PhD Student (f/m/d)

The Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry is one of the largest institutes of the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science e. V. and conducts basic research to advance knowledge and benefit society. Innovative projects and interdisciplinary cooperation characterize research within the Max Planck Society.

The Department of Theoretical and Computational Biophysics (Prof. Dr. Helmut Grubmüller) invites applications for a position as
PhD Student (f/m/d)
(Code Number 07-19)
for the project
- Macromolecular Structures from Single Molecule X-Ray Diffraction Experiments -

to advance structure refinement of single molecule x-ray diffraction data. In these “diffract and destroy” experiments, femtosecond x-ray free electron laser pulses are shot at a single molecule, and the diffraction pattern is recorded. Depending on sample size, only very few photons are scattered in each shot, such that many scattering images have to be combined. The analysis is complicated by the fact that for each shot the orientation of the sample molecule is random and unknown. We have recently shown that as few as three recorded photons per image suffice. You will develop, implement, and test with recent experimental data a rigorous Bayesian approach, which holds the promise to drastically reduce the number of required photons, thus rendering single molecule x-ray structure determination feasible. (

The group language is English, so no German language skills are required – but it’s a great opportunity for you to learn German!

The Max Planck Society is committed to increasing the number of individuals with disabilities in its workforce and therefore encourages applications from such qualified individuals.

Interested? Submit your application including cover letter (explaining background and motivation), CV, transcripts, and publication record preferably via e-mail as one single PDF file to

Activities and responsibilities

The student will have the opportunity to participate in one of several available PhD programs, with three years funding and a possibility of extension, in collaboration with the University of Göttingen. Masters students aiming at a fast track PhD are also welcome.

Qualification profile

The successful candidate has a keen interest and strong skills in computational physics, mathematics, and probability theory and a strong interest in interdisciplinary collaborative research. PhD candidates hold (or expect to complete soon) a Master’s or equivalent degree in any of these or a related field.


Payment and benefits are based on the TVöD guidelines. The starting date is flexible.

Send application to

Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry
Department of Theoretical and Computational Biophysics
Prof. Dr. Helmut Grubmüller

Am Fassberg 11
37077 Göttingen


Phone: +49 551 201-2300

While applying for the job please refer to jobvector and use the following reference number: 07-19

About Max-Planck-Institut für biophysikalische Chemie

Das Max-Planck-Institut für biophysikalische Chemie (Karl-Friedrich-Bonhoeffer-Institut) ist ein multidisziplinäres Institut, dessen wissenschaftliche Abteilungen hinsichtlich ihrer Methodik verschiedenartig ausgerichtet sind und sich wechselseitig im Hinblick auf biologische Fragestellungen ergänzen. Das gesamte Arbeitsgebiet geht weit über das einer traditionellen...

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