1 PhD position in Cell biology / Biochemistry

Institute for Biochemistry I, UKJ - Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany
Head: Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Britta Qualmann

The aim of our internationally well‐known research team (see e.g. PubMED and ResearchGate) is to gain a molecular understanding of how the topologies and shapes of the plasma membrane, cellular compartments and entire cells that are required for their biological functions are brought about and how such membrane shaping processes contribute to development, plasticity and function of cells and cellular networks, such as those formed by neurons in the brain. For overview and methods we apply please e.g. see Ahuja et al. 2007 Cell;  Dharmalingam et al. 2009 J Neurosci.;  Koch et al. 2011 EMBO J;  Schwintzer et al. 2011 EMBO J;  Schneider et al. 2014 J Cell Biol;  Hou et al. 2015 PLoS Biology;  Seemann et al. 2017 eLIFE;  Izadi et al. 2018 J Cell Biol;  Haag et al. 2018 Cell Reports and Hou et al. 2018 Dev Cell.

The institute of Biochemistry I provides a stimulating, international research environment with excellent technical equipment right in the centre of Jena.

Institute of Biochemistry I: The aim of our internationally well-known research team is to gain a molecular understanding of how the topologies and shapes of the plasma membrane, cellular compartments and entire cells, which are required for their biological functions, are brought about and how such membrane shaping processes contribute to uptake and membrane trafficking processes.
For an overview over topics and methods we apply please feel free to check out some examples of first-author papers of former PhD students in the lab (Ahuja et al. 2007 Cell;  Dharmalingam et al. 2009 J. Neurosci.;  Koch (D) et al. 2011 EMBO J.;  Schwintzer et al. 2011 EMBO J.;  Koch (N) et al. 2012 J. Cell Sci.;  Schneider et al., 2014 J. Cell Biol.; Hou et al., 2015 PLoS Biology; Seemann et al., 2017 eLIFE; Izadi et al., 2018 J. Cell Biol.; Hou et al., 2018 Dev. Cell).

The CRC 1278 (Polymer-based nanoparticle libraries for targeted anti-inflammatory strategies) offers a structured supervision complemented by a training program in an innovative field of research. Each doctoral candidate will work in an interdisciplinary research project and will be jointly supervised by a main supervisor and two further investigators with complementary expertise (thesis committee; here Prof. B. Qualmann (Biochemistry, Cell Biology), Prof. F. Schacher (Nanoparticle Chemistry) and Prof. M. Bauer (Medicine).

The project: In the DFG-funded CRC PolyTarget (http://www.polytarget.uni-jena.de/en/), polymer-based nanoparticles are developed for targeted application of cell biologically active compounds into cells and tissues. In the main focus are disaeases that are linked to inflammatory processes, such as sepsis.  The project is a collaboration of the labs of B. Qualmann (Biochemistry/Cell Biology – herewith offered position), F. Schacher (Chemie) und M. Bauer (Medizin) and is based on successful published and currently still running collaborations (see e.g. Press et al., 2014 Nat. Commun.; Hertz et al., 2018 J. Polym. Sci. A.).
In the project, nanoparticles generated via established but also via innovative methods by the group of F. Schacher will be examined for their physico-chemical properties, their DNA-binding and -releasing  properties as well as for their cell biological usability (uptake, transfection, cell type specificity, activity within cells/phenotypes). These studies shall in the long-term lead to usable nanomedicine tools.

The position is payed under state salary scheme TV-­‐L E13 (salary agreement for public service employees; 65% respectively of postdocs salary).
The position is funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (3 years) - if required, an elongation for finishing the PhD may be possible from other funding of the group.

For further information also see our webpage:

Activities and responsibilities

PhD project
Support of teaching

The Project:
The polar and extremely arborized morphologies that neurons develop are a prerequisite for signal processing in neuronal networks. Their development seems to be promoted by local Ca2+ signals, actin filament formation and proteins that modulate the local topology of membrane areas by their association. Besides proteins of the syndapin family (Reviews: Kessels & Qualmann 2015 J Cell Sci; Qualmann et al.  2011 EMBO J) and of actin nucleators, such as Cobl (Reviews: e.g. Izadi et al. 2018 BBRC; Qualmann & Kessels 2009 Trends Cell Biol), the project aims at studying the membrane interactions and the cell shape-changing potential of further proteins we have identified as membrane shapers as well as their regulation and their interplay with further cellular components, in particular those of the cytoskeleton.
By applying biochemical, cell biological, genetic and modern imaging and ultra-high resolution imaging techniques we reach detailed insights into how cells develop, maintain and modulate the specific and often very much specialized morphologies required for their physiological function.

Qualification profile

We seek for a productive addition to our team. Applicants should have solid theoretical and practical knowledge of cell/neurobiology, biochemistry and/or imaging techniques. Candidates need to be distinguished by high motivation to succeed in science and by being kind, efficient and reliable team‐players able to integrate into our team smoothly. Due to the internationality of our group and of the lively university town of Jena knowledge of the German language is not required. Fluent English is a prerequisite.


PhD in an internationally recognized lab
publications in decent or top journals of cell biology
embedding into Graduate programs (IZKF, JSMM)
further qualification possibilities
local, national and international collaborations
teaching experience
flexible working hours

Send application to

The position: 3 years 50% TV-L E13 (salary for public service employees; i.e. 50% of postdoc salary).
If required, an elongation for finishing the PhD may be possible.
For further information: https://www.uniklinikum-jena.de/biochemie/en/Biochemistry+I/Job+offers.html
Please direct your complete application (cover letter, CV, certificates incl. grades (and an explanation/decoding of the grading system used)); list of publications & honours; 2‐3 ref. addresses) to

Prof. Dr. Britta Qualmann & PD Dr. Michael M. Kessels
Institute of Biochemistry I, Jena University Hospital ‐ Friedrich Schiller University Jena
Nonnenplan 2‐4, D‐07743 Jena, Germany
Please submit your application by Email to Michael.Kessels@med.unijena.de (PDFs preferred)

The FSU Jena is an equal opportunity employer promoting the advance of women in science.

Jena was ranked second in the German career atlas (right behind Munich)!

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Über Universitätsklinikum Jena / Friedrich-Schiller-Universität (FSU) Jena