ERC-funded Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Chemical Biology and Proteomics

Scientist Cologne
Developmental and Evolutionary Biology & Genetics Structural and Cell Biology

Job Code: 23-2019

Job Offer from December 10, 2019

The Proteomics and ADP-ribosylation signaling Research Group
headed by Ivan Matic at the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing
is looking for a full time

ERC-funded Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Chemical Biology and Proteomics (m/f/d)
(Job code 23-2019)

The project ‘nbPTMs’ funded by an European Research Council (ERC) consolidator grant call 2019 is seeking an ambitious and talented postdoctoral researcher to join an enthusiastic, fast-paced and collaborative team in an outstanding scientific environment. The successful candidate will establish chemical biology-based approaches to enable proteomics of nucleotide-based modifications.

Nucleotide-based post-translational modifications (nbPTMs) play key roles in health and disease, from bacterial pathogenesis to cancer. However, technical challenges of these versatile, but chemically complex protein modifications have constrained our fundamental understanding of even the most intensely studied nbPTMs for decades.

The overarching aim of this ERC project is to establish, apply and disseminate a methodology to unveil novel types of nbPTMs and allow site-specific proteomic analyses. The conceptual innovation lies in a strategy for turning the complex chemical structures of nbPTMs from a challenge to an advantage.

First, shared chemical moieties will be exploited to develop pan-specific enrichment of multiple nbPTMs. For this purpose, we will generate the first nbPTMs-specific antibodies by converting specific signalling proteins into biotechnology tools for chemoenzymatic synthesis of challenging peptide antigens (aim 1). Second, we will take advantage of the chemical lability of nbPTMs to analyse modified peptides using a nucleobase-targeted mass spectrometry approach (aim 2). The unbiased scope of our methodology will make possible the discovery of as yet unknown forms of nbPTMs (aim 3) and nbPTM site mapping throughout eukaryotic proteomes (aim 4). These new materials, methods, discoveries and datasets will be made publicly available to allow future investigations of nbPTMs by the scientific community. The new substrates, sites and nbPTMs will provide starting points for biological characterization (aim 5).

Poised at the interface of biology and technology, this interdisciplinary research project has the potential to explore new territories within established biomedical fields and to contribute to the knowledge base for improved treatment of diseases.


The applicant is required to hold a Ph.D. in biology, molecular biology, biochemistry or a related field, and have a strong track record of accomplishments and relevant experience demonstrated by high-quality first author publication(s) in peer reviewed journals. Candidates with a strong interest in PTMs (especially ADP-ribosylation and AMPylation) and signaling and with a high level of competence in biochemistry are encouraged to apply for this position. The working language is English; knowledge of the German language is not required.

Research environment

The Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing (MPI-AGE) was founded in 2008 with the aim to understand fundamental mechanisms of healthy ageing.  It is part of a broad network of research institutions in the Cologne-Bonn area dedicated to research on ageing, metabolism, and age-related disease, including the CECAD Cluster of Excellent in the University of Cologne and the Max Planck Institute for Metabolism Research, constituting a vibrant and collaborative environment for research. Equipped with state-of-the-art technology and excellent core facilities, to which the successful candidate will have access, the institute provides outstanding research opportunities for its scientists. At the moment, we host employees from more than 30 different nations.

Are you interested?

Then please upload your complete application documents, containing a one-page letter with a personal statement describing your scientific accomplishments and your interests in our laboratory, your CV including list of publications, contact information for 3 references, in electronic form as one single pdf-file via our online application platform:

The job post will be published until a candidate will be found.

Informal inquiries (but not applications) are welcome and should be sent to Dr. Ivan Matic . For further information about the Institute see

The employment contract is based on contracts for the civil service (TVöD-Bund, Tarifvertrag für den öffentlichen Dienst) and will be time limited. 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. Furthermore, 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.                         

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