Distributed parallel micromanipulation by shaping force fields for biochemistry applications


A postdoctoral position is available at the Department of Control Engineering, Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Czech Technical University in Prague, Czech Republic. A successful candidate is expected to conduct research in the new domain of distributed (micro)manipulation by shaping force fields using arrays of (micro)actuators with strong focus on applications in biochemistry. In particular, electrical field will be shaped by controlling voltages applied to a planar array of microelectrodes, leading to the so-called dielectrophoretic manipulation with cell-mimicking microparticles such as liposomes in a liquid environment, but combination with other electrokinetic and microfluidic phenomena will also be explored. It is expected that the theoretical research in the algorithmic domain will be accompanied by laboratory experimentation with microfluidic devices.

The applied motivation for the research comes through the participation in a multipartner "Center of Excellence for Advanced Bioanalytical Technologies", wherein the other two partner groups are analytical chemistry and biochemistry laboratories. Tight interactions with these researchers are expected. See more details on the starting project at http://www.biocentex.cz.

Applicants of two possible research profiles are sought:

  1. Either they should have a solid theoretical background in systems & signals-based fields such as control engineering, robotics and automation proved by a few solid journal publications. Some previous exposure to electrokinetics and general microfluidics and microsystems will be an excellent advantage but is not required. However, strong engineering spirit and ability to set up and conduct independent laboratory experiments using microscopes, digital cameras, signal generators, amplifiers and rapid prototyping systems (Matlab/Simulink or Labview based)  is required.
  2. Or they should have a firm background in electrokinetics and/or general microfluidics including at least modest level of mastering microfabrication procedures, and good modeling and experimentation skills proved by a few solid journal papers. Nonetheless, since the project is of strong of multidisciplinary flavour, eagerness to learn new things from the fields such as control systems, robotics, automation and computer science is the key component in the applicants' motivation in order to make the interactions in the team feasible.

The applicant will become a member of Czech Technical University in Prague, the most prestigious technical university in Czech Republic, located in the very center of the beautiful city of Prague. The home department for the applicant will be Department of Control Engineering. The department is lead by Prof. Michael Sebek - a researcher in control-oriented algorithms for polynomials and polynomial matrices, also a co-founder of PolyX company producing Polynomial Toolbox for Matlab. Other professors are Prof. Vladimir Kucera - one of the pioneers of the polynomial approach to linear control and a former IFAC president, Prof. Vladimir Havlena - a "senior fellow" researcher in Prague Honeywell Laboratory specializing in estimation and filtering for industrial processes, and Prof. Sergej Celikovsky - a renowned expert in nonlinear systems theory. Apart from the theoretical domains represented by these professors and their research assistants and students, the department has a strong local industrial collaboration in diverse areas of industrial automation. Quick link to the bilingual annual report is http://dce.fel.cvut.cz/the-department/annual-reports/. The actual research group with which the applicant would stay is the recently established http://aa4cc.dce.fel.cvut.cz/.

Applicants will also be asked to supervise a team of undergraduate and/or graduate students working on this project, hence good communication skills are needed.

Knowledge of Czech language not needed.

The initial appointment is for one year, with the possibility to extend up to three years. The deadline for submitting an application is May 31, 2012. The pre-selected candidates will be invited for an interview in June 2012. The appointment will start in July 2012 (or depending on the negotiation).

Competitive salary can be offered and depending on the expertize also further negotiated.

Interested candidates should contact Dr. Zdenek Hurak (hurak [at] fel [dot] cvut [dot] cz). The application should contain a CV, a formal letter of interest, a list of the candidate's conference and journal publications, with the best three publications attached. Contact details for three researchers who are willing to provide a reference must be also given.

Contact person: 
Zdeněk Hurák