Development of a new generation of mass measuring device based on NEMS sensors for biological applications.
Nano-Electro-Mechanical systems (NEMS) have been a field of extremely active research for more than a decade now. They are of particular interest for a wide range of applications, from quantum measurements to biotechnology. CEA LETI MINATEC has been designing, modeling, fabricating and characterizing NEMS-based mass sensors for several years. The extremely low mass of those nanodevices allow them to reach unprecedented mass resolutions, of the order of 1 zg (10-21g). The EDyP team of the Large Scale Biology laboratory develops analytical technologies for the measurement of the protein complement of biological systems. Over the past two decades, the laboratory has acquired extensive expertise in high-end MS instrumentation and its use to achieve protein identification and quantification. Current efforts include the extension of these technologies towards the direct analysis of massive species such as intact proteins or supra-molecular complexes. Their characterization remains a significant challenge for conventional mass spectrometers, and motivate efforts toward alternative analytical devices such as NEMS sensors.
The objective of this Post-doctoral appointment is to implement a new type of interface for NEMS-based mass measurement of high mass nano-bio-particles. A prototype system has been built using commercial and custom designed part integrating a particle source, a focusing interface, and a vacuum system containing the NEMS detector operating at cryogenic temperature. The next stages consist in characterizing and optimizing the particle transfer interface to allow efficient transmission of nano-bio-particles to the NEMS detector, and in exploring applications on biologically relevant systems (viral particles, supramolecular complexes). In particular, biological samples purification and preparation will be optimized. The work will be performed in close cooperation between the post-doctoral appointee and experts in NEMS, mass spectrometry, and bio-macromolecular complexes.
We are looking for a senior or junior post-doctoral fellow with a PhD in biochemistry, physical or analytical chemistry, or engineering, having significant training and hands-on experience in biological mass spectrometry and possibly so-called “Native MS”. An interest in instrumentation and metrology would be appreciated Applicants must provide evidence of academic and/or engineering performance with a strong publication record, excellent writing and communication skills, and a commitment to work on scientifically challenging problems. She/he must also have a taste for multidisciplinary team work, including physics, chemists and biologists. All group members are expected to contribute to the progress of the whole project in line with other tasks, and publish their work in top scientific journals in timely fashion.