Job details

Recruitment result
Place of work

Institute of Physical Chemistry PAS, Team 20 “Cooperative catalysis”

Funding institution

National Science Centre of Poland

Project description

Project title, type and project number

Combined experimental and theoretical studies of the catalytic activity of RPE65 enzyme using biomimetic active centre models (CatVis) 2020/39/B/ST4/01952, 50/2023

Project leader

Dr hab. Adam Kubas


The major aim of the CatVis project is to investigate the essential part of the classical visual cycle, the mechanism of all-trans-retinyl ester transformation into 11-cis-retinol carried out by the retinal pigment epithelium 65 kDa protein (RPE65). Whereas genetic disorders that lead to lack of the active RPE65 enzyme causes blindness, controlled inhibition of the protein was recently shown to be promising in macular degeneration treatment. Thus, our multidisciplinary project will focus on two particular mechanistic aspects of the RPE65-dependent step of the visual cycle: the function of the active site and the influence of the protein scaffold. The hypothesis that will be tested in the project is the involvement of an intermediate state that, from a quantum chemical point of view, is a superposition of cationic and radical states.

Our comprehensive approach will include synthesis of the biomimetic models of the RPE65 active site and spectroscopic investigation of its reactivity towards all-trans-retinyl ester augmented with comparative large-scale quantum chemical simulations of the model vs. enzymatic system. The electronic structure of involved species will be investigated with the state-of-the-art table-top X-ray absorption and emission spectroscopy, femtosecond transient absorption spectroscopy, and 2D NMR spectroscopy. The analysis of spectroscopic data will be supported with calculations.

The student involved in the project will carry out quantum chemical calculations that aim to explain the electronic structure changes of the RPE65 active site upon trans to cis isomerization of retinoids.

Job description

Number of vacancies


Key responsibilities include

  • investigation of the electronic structure of RPE65 biomimetic models of the active site
  • simulations of spectroscopic data
  • writing reports and manuscripts’ drafts

Position in the project


Job type

Student – scholarship position


2 000 PLN per month

Position starts on


Maximum planned period of contract/stipend agreement

12 months with the possibility of extension

We offer

  • Participation in high impact research;
  • Access to modern research linfrastructure;
  • Opportunity to work in an interdisciplinary team;
  • Participation in international conferences;

Link to Euraxess website

see website

More details

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Scientific profile of a candidate

First Stage Researcher (R1)


  • Status of a student in Poland (MSc or PhD studies);
  • Specialization in chemistry or physics;
  • Experience in quantum chemical calculations;
  • Experience in programming;
  • Basic knowledge in spectroscopic methods;

Key assessment criteria

  • The candidate’s competence to carry out specific tasks in the research project;
  • Accomplished projects;
  • Research output up to day.
Required documents
  • Scientific curriculum vitae, including a list of scientific achievements
  • Motivation letter
  • At least one recommendation letter
  • A transcript of the grades/credits received during the last stage of studies and grade point average
Recruitment procedure
  • The best applicants will be invited for an interview (on-site or online).
  • The scholarship will be awarded in accordance with the NCN regulations: "Rules of granting scholarships to young scientists in research projects" (Annex to Resolution No 25/2019 of the NCN Council, 14.03.2019) and in accordance with the Employment policy of the Institute of Physical Chemistry PAS ( A scholarship agreement will be signed with successful applicants on condition that the Institute of Physical Chemistry signs the grant agreement with NSC."
  • The commission evaluates applications on a point scale. The scholarship will be awarded to the person who obtains the highest number of points.
  • If  the top candidate does not sign the contract, due to the resignation, we reserve the right to choose the next candidate from the ranking list.
  • The results of the competition are made public.
Additional information

Planned interviews: around 20.11.2023 (the recruitment committee reserves the right to conduct an interview with selected candidates, about which they will be informed separately)

How to Apply: Send application directly to; IMPORTANT! email subject: "Recruitment no. 50/2023"


Application deadline

16.11.2023 16:00

Deadline for the settlement of the competition


Archival announcement. We would like to thank all candidates for their submitted applications.

Date of announcement: 31.10.2023

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