PhD students (m/f/d) for super-resolution microscopy-based investigations of the glycocalyx

Young Researchers Erlangen
Solid State Research & Material Sciences Particle, Plasma and Quantum Physics Immunobiology and Infection Biology & Medicine Microbiology & Ecology Structural and Cell Biology
Job Offer from September 04, 2023

The Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light research covers a wide range of topics, including nonlinear optics, quantum optics, nanophotonics, photonic crystal fibres, optomechanics, quantum technologies, biophysics, and links between physics and medicine.

The Möckl Research Group at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light in Erlangen is looking for Two PhD Students for super-resolution microscopy-based investigations of the glycocalyx (f/m/d).

About us

We are an independent research group at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light. Our research relies on a highly transdisciplinary approach, utilizing light to investigate and manipulate biological systems. We employ cutting-edge super-resolution methods such as dSTORM, DNA-PAINT, and iSCAT microscopy to unravel spatiotemporal dynamics of biomolecules at the nanometer and microsecond scales, complement our microscopy studies with biophysical investigations of cell mechanics, and develop photoactivatable therapeutic compounds for new strategies in light-based therapy.

Project description

Every cell in the human body is surrounded by the glycocalyx, a complex layer consisting of glycans (carbohydrates or sugar chains), either free or attached to proteins and lipids. Over the past years, research by other groups and the Möckl group has brought the glycocalyx into the spotlight of biological and biomedical research, showing its relevance in a range of vital cellular processes. These initial insights motivate a concerted effort to unravel the functional role of the glycocalyx in health and disease.

The Möckl Lab takes the view that the nanoscale dimensions and heterogeneity of the glycocalyx, as well as the resistance of its structure to classical molecular biology techniques, necessitates imaging with molecular resolution in order to relate glycocalyx structure to glycocalyx function. Two recently launched projects in the Möckl group investigate the functional interplay between glycocalyx organization at the nanoscale and cellular state in the context of cancer development/progression and immune system regulation. Insights gained from optical investigations are contextualized by bioinformatic, immunological, and biochemical analyses. Successful applicants will have the rare opportunity to learn, apply, and develop such an integrated framework to study the functional role of the glycocalyx.

The project duration is 3 years, starting late 2023/early 2024. The salary is based on E13 TVöD Bund (75% level 1 and 2, following the MPG PhD student support contract).

Your qualifications

We are looking for creative and motivated PhD students who wish to work in a world-class environment at the intersection of super-resolution microscopy, glycobiology, immunology, and cancer biology. You have successfully completed a Master’s degree in a field relating to biology, biochemistry, or biophysics. We especially encourage applicants with experience in advanced imaging, glycobiology, or immunology and cancer biology. You are eager to work across disciplines, joining ongoing collaborations and engaging with scientists from the MPL who have backgrounds ranging from quantum optics to medicine. You address problems with a fresh mindset and like to work independently and with exceptional commitment as part of a bigger team. You are looking forward to broadening your expertise and developing novel techniques.

The following qualifications will strengthen your application:

  • Experience in localization microscopy (dSTORM, DNA-PAINT; setup, alignment, data analysis)
  • Fundamentals of glycobiology (types of glycans, glycans in immunology and cancer development)
  • Programming (Python) for quantitative image and data analysis as well as simulations
  • Cell and molecular biology techniques (cell culture, transfection, immune cell isolation)
  • Bioinformatics (gene expression analysis)
  • Development and optimization of labeling protocols

The Max Planck Society strives for gender and diversity equality. We welcome applications from all backgrounds. 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.

Your application

Could we spark your interest? If you want to become a part of our group, please send your application (letter of motivation, CV, transcript of records, and two letters of reference) to . You can find further information about the institute here and about the Möckl Research Group

We are looking forward to hearing from you!

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