Postdoctoral position in Ecotoxicology-on-a-chip

Uppsala University

Application deadline

July 24, 2020

Postdoctoral position in “Ecotoxicology-on-a-chip”

Seeking a motivated, technically skilled and creative researcher for a highly interdisciplinary project funded through a Swedish Research council (VR) starting grant and housed in the Evolutionary Biology Center (EBC) at Uppsala University, Sweden. We are looking for candidates who can creatively contribute to interdisciplinary work, are highly independent and who thrive in an informal, hands-on lab with a flat hierarchy and friendly people.

Research in the Behrendt Lab explores the functional responses of single microorganisms in relation to their physical and chemical environment. Specifically, we combine microfluidic lab-on-a-chip approaches with high-throughput single-cell physiological readouts (automated microscopic imaging, molecular readouts and chemical interrogations) to obtain data for the risk assessment of pollutants under forecasted climate change scenarios.

Project description

To quantify the effects of singular- and combined stressors on the metabolism of single cells, this project will combine two key technologies, (i) microfluidics and (ii) quantitative phase imaging (QPI), into a novel, high-throughput ‘Ecotoxicology-on-a-chip’ approach. Where microfluidics enables the accurate delivery of multiparametric stressors (e.g. temperature and chemicals) to immobilized cells, QPI concurrently measures the dry-mass in exposed cells. Biological model systems to-be-investigated include single-cells of marine bacteria and phytoplankton, which, due to their fundamental role in carbon cycling and primary production, are of great global and ecological relevance.

Work in this project will provide a major leap forward in our understanding on the role of environmental factors in controlling pollutant toxicity towards single cells. In addition to answering fundamental questions of environmental relevance, a commercialization of the resulting technology for rapid toxicity monitoring will also be pursued.


Specific tasks in this project include (i) the operation of a QPI imaging platform, (ii) the coupling of QPI to existing and to-be-developed microfluidic platforms, (iii) the use of this ‘Ecotoxicology-on-a-chip’ approach to measure the effect of environmental and toxicological stressors on the dry-mass of single-cells. Results are to be analyzed and reported in scientific publications.


For further information about the research project, contact Lars Behrendt,


Last updated: 2020-06-17

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