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Optics / photonics engineer or physicist



Ghent University is a world of its own. Employing more than 8,000 people, it is actively involved in education and research, management and administration, as well as technical and social service provision on a daily basis. It is one of the largest, most exciting employers in the area and offers great career opportunities. With its 11 faculties and more than 80 departments offering state-of-the-art study programmes grounded in research in a wide range of academic fields, Ghent University is a logical choice for its staff and students.

The Lab. for General Biochemistry and Physical Pharmacy is a world-leading research group on drug delivery by nanomedicines. Apart from its expertise on the development of new nanomaterials for drug delivery, the group has specialized in the development and application of biophotonics technologies for (1) studying the interaction of nanomaterials with biological tissues and (2) for achieving light-mediated drug delivery and therapies. A recent example is the development of ‘photoporation’ as a new technology for delivering compounds into cells and tissues, or for the treatment of ocular diseases. In addition, the group is leading the Ghent University’s Centre for Advanced Light Microscopy, which further testifies to its leading role on optical technologies in the life sciences.

The Lab. for General Biochemistry and Physical Pharmacy hosts 5 professors and their multidisciplinary research teams which collaborate closely on a daily basis. With approximately 40 researchers, the group is looking for a talented and motivated optics/photonics engineer or physicist to provide high-level support to the optics activities which are an integral part of many research projects. Tasks include building dedicated optical setups, ensuring proper operation and quality control of existing optical systems in the lab, providing support with image and data analysis, and support innovation of our research activities e.g. by introducing new optical technologies in the lab. Despite the fact that for these tasks the main emphasis will be on optics, a broader interest and willingness is required to contribute to other research projects where engineering is crucial.

Selected publications

1. Braeckmans K., Buyens K., Bouquet W., Vervaet C., Joye P., De Vos F., Plawinski L., Doeuvre L., Angles-Cano E., Sanders N.N., Demeester J., De Smedt S.C. Sizing nanomatter in biological fluids by fluorescence Single Particle Tracking. Nano Letters 10, 4435-4442 (2010).

2. Deschout H., Raemdonck K., Stremersch S., Maoddi P., Mernier G., Renaud P., Jiguet S., Hendrix A., Bracke M., Van den Broecke R., Röding M., Rudemo M., Demeester J., De Smedt S.C., Strubbe F., Neyts K., Braeckmans K. On-chip light sheet illumination enables diagnostic size and concentration measurements of membrane vesicles in biofluids. Nanoscale 6, 1741-1747 (2014).

3. Teirlinck E., Xiong R., Brans T., Forier K., Fraire J., Van Acker H., Matthijs N., De Rijcke R., De Smedt S.C., Coenye T., Braeckmans K. Laser-Induced Vapour Nanobubbles Improve Drug Diffusion and Efficiency in Bacterial Biofilms. Nature Communications 9, Article Number 4518 (2018).

4. Sauvage F., Fraire J.C., Remaut K., Sebag J., Peynshaert K., Harrington M., Van de Velde F.J., Xiong R., Tassignon M.J., Brans T., Braeckmans K., De Smedt S.C. Photoablation of human vitreous opacities by light-induced vapor nanobubbles. ACS Nano 13, 8401-8416 (2019).

5. Xiong R., Hua D., Van Hoeck J., Berdecka D., Léger L., De Munter S., Fraire J., Raes L., Harizaj A., Sauvage F., Goetgeluk G., Pille M., Aalders J., Belza J., Van Acker T., Fernandez E.B., Si T., Vanhaecke F., De Vos W., Vandekerckhove B., van Hengel J., Raemdonck K., Huang C., De Smedt S.C., Braeckmans K. Photothermal nanofibers enable safe engineering of therapeutic cells. Nature Nanotechnology DOI: 10.1038/s41565-021-00976-3 (2021).


  • At least 70% of your assignment will be spent on academic research.
  • Designing, constructing and optimizing dedicated optical setups to support ongoing research projects.
  • Being responsible for existing optical set-ups in the lab, performing maintenance and QC, and giving trainings to new users (e.g. setups for photoporation, experimental microscopy setups etc.).
  • Innovation of optics-based technologies for drug delivery, for instance by developing improvements to existing technologies or by introducing new technologies in the lab
  • Develop software tools to support quantitative image and data analysis.
  • Contribute to more general technical and engineering tasks in the lab, such as ICT related tasks or providing assistance to setting up experimental techniques.
  • Contribute to teaching tasks of the lab, such as providing demonstrations for the doctoral’s school specialist course on Light Microscopy and the master’s course on Bionanotechnology.
  • Attracting funding by contributing to the writing of research proposals in the field.

  • You hold a thesis-based doctorate in Physics or Engineering Physics or Engineering Photonics, or equivalent (obtained max. 6 years ago. This term of 6 years is determined by the date written on the above-mentioned required diploma).
  • We are looking to extend our team with a highly motivated enthusiastic optics/photonics engineer or physicist to support the optics activities in our lab on a long-term basis. A contract at the level of postdoctoral researcher is offered, starting in February 2022 or as soon as possible afterwards. In case of a positive evaluation 1 year after the start, the contract can be extended.
  • The candidate must have a strong interest in biological and biomedical applications, as well as willingness to work and collaborate in a multidisciplinary team.
  • The candidate must have the willingness and interest to contribute to technical and engineering tasks in the lab in a broad manner.
  • Programming experience is required as well, including LabView and Matlab.
  • The candidate must be able to speak and write fluently in English.
  • Optics / photonics engineer or physicist

    Universiteit Gent, Ghent
    Degree level: