested candidate should send a cover letter stating their interests as well as a resume to:

Dr. Yves Lansac


University François Rabelais, Tours, France


Prof. Jang Yun Hee

Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, Gwangju, Korea







Posted on: 23 April 2015Deadline to apply: 15 June 2015Start Date: 01 October 2015 Duration: 36 months
The Fund category is Public Funding - Region (State) and the salary is 20-25k€ annual gross
Doctoral School is Energy - materials - earth and universe sciences in the Centre Region.

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