PhD position – Reconstitution of Cell Polarity and Morphogenesis

The Bieling Lab at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology invites applications for a PhD position in Biochemistry. Our research: The central goal of our research is to understand the mechanisms by which cells establish spatio-temporal patterns of signal network activity to co-ordinate dynamic cell shape changes through the cytoskeleton. This patterning mechanism is based on a complex interplay between signaling proteins, cytoskeletal components and the cell membrane. We study (i) how signal networks can self-organize to generate patterns and (ii) how those patterns can be harnessed by cytoskeletal systems to drive shape changes. To investigate the fundamental principles of self-organization we are using minimal systems reconstituted from purified components (1,2).

Research techniques applied in this project will include, but are not limited to:

  • performing a wide variety of molecular biological and biochemical tasks (e.g. cloning, protein purification, labeling etc.)
  • using advanced fluorescence microscopy techniques (TIRF and confocal microscopy, FRET-based imaging, single molecule methods etc.)
  • developing advanced in vitro assays involving multi-protein and membrane reconstitution.

The position: The position is open immediately. The expected duration of a PhD is 3-4 years. The PhD student will:

  • join a dynamic, international and interdisciplinary research group
  • be a part of a larger research department with opportunities for collaboration
  • receive access to the excellent infrastructure available at the MPI of Molecular Physiology
  • be directly mentored and supervised by a young group leader
  • be part of the established IMPRS graduate school program.

Your profile: Applicants should be highly motivated and creative individuals with an excellent academic record and hold (or expected to complete soon) a M.Sc. degree in biological sciences. Candidates should have a keen interest in the mechanistic dissection of biological processes through in vitro reconstitution with a preferred background in biochemistry and/or biophysics.

Your application: The Max Planck Society seeks to increase the number of women in those areas where they are underrepresented and therefore explicitly encourages women to apply.

Furthermore, 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.

Please send your complete application documents (cover letter, CV and 2 reference letters) by e-mail to

1. Bieling P. et al. (2016) Force Feedback Controls Motor Activity and Mechanical Properties of Self-Assembling Branched Actin Networks. Cell

2. Bieling P. et al. (2010) A minimal midzone protein module controls formation and length of antiparallel microtubule overlaps. Cell

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