Postdoctoral Researcher Opportunity – Keywords: nanosensors, glucose, SERS, in vivo imaging, plasmonics

A research position (post-doctoral fellowship) is immediately available to work on the development of nanosensors for in vivo biosensing, with a focus on continuous glucose monitoring. The Van Duyne lab has established a leadership position in the field of surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) and related techniques to push the limits of molecular sensing.

Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) will enable tighter control of glucose levels for diabetic patients, thus facilitating self-monitoring while providing a more complete view of glucose fluctuations. Developing a CGM system that is minimally invasive and has a long operational window (weeks to months range) is a challenging but likely attainable target to help diabetic patients better control their glucose levels.

This project is part of a collaboration with the Mrskich group at Northwestern University. Two SERS sensors have been designed and several ligands that are specific towards glucose have or are being synthesized and are currently being evaluated. The postdoctoral researcher will be responsible for leading the in vivo evaluation of these sensors in rats.

Preferred Qualifications and Competencies

• Highly motivated researcher with a PhD in biomedical engineering, chemistry, chemical
engineering, or closely related disciplines

• Prior experience working with small live animals (rats)

• Prior experience with real-time bioimaging, SERS and/or SESORS

• Ability and desire to work as a team member on a highly collaborative project

• Self-motivated individual, capable of working independently with minimum guidance

• Excellent communication and project management skills

About this position
Funding for this project has been secured through August 2019. This position is full time and benefits eligible, in accordance with Northwestern University’s Human Resources policies.  Northwestern postdocs have access to professional development and community-building events through the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (

Application steps
Candidates should submit a brief introduction of their academic/research background, curriculum vitae, and contact information for three references to

Postdoctoral Researcher Opportunity

NU-ACCESS Postdoctoral Research Scholarship: Nanoscale Characterization of Reaction Boundaries and Pathways for Metal Carboxylates in Oil Paints

The Northwestern University / Art Institute of Chicago Center for Scientific Studies in the Arts (NUACCESS) is offering a two-year postdoctoral research scholarship (possibly extendable for a third year) to study the chemistry of zinc soaps: organic/inorganic compounds that form by reaction of the Zn oxide pigment with an oil-based (lipidic) binding medium. The postdoctoral position is funded through the NSF grant Partnership in International Research and Education (PIRE): Computationally-Based Imaging of Structure in Materials (CuBISM) (NSF-OISE: 2018-2023). The grant activities overall aim to develop computational and experimental tools needed to understand how artworks undergo change over long periods of time. To accomplish this task a research network has been established between Northwestern University and leaders in cultural heritage science from the Rijksmuseum in the Netherlands, the National Research Council in Italy, and the Sychrtron Soleil in France. Therefore, as part of this project, you will join a vibrant community of graduate and undergraduate students at Northwestern University all working on cultural heritage science projects, an experience enhanced by multi-pronged opportunities for extended periods of international exchange and research (

The specific project is a collaboration between Prof. Richard P. Van Duyne at Northwestern University, Dr. Francesca Casadio at the Art Institute of Chicago and Dr. Katrien Keune at the Rijksmuseum/ University of Amsterdam (UvA). While the main place of work will be the laboratories of the Van Duyne group at Northwestern University, the position includes 2/3 residencies of up to 2 months each in the UvA, allowing the use of the analytical, library and other resources at both institutions.

One of the fundamental phenomena of deterioration of bio-based coatings used in art making is the formation of metal carboxylate salts (“metal soaps”). It is estimated that around 70% of paintings in museum collections are affected by some form of metal soap-related degradation phenomena. The Netherlands has longstanding expertise in the study of material degradation of paintings, especially in the area of metal soaps in art, yet, despite extensive scrutiny many open questions remain. With this project we aim to answer the following fundamental questions:

1) What are the reaction kinetics of the formation and crystallization of Zn soaps in oil? What is the influence of environmental (T, RH%) and anthropic (solvents) parameters on such reaction pathways and kinetics?

2) What happens at reaction boundaries between zinc oxide particles and the organic medium? Can we determine the structure (crystalline, amorphous, type of organic acid) and possible orientation of the newly formed zinc soaps at the nanoscale, from vibrational data?

While working mostly with model systems, this project aims to ultimately develop the Quartz Crystal Microbalance (QCM) as a tool to probe reaction kinetics for these organic/inorganic systems in real time. We also aim to connect the micro-mechanical properties of the studied systems with their chemistry, probed with ultra-high sensitivity and nanometer spatial resolution with tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (TERS). By solving new scientific problems relevant to cultural heritage science, we can further push the limits of using TERS for complex heterogeneous mixtures of non –resonant molecules and overall broaden its general use as a nanoscale analytical technique.

Applicants should have a completed Ph.D. in chemistry or a related discipline, and have demonstrated expertise in the use of Raman spectroscopy, SERS, TERS or related spectroscopic techniques, and familiarity with complementary analytical techniques including SEM/EDX, TEM and FTIR microspectroscopy. Ability for self-directed research and a demonstrated record of peer-reviewed publications are essential requirements of the job. Previous work experience in the cultural heritage field is an advantage; an enthusiasm for studying works of art and historic artifacts is essential.

The application, including cover letter, CV, list of publications, and contact information for two references, should be submitted to For inquiries please contact Francesca Casadio (

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  • Professor Richard Van Duyne

    Additional Information

    Discoverer of Surface-enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (1977)
    Inventor of Nanosphere Lithography (1995) & Localized Surface Plasmon Resonance Spectroscopy (2000)

  • Group Members

    Professor Van Duyne has, in his career to date, advised a total of 87 graduate students and 47 postdoctoral fellows. Every year, Professor Van Duyne gives a talk to introduce new graduate students to our research. The 2017 seminar slides are available here.

  • News

    Professor Van Duyne was recently named a Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellow by the U.S. Department of Defense to conduct "high risk, high payoff" basic scientific research. Read more here