PhD Student / Scientific Assistant (m/f/d) in nanotechnology / physical chemistry to develop Magnetogenetics

At the Department of Physics within the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences of Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf (HHU) a position of a

PhD Student / Scientific Assistant (m/f/d)
(65%, pay grade 13 TV-L)

is to be occupied at the earliest possible date. The employment is initially limited for a period of three years with an option for prolongation for another year. It is a qualification position in the sense of the Act of Academic Fixed-Term Contract (Wissenschaftszeitvertragsgesetz WissZeitVG), which is to promote the scientific qualification of the employee.

In the newly established group “Experimental Medical Physics” we develop novel nanotechnological approaches to study medically relevant cell processes down to the single-molecule level. In particular, we investigate how molecular structure and dynamics in healthy and malignant cells can be actively changed using a magnetic manipulation approach, called magnetogenetics. Here, nanoparticles in conjunction with magnetic fields enable direct manipulation of a specific molecule to alter particular cell functions.

Activities and responsibilities

Currently, we are looking for a PhD student (m/f/d) to develop magnetogenetics in the context of iron uptake mechanisms in cells. Iron is an essential trace element for vital processes such as oxygen transport, DNA biosynthesis or ATP generation. However, free iron in excessive amounts is highly toxic and a common indication in hematological, metabolic and neurodegenerative diseases. For this reason, intracellular iron levels are meticulously regulated by living cells. The project will focus on monitoring and manipulating key regulators of iron uptake such as iron transporter transferrin receptor 1. To this end, we will quantify the amount and dynamics of iron uptake after passive or active stimulation in live cells using state-of-the-art microscopy and magnetic manipulation.
The candidate (m/f/d) will use biophysical and nanotechnological techniques, with focus on live cell microscopy, analyses of the spatio-temporal dynamics of single molecules as well as development of novel nanoparticles probes. The studies will be conducted within the framework of a Freigeist-grant by Volkswagen Foundation and are supported by collaborations with other groups at HHU.

Qualification profile

  • above-average master‘s degree in physics, medical physics, physical chemistry, nanotechnology or biotechnology
  • readiness to write a dissertation and/or scientific publication
  • strong interest in interdisciplinary research
  • experience in microscopy (in particular single molecule tracking) or image data analysis with Matlab is desirable
  • skills in (magnetic) nanoparticle design and characterization are preferable
  • independent working and capacity to work in a team and with project partners
  • good command of written and spoken German and English

We offer

  • employment initially limited to 36 months
  • pay grade 13 TV-L (65% position)
  • Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf aims at increasing the percentage of employed women. Applications from women will therefore be given preference in cases of equal aptitude, ability and professional achievements
  • applications from suitably qualified severely disabled persons or disabled persons regarded as being
    of equal status according to Book IX of the German Social Code (SGB – Soziales Gesetzbuch) are encouraged.

Send application to

Please submit your application documents (letter of motivation, CV, copies of education certificates, description of previous research experience) citing reference number 106.20 – 3.1 by e-mail to

For further information forward your enquiry directly to:
Prof. Dr. Cornelia Monzel
Phone: +49 (0)211 81 - 12893

While applying for the job please refer to jobvector and use the following reference number: 106.20-3.1

About Heinrich-Heine Universität Düsseldorf

The "Experimental Medical Physics" group at HHU   Our group aims to understand the interplay of physical and biological mechanisms which give rise to cellular functions of relevance for medical diagnostics and therapy. To this end, we investigate the physical properties – the structure, mechanics and molecular dynamics - in healthy and malignant cells as well as explore fundamental...
More about Heinrich-Heine Universität Düsseldorf