PhD student in Biochemistry / Biophysics / Structural Biology (m/f/d)

Updated: 27 days ago

International Max Planck Research School for Cell, Developmental, and Systems Biology (IMPRS-CellDevoSys)

The IMPRS-CellDevoSys is an internationally renowned PhD Program that trains the future leaders in science in the fields of Biology, Physics, Chemistry, and Computer Science. Hallmarks of our program are cutting-edge research projects, a strong focus on interdisciplinarity, and a fine balance between dedicated mentorship and early independence. PhD students are hosted at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG), the Center for Systems Biology Dresden (CSBD), or the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems (MPI-PKS), depending on the hosting research group. The IMPRS-CellDevoSys is part of the Dresden International PhD Program (DIPP).

The Geertsma group at MPI-CBG is interested in the molecular principles underlying solute transport across membranes and aims to unravel the dynamic interplay of different transport proteins involved in the formation of biological structures.

We are looking for a highly-motivated and skilled PhD student to join our IMPRS-CellDevoSys in the research group of Eric Geertsma, working on the following PhD project:

Mechanism of SLC26 Solute Transport Modulation
Cellular physiology critically depends on the generation and maintenance of chloride and bicarbonate ion gradients across membranes. Solute carriers, such as the SLC26 family, play an important role in this process as illustrated by their causative roles in diseases resulting in skeletal malformation, brain edema, or deafness.  This project aims to describe how SLC26 transport is modulated, an aspect that has remained unclear despite the presence of several structures of SLC26 transporters [1, 2, 3]. The project will combine structural and functional characterization of SLC26 proteins with biophysical studies using nanobodies as enabling technology [4]. This project is part of an interdisciplinary DFG funded Research Unit (FOR5046) on the integrated analysis of SLC26 transporters ranging from molecular structure up to their pathophysiology.

[1] Geertsma et al., Nat Struct Mol Biol, 22(10):803-9 (2015)
[2] Chang et al., Nat Commun, 10(1):2032 (2019)
[3] Walter et al. Elife, 8:e46986 (2019)
[4] Zimmermann et al., Nat Protoc, 15(5):1707-1741 (2020)

Qualification of candidate
Successful candidates should hold a Master degree in Biochemistry, Biophysics, or Biological Sciences. Previous experience in the production, purification, and functional characterization of (membrane) proteins, selection of binders such as antibodies and nanobodies, single-particle cryoEM, and biophysical approaches such as single-molecule FRET or EPR spectroscopy are preferred, but not essential. An excellent command of English together with good communication skills and self-motivation are required.

Salary and duration
This full-time position is available immediately. The initial contract is typically for 3 years with the possibility of a 1-year prolongation. Please see for more details.

How to apply
All PhD students at MPI-CBG and CSBD are exclusively recruited via the IMPRS-CellDevoSys. Passing the Admission Committee interview is a pre-requisite for acceptance. Kindly refer to for details on the application and admission process. Applications are only accepted through our online system.

More info
Please contact for questions concerning 

  • the scientific project: Eric Geertsma at geertsma
  • the PhD program, including the application and admission process: the PhD office at

The Max Planck Society is an equal opportunity employer: handicapped individuals are strongly encouraged to apply. The CSBD, the MPI-CBG, and the MPI-PKS aim to increase the number of women in scientific positions. Female candidates are therefore particularly welcome.

We look forward to receiving your application.

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