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2 PhD positions in Biophysics

2 PhD positions in biophysics
The biophysics research group at the University of Cologne ( invites applications for 2 PhD positions in Biophysics.
Position 1:
Many bacterial species live in spatially structured communities called biofilms. They often act as a hide-out from external stresses, making antimicrobial treatment ineffective. Recently, we showed that differential physical interactions between bacteria affect the structure of biofilms (1). One of our central research goals is to understand how mechanical forces govern the formation, structure, and rheology of biofilms. To this end, physicists and bio-scientists work in close collaboration.
Research techniques applied in this project will include, but are not limited to:
  • custom-built optical trapping setup
  • advanced fluorescence microscopy
  • development of image and data analysis algorithms (MATLAB)
  • molecular microbiology
  • developing and planning research projects
Position 2:
Most bacteria in the biosphere live on surfaces. To efficiently colonize surfaces they must control attachment, surface-associated motility, and interactions between bacteria. Molecular motors are important for all of these aspects (2, 3). We aim at understanding their molecular mechanism, coordination, and role in biofilm formation. To this end, physicists and bio-scientists work in close collaboration.
Research techniques applied in this project will include, but are not limited to:
  • establish super-resolution microscopy (Photo-Activated Localization Microscopy, PALM and Stochastic Optical Reconstitution Microscopy, STORM) for imaging of molecular motors
  • design and testing of bacterial strains for PALM in collaboration with biologists
  • molecular microbiology
  • development of image and data analysis algorithms
  • developing and planning research projects
The positions: Start in January 2016 or later. The salary is based on the German TVL-13 (0.65%) scale if terms and conditions under collective bargaining law are fulfilled. The initial contract is limited until 31 December 2017 and can be extended until completion of the PhD. The PhD students will have the opportunity to join the BCGS graduate school (
Your profile: Required criteria are: M.Sc. in physics, basic programming skills, and strong interest in optical methods development, experience in biophysics is beneficial but not essential. Applicants should be highly motivated, creative and independent individuals and have an excellent acade­mic record.
Your application: Please send your application (cover letter, CV, list of publications, certificates, and two references) as a single PDF file by email to It is mandatory that you visit Cologne for an interview.
Disabled individuals with equal personal and technical eligibility will be favored. The UoC is committed to increasing the ratio of women in research. Women are therefore invited to apply for this position.
(1) Oldewurtel, et al (2015) eLife, DOI 10.7554/eLife.10811
(2) Maier, B. & Wong, G.C.L. (2015) Trends Microbiol., DOI 10.1016/j.tim.2015.09.002
(3) Marathe, R. et al (2014) Nature Commun., 5, 3750
How to apply:
Please send your application as a PDF file.
Send application to
Prof. Dr. Berenike Maier
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About Universität zu Köln

Our research group addresses the question how individual molecules (so-called molecular motors) and molecular complexes generate directed movement. To study mechanism, control, and function of molecular motors, a team of biologists, physicists, and biotechnologists combines physical techniques such as single molecule manipulation and quantitative image analysis with techniques from microbiology...

More about Universität zu Köln

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