International Max Planck Research School for Living Matter (IMPRS-LM)

International Max Planck Research School for Living Matter (IMPRS-LM)

Thinking, working and discussing across disciplines

You’ve nearly completed your master’s, your master’s thesis is almost finished – now important questions arise:

    • How can I set the course for my further career?
    • Where can I undertake an exciting, groundbreaking dissertation?
    • Which university, which institute offers me the opportunity during my PhD work to acquire expertise in scientific methods as well as other skills and competences that are crucial for my success as a scientist?
Thinking, working and discussing across disciplines

The International Max Planck Research School for Living Matter

Thinking, working and discussing across disciplines

The IMPRS for Living Matter (IMPRS-LM) is the right place for ambitious, curious and independent young scientists who want to earn a PhD degree in chemistry or biology and who seek to become a leader in their field.

The research focus of our doctoral program is the search for answers to the question of how the dynamics of interactions between molecules produce the complex functions of the most diverse biological systems.

What is special about our research school: We explore these phenomena with interdisciplinary approaches and across several orders of magnitude. We not only investigate the chemistry behind the interactions of single molecules, but also the structure and function of molecular machines as well as the collective behavior of all these molecules in the cell.

The portfolio of disciplines in our IMPRS encompasses different branches of biology (molecular and cell biology, systems biology, structural biology), chemistry (biochemistry, organic synthesis, molecule labeling, and synthetic biology), and physics (biophysics, molecular modeling, systems simulation).

Doctoral Program with Attractive Add-ons

With the doctoral program of the IMPRS our institute offers:

  • The opportunity to pursue your own highly innovative research
  • State-of-the-art technical equipment for experiments and analyses
  • An appealing and inspiring work atmosphere
  • A vibrant international community of scientists from around the world
  • Good mentors: Each doctoral student has a direct supervisor for a regular exchange about experiments and results.
  • Professional advisement: In addition to the direct supervisor, each doctoral student has two other advisors of his/her own choice. Together, all three mentors comprise the Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC). It meets once a year with the doctoral student to discuss and provide advisement on the current status of his/her project, to resolve any problems and to help bring the work to a successful conclusion.
  • The opportunity to organize a scientific meeting: Alongside their PhD work, every two years the doctoral students organize a PhD symposium from start to finish – from designing the program to seeking suitable speakers, accommodations for the participants and sponsors.
  • Courses, lectures and seminars in which you learn how to plan and manage scientific projects, give captivating presentations and prepare good scientific publications
  • Career workshops in which experienced scientists from industry and research report about their own careers and experiences
  • A two- or three-day annual retreat outside of Dortmund for all PhD students of the IMPRS, where you can get acquainted with all other students, research group leaders and directors of the institute in a relaxed atmosphere, discuss your projects and exchange ideas make new contacts and perhaps develop ideas for joint projects

Who Can Apply for the IMPRS?

We are looking for talented, enthusiastic young scientists who enjoy looking beyond the confines of their own discipline.

    • Our program is aimed at both German and foreign students.
    • All courses and workshops will be held in English. Those interested in the IMPRS should therefore have proficiency in this language.


Dr. Lucia Sironi

Dr. Lucia Sironi

IMPRS Scientific Coordinator
Christa Hornemann

Christa Hornemann

IMPRS Administrative Coordinator
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