Contact: Prof. dr. Frederic Lynen

Separation Science Group
Department of Organic and Macromolecular Chemistry
Ghent University
Krijgslaan 281, S4-bis, 4th floor
B-9000 GENT



PhD Position (m/f) – 1

Novel temperature responsive stationary phase for 1D and 2D-LC

Ghent University

Project description

Temperature is increasingly used to optimized and control separation processes in (U)HPLC. This is e.g. the case with temperature responsive liquid chromatography which makes use of stimuli-responsive polymers such as poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) (PNIPAAm) which can be immobilized on silica particles in packed HPLC columns. Such columns allow reversed phase type HPLC analysis under purely aqueous mobile phase conditions whereby retention is only controlled by temperature. While the latter presents obvious environmental benefits, exploitation of alternative benefits offered by such gradient free types of separation techniques in multidimensional 2D-LC or for more universal detection strategies might be similarly impactful. In this work the PhD researcher will therefore synthesize novel, more retentive, temperature responsive polymers allowing broader utilization as retentive and trapping phases in aqueous media in 1D and 2D-LC(-MS) separations and paving the way for the design of more effective thermal modulation for LCxLC. Column efficiencies in TRLC will also be enhanced by the development of alternative column designs while the potential of combined TRLC phases will be studied. Additionally, the possibility of preparative TRLC and of TRLC in alternative mobile phases compositions will be investigated. Because temperature can be effectively exploited for e.g. localized cooling of connecting segments between consecutive HPLC columns leading to enhanced peak capacities, this concept will also be further studied for the possibilities it offers in qualitative and quantitative LCxLC(-MS), heart cutting 2D-LC and in combination with SFC. The developed separation techniques will be applied for the analysis of natural and synthetic mixtures in combination with mass spectrometry to allow comparison with current state-of-the-art approaches.


Employment conditions

Ghent University is a 200-year-old top 100 university, particularly excelling in natural sciences and in the field of chemistry. The university comprises 11 faculties and more than 43000 students. The work will be executed in the Separation Science Group (SSG) at Ugent and at the department of Chemical Engineering (CHIS) at the Free University of Brussels under the supervision of Prof. F. Lynen (Ugent, supervisor) and Prof. K. Broeckhoven (VUB co-supervisor). The researcher will be remunerated with a competitive salary similar to wages of early career researchers in industry. Ugent offers an attractive package of fringe benefits (including excellent work facilities, child care, sport facilities, subsidized commuting expenses by public transport or by bicycle, subsidized lunch facilities, etc.). The candidate is expected to communicate and fine-tune his or her research regularly with the other 16 PhD and postdoctoral researchers (at VUB, KULeuven and ULiege) in the EOS project he will be active in. The candidate is expected to finish the project with a PhD thesis and disseminate the results through publications in peer-reviewed journals and presentations at international conferences.


Profile of the candidate

We are looking for a highly motivated and creative PhD candidate who has:

  • An excellent master’s degree or an international equivalent in the relevant fields of chemistry; chemical engineering; pharmaceutical analysis or bioengineering;
  • A strong interest in separation sciences and chemical analysis;
  • Prior experience in polymer synthesis is a must;
  • Excellent research and scientific writing skills;
  • Perseverance and an independent, pro-active, working style;
  • The willingness to look beyond borders of his or her own discipline and strong motivation to work in a multidisciplinary team;
  • Excellent collaboration and communication skills (written and verbally) in English.


How to apply

To apply for this position, please send your c.v., motivation letter, a pdf copy of your Masters’ thesis and the contact information of two individuals to provide a recommendation to The application deadline is August 10th 2019. The starting date of the contract will be October 1st 2019 (or if possible earlier). Mention the PhD project (1 or 2) you are applying for.