Join us!

(Delft market square: 15 minutes of walk from our lab)Thank you for your interest in joining our lab. If you have any questions about these positions, please don't hesitate to email us at: positions.youkgroup@gmail.com . We will try our best to reply to your email in a timely manner.

Ph.d. students

We are seeking students to join our young lab for their Ph.D. thesis research in Physics, Applied Physics, Quantitative Systems Biology, or Quantitative Synthetic Biology. If you are interested but do not have any previous training in biology, don't worry! But you should already have a Masters degree in either a physical or biological science before doing a Ph.D. in our lab. We welcome students from a wide array of backgrounds such as physics, chemistry, biology, math, and engineering. Although it will enrich your life in the Netherlands, you do not have to speak any Dutch to work, study, and live in Delft or the Netherlands because nearly all Dutch citizen is fluent in both English and Dutch. English can be used for nearly all activities in the Netherlands. English is used for all academic activities at the PhD and Masters level in TU Delft. Thus you should be proficient in communicating in English. The primary requirement for joining our lab is that you're a self-motivated student who wants to pursue a career in research, and that you're excited by inventing new technologies or discovering new phenomena in quantitative biology. If you are interested in this position, we would be delighted to hear from you!

To apply for this position, please send us an email that includes (1) your CV, (2) a brief explanation of why you'd like to join our lab, (3) your past research experiences (e.g., master's thesis work), and (4) why you're excited by science and research.

Apply for this position by email: positions.youkgroup@gmail.com

Masters students

We are seeking students interested in obtaining a Masters degree through the Physics/Applied Physics Master's Program (Bionanoscience track) or the Nanobiology Master's Program. Research in our lab for a Masters thesis takes about 1 year. If successful, you can potentially extend your Masters thesis research to a Ph.D. research in our lab. If you're interested, we would love to hear from you!

Inquire by email: positions.youkgroup@gmail.com

Undergraduate students

We encourage undergraduate students obtaining a bachelor's degree in the Physics/Applied Physics, Nanobiology, or other quantitative sciences and engineering at TU Delft to inquire about potential undergraduate research projects in our lab. If you're interested, please send us an email to inquire potential projects. In your email, please also tell us about yourself and your interests.

Inquire by email: positions.youkgroup@gmail.com

 

Advice for graduate students

"Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn't." - Erica Jong

Below is some advice for students interested in earning a PhD, regardless of where they go. Perhaps our most important advice is that you should consult as many people as you can instead of just relying on our advice or any one person's viewpoints. The advice below reflects some of our personal experiences as well as the kind of atmosphere that we try to create in our own lab.

Should I get a Ph.D.?

Before you commit to earning a PhD, ask yourself why you want a PhD in the first place. Being a "PhD student" is not like having a regular job even though you earn a salary that affords you a fairly comfortable life. In fact, it's not a job. Doing research should be your passion or at the very least, an enjoyable hobby. Research is often frustrating and daunting because most of your experiments fail and you are, by definition, at the cusp of what is known and risking your career to venture into unknown territories. Many of your experiments will fail. Many days in the lab will not be very enjoyable. The best way to overcome these hurdles is by purusing problems that you're genuinely excited by and having an optimistic view that everything will eventually work out as long as you think and work hard. The drive has to come from within you, and not from your advisor. For this reason, in our lab, you will never be forced to work nights, weekends, holidays, or any particular number of hours. Behind every discovery or invention, and indeed behind almost any scientific paper that you read, there's a student or a postdoc who can tell you about the day that he/she discovered the key result after many months or years of dead ends. Being a successful PhD student lets you experience that rare moment of discovery, which very few people in the world ever get to experience. It also gives you the privilege of being the first person to discover something that nobody knew before. It is truly a remarkable feeling to find yourself standing in a lab and realizing that you have unwittingly become the first person to know something about nature. You'll then learn how to publish a paper that disseminates this knowledge to the world. The process of publishing can also be quite frustrating and will teach you about the sociology of scientists. In summary, the path to a PhD can be an emotional roller coaster. But those of us who stay in research can tell you that the ride is worthwhile.

What kind of a lab should I join?

This is simple. As a PhD student, you want to join a happy lab. This is important because you will likely spend more time with the lab than with your friends or family for 4 years. If you join a lab that does great science but is highly unhappy and dysfunctional, you will likely be miserable for 4 years or abandon the PhD program altogether. A happy lab is one in which everyone, including the students, postdocs and the PI, are all are engaged in their science, genuinely care about each other's well being and success, help each other, and understand that everyone is in the same boat for 4 years. How can a lab be doing great science but is unhappy and dysfunctional? This can be seen in some, but not all, biomedical research labs with a huge number of people (e.g., 20-30 people) that are perhaps more suitable for postdocs. The lab may publish great work in a great journal every year. But chances are, not everyone publishes every year. And indeed, some never do and fall through the cracks. That's the key. If a lab has a large number of people, then as long as a few of them (e.g., 3 or 4) does great work, the lab as a single entity outputs great work each year and appears to be successful on the surface. But it doesn't mean that the majority of its members are happy or succeed in their research. It's just a lab with many gears, whose performance doesn't depend on every single person's success. To be fair, there are lots of small labs that are unhappy and many large labs that are happy. This is just an example as an illustration. As with any human relationships, there is no universal advice. The best you can do in a lab is treating everyone in your lab with respect and genuine care, and help other lab members who are having a difficult time. A lab should foster such an envrionment. That's certainly the kind of environment that our lab tries to create, despite our own shortcomings and failures.

What qualities should I seek in a Ph.D. advisor?

Because pairing a student with an advisor involves matching different personalities, there is no single advisor that would work for everyone. Moreover, the kind of mentor that you want as a PhD student is different from the kind that you want as a postdoc. As a PhD student, your goal is to learn how to do research so that you can become an independent researcher. This means that you need to learn how to ask the right questions, how to strategize when your experiments "fail", how to efficiently plan your experiments so that every experiment is informative even if they "fail", how to write a paper and present your work, and how to deal with the unavoidable and often unpleasant politics involved in dealing with the scientific community (e.g., in publishing, talking to other scientists, etc). You want an advisor who can guide you in this process and has the time to do so. Moreover, you want an advisor who cares about your personal and scientific success. One who understands that your success is his/her success but that the reverse is not necessarily true. This doesn't mean that your advisor should necessariy be interested in your private life. But he/she should understand that your scientific success stronlgy affects your life outside the lab when you're a PhD student. The reverse is also true. This all sounds so trivial and common sense. But keep in mind that almost all professors, including Hyun, has never been formally taught in training other people. Professors reached their current status after being trained as scientists but not as managers or mentors. In the end, every professor exudes their personality in their style of mentoring their students and postdocs. Judging how a person will be as a PhD advisor and a human being before you spend appreciable time in the lab is nearly impossible. But a good rule of thumb is, see if other people in the lab are happy (see above). Moreover, try to find a PhD advisor who has some interpersonal skills, communicates honestly and openly even when the topic at hand may be uncomfortable to talk about, genuninely cares about other people, and interested in his/her students' success (instead of seeing them as "employees"). But keep in mind, your advisor is not a robot and is a human being who has faults and makes mistakes. There is no magic formula for advising students and just as in research, the process of learning and mentoring are highly nonlinear processes.