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PhD position Organic synthesis of natural molecules

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The Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology – Hans Knöll Institute – (HKI, investigates the pathobiology of human-pathogenic fungi and identifies targets for the development of novel natural product-based antibiotics. The Junior Research Group Chemical Biology of Microbe Host Interactions offers a
PhD position

starting spring 2016 for three years initially within the field of Organic Chemistry.

Project title: Total synthesis of new microbial sphingolipid-type signalling molecules

Project Outline: This project aims for the structural and functional analysis of novel chemical mediators, which are involved in the modulation of specific microbe-host interactions.
Research into human sphingolipid signalling is an area of intensive scientific investigation. Sphingoid bases and sphingolipids are essential multifunctional cellular compounds, which serve not only as integral components of cell membranes, but also as essential regulatory signals for fundamental cellular processes. They were first thought to exist exclusively in eukaryotes, but have now been repeatedly identified and isolated from important bacterial and viral sources.

Tasks: Total synthesis and functional derivatisation of microbial sphingolipid-type signalling molecules.
This project specifically aims for the total synthesis and derivatisation of bioactive microbial sphingolipids. During the course of this project, new, short and efficient synthetic approaches towards sphingolipid-type signalling molecules, which have been identified as microbial signals, should be developed. In addition, the synthesis of structural derivatives, a substrate library, and the implementation of (additional) functionalities such as fluorescence tags are envisaged. Using synthesized sphingolipid-type signalling molecules, we want to understand principle (bio)chemical and small molecule-mediated communication mechanisms of microbe-host interactions.

Our requirements:
  • Very good theoretical and practical skills in Organic Synthesis (methods development and/or total synthesis)
  • Very good expertise in Analytical Chemistry (NMR, HRMS, IR, HPLC, LC-MS)
  • Expertise in Natural Product Chemistry, Biochemistry and/or Chemical Ecology
  • The candidate should embrace working in a young international research team and conducting research that covers multiple biological disciplines embedded in the infrastructure of the HKI
  • A Master degree (or equivalent) in chemistry or related natural and life sciences. Candidates about to obtain their degree are welcome to apply
  • An integrative and cooperative personality with enthusiasm for actively participating in a lively community of the HKI, the JSMC ( and ILRS ( Community
  • To be able to perform team-oriented as well as independent work
  • Very good communication and writing skills (English)

We offer you a challenging interdisciplinary project, with state-of-the-art instrumentation, and great work opportunities in a dynamic research institute with high reputation. As a PhD student, you will be a member of the International Leibniz Research School (ILRS Jena), which offers an excellent structured postgraduate education. The successful candidate will be hosted in the Junior Research Group Chemical Biology of Microbe-Host Interactions (Dr. Christine Beemelmanns).
Salary is paid according to German TV-L (salary agreement for public service employees). As an equal opportunity employer the HKI is committed to increase the percentage of female scientists and therefore especially encourages them to apply.

Further information:
Dr. Christine Beemelmanns | +49 3641 532 1525 |

Complete applications in English should include a CV, a brief statement of research experiences and interests, a complete list of publications, the addresses of two possible referees, and should be submitted until February 29th, 2016 to referring to HKI job posting No. 3/2016.

Mail address:
Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology
– Hans Knöll Institute –
Personnel office
Adolf-Reichwein-Straße 23
07745 Jena


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Details der Stellenanzeige

Befristete Anstellung
Berufserfahrung nicht vorausgesetzt
Deutschland (Thüringen)
07745 Jena
Chemie, Biologie & Life Sciences, Biotechnologie