Assistant Professor Biophysics of drug-target interactions

The Chemistry & Pharmaceutical Sciences department of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is a stronghold in the national focus area Chemistry of Life. Research is centred around the main molecular disciplines in early discovery, molecular toxicology, systems-based biochemistry, computer-aided drug design and organic synthesis of biologically active compounds. The two main research lines of the Medicinal Chemistry group are Fragment-Based Drug Discovery and G protein-Coupled Receptors. As part of a multidisciplinary team and collaborative environment, we offer access to state-of-the-art laboratories (that include among others high-throughput screening, X-ray protein & small molecule crystallography, SPR, ITC and NMR facilities) as well as a wide range of CADD, organic synthesis, biochemical, pharmacological, chemical biology and analytical instrumentation. The new assistant professor will employ biophysical techniques to screen existing fragment- and drug-like molecule libraries and antibodies and study their interaction with important protein drug targets that are being studied in the Medicinal Chemistry group. Next to the state-of-the-art equipment that is available in the department, we want to intensify our links with the VU Physics department as this will allow the use of emerging technologies. The position will also strengthen the BSc program Pharmaceutical Sciences, the MSc program Drug Discovery and Safety and can potentially also participate in the BSc and MSc programs in Chemistry (Joint Degree with the University of Amsterdam) and Science Business Innovation.

Job Description

While given time to grow as academic researcher, the position will ultimately involve research, education and management tasks (40%, 40%, 20%) and include the following responsibilities:

Your duties
  • Developing an own creative research line by developing biophysical screening assays and participating in multi-disciplinary collaborations that aim to study molecular features of ligand-protein interaction of interest. 
  • Pursuing a continuous output by publishing in journals as leading author (and/or in a bigger team).
  • Acquisition of external funding for research.
  • Building up a successful group around your field of expertise (on the long term), amongst others by recruiting talented students.
  • The Medicinal Chemistry group has excellent ties to biotech companies and the successful candidate will be encouraged to strengthen and broaden these.
  • (Co-)supervision of PhD students, junior researchers/lecturers and postdoctoral researchers.
  • Actively promoting the group's research to gain (international) visibility.
  • Willing to contribute to the available teaching opportunities, e.g., in the MSc program Drug Discovery and Safety.


  • You have completed a PhD in the field of Medicinal Chemistry, Biochemistry or Biophysics (or related) with ample experience in establishing and employing biophysical assays
  • You have several years of postdoctoral research experience in a relevant field, preferably outside of the institute where you earned your PhD
  • You have a solid track record in the field of biophysical screening and interrogation of drug-target interactions
  • You are willing to collaborate in a multidisciplinary team with other researchers of the Medicinal Chemistry group, but also within the AIMMS research institute and in collaboration with the Amsterdam UMC academic hospital; prior experience with such collaborations is an asset
  • You will be able to evaluate and implement technological developments in the field of biophysical techniques for screening and understanding molecular drug-target interactions
  • You have the ability to initiate and build up a line of research, as demonstrated by e.g. acquisition of external funding, PhD/master student supervision, and/or publications as corresponding author
  • You have a basic teaching qualification (BKO) or equivalent, or willingness to acquire such a qualification; prior experience in teaching (development and coordination of courses) in the field of medicinal chemistry or biophysics of drug-target interactions is an asset
  • You have a good command of the Dutch language or are willing to learn it during the first three years of your appointment

What are we offering?

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. On full-time basis the remuneration amounts to a minimum gross monthly salary of € 3,807 (scale 11) and a maximum € 5,211 (scale 11), depending on your education and experience. The job profile is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for 1 FTE. The job profile: is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 1 FTE. This is a tenure track position; the initial appointment will be for a period of five years. Based on performance indicators agreed on at the start of the appointment, a tenure track position will lead to a tenured position of assistant professor 1 (scale 12) in a period of normally 5 years. In the fifth year of the appointment, the tenure decision will be taken and a midterm review will take place in 2,5 years' time after the starting date. Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:
  • Active support in setting up a research group
  • Ample opportunity and support to grow as a scientist, leader and entrepreneur
  • A maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment
  • An 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus
  • Solid pension scheme (ABP)
  • Possibility to save holiday hours, for sabbatical leave
  • Child daycare facilities available on campus

About Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavor – from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 30,000 students. We employ over 5,500 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

The Faculty of Science
The Faculty of Science inspires researchers and students to find sustainable solutions for complex societal issues. From forest fires to big data, from obesity to medicines and from molecules to the moon: our teaching and research programmes cover the full spectrum of the natural sciences. We share knowledge and experience with leading research institutes and industries, both here in the Netherlands and abroad.

Working at the Faculty of Science means working with students, PhD candidates and researchers, all with a clear focus on their field and a broad view of the world. We employ more than 1,250 staff members, and we are home to around 6,000 students.

About the Department of Chemistry & Pharmaceutical Sciences
The Department of Chemistry & Pharmaceutical Sciences (CPS) has approximately 140 employees and actively participates in a wide range of educational programs in the Faculty of Science, including BSc and MSc programs in the fields of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Biomolecular Sciences, Science, Business & Innovation and Chemistry (joint degree with the University of Amsterdam). The department is highly integrated in the Amsterdam Institute for Molecular and Life Sciences (AIMMS), fostering multidisciplinary research efforts in diverse fields ranging from the fundamental understanding of molecular reactivity to drug discovery.


Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until September 1st, 2022. 

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: Prof. Dr. I.J.P de Esch
Position: Professor

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Job area: Assistant Professor
Educational Level: Postdoc, MSc
VU unit: Faculty of Science
Contract type: Temporary with prospects of permanent employment
Minimum FTE: 1
Minimum salary scale: €3,974 (scale 11)
Maximum salary scale: €5,439 (scale 11)
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