Application deadline: May 15, 2018

Two Early Stage Researcher (ESR) positions are available to work and study in the group of Professor Francesco Ricci in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Rome, Tor Vergata, Italy.

Research area and project description:

Position 1: Design and characterization of DNA-based responsive units:

The ESR will i) Develop DNA-based functional responsive units that undergo binding-induced conformational changes in the presence of specific molecular cues (i.e. small molecules, enzymes, antibodies etc) or in response to environmental (i.e. pH, temperature) or electrochemical stimuli; ii) Characterize the thermodynamic of the responsive units using both optical and electrochemical labels; iii) Demonstrate the use of responsive units for sensing and diagnostic applications.

The position is for 3 years and is funded by the PhD school DNA-Robotics, a recently established Innovative Training Network (ITN) under the European Commission’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions research fellowship programme. DNA-Robotics ( will foster the development of a new generation of scientists with the skills required to meet futures challenges in bionanotechnology, from fundamental science to novel applications. Each position involves about 6 months of secondments in total at one or more of the other partner universities in the network.


To qualify for funding under the rules of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie action, candidates must: i) not have lived in Italy for more than 12 months in the last 3 years ii) not already possess a PhD degree and iii) be in the first four years of their research career, since, for example, completion of a masters’ degree. 

Qualifications and specific competences:

The successful candidate should have completed a master’s degree (or equivalent) in chemistry, molecular biology, biotechnology or related disciplines no later than October 1, 2018. The candidate should have laboratory experience within experimental chemistry, biophysics, analytical chemistry or molecular biology. Specific experience in the following fields/techniques would be also appreciated: modeling and simulation softwares, electrochemical and optical (fluorescence) techniques, surface characterization techniques (AFM).

Application procedure and deadlines

Applications are invited especially for final year undergraduates or recent graduates who satisfy the eligibility criteria. These candidates can start a 3-year PhD course at the University of Rome Tor Vergata as part of the DNA-Robotics training programme.

The application procedure contains two steps:

First: applicants must send an application containing: a motivation letter and a CV (including date of birth, nationality and a photo) to Professor Francesco Ricci by email ( The deadline for the initial application is May 15, 2018.

Second:  selected candidates will be invited for a skype call and possibly a visit to the research group of Professor Ricci in June/July 2018. The selected candidate, for which funding is secured, will then apply to the PhD School of Chemistry, University of Rome Tor Vergata in August, 2018 for enrolment on November 1, 2018.

Starting date is flexible (from September 2018) but for a PhD the preferred starting date is 1st November 2018.

For further information please contact Professor Francesco Ricci by email ( writing “DNA-Robotics” in the subject line, and/or visit the homepage of the research group