The Max Planck Institute for Multidisciplinary Sciences is a leading international research institute of exceptional scientific breadth. With more than 40 research groups and some 1,000 employees from over 50 nations, it is the largest institute of the Max Planck Society.

The Department of Meiosis (Dr. Melina Schuh) is inviting applications for a PhD student (f/m/d) – Functions of the cytoskeleton in mammalian oocyte meiosis.

The Schuh lab investigates how oocytes develop in mammals, and how errors arise in this process, which are a major cause of miscarriages and infertility. For this, we employ advanced microscopy, loss of function approaches, and next-generation sequencing techniques. Our laboratory has pioneered various techniques in the field of oocyte meiosis, including the first studies of chromosome segregation in live human oocytes (Science 2015) and the establishment of Trim-Away, a method for the acute removal of proteins from cells (Cell 2017). Employing these techniques, the lab recently showed that spindle actin is essential to prevent chromosome segregation errors in eggs (Science 2017), identified a liquid-like spindle domain that promotes acentrosomal spindle assembly in mammalian oocytes (Science 2019), revealed chromosome condensation and clustering as mechanism to ensure correct genome unification in mammalian embryos (Cell 2021), and uncovered the mechanism of spindle pole organization and instability in human oocytes (Science 2022). The successful applicant will study novel functions of the cytoskeleton during oocyte meiosis. The candidate will be hosted in our main lab at the Max Planck Institute for Multidisciplinary Sciences, but will also be able to interact with our satellite laboratory at Bourn Hall Clinic, Cambridge, UK, the world’s first in vitro fertilization (IVF) clinic founded by the pioneers of IVF Robert Edwards and Patrick Steptoe.

Your profile

The successful candidate has a keen interest and initial experience in the area of cell biology, molecular biology, biophysics, and/or microscopy or related fields, and a strong interest to learn and apply a wide range of microscopy and imaging related techniques. Eligible candidates hold (or expect to complete soon) a Master’s or equivalent degree in any of these areas or a related field.

What we offer

  • Competitive research in an inspiring, world-class environment
  • Further training and career development opportunities; free in-house language courses
  • On-site health management: free fitness and yoga room, sports groups, beach volleyball league, and courses for a ’moving lunch break’
  • A wide range of offers to help you balance work and family life including on-campus kindergarten and vacation care, parent-child offices, etc.
  • Spacious campus cafeteria with a wide range of diverse meals
  • Initiatives for sustainability and a green environment with an on-site biotope

About us

Based at one of Germany’s premier research campuses, our department has access to leading-edge infrastructure in all areas of cell and molecular biology as well as cutting-edge microscopy. We are an international team with lab members from 17 nations and our working language is English; knowledge of German is not required – but it is a great opportunity for you to learn German! The historic city of Göttingen, located in the centre of Germany, offers great outdoor and cultural opportunities, a vibrant student scene, and an impressive scientific heritage.

Position details

PhD students will be funded for three years (with a possibility of extension) and have the opportunity to enrol in one of several PhD programs in collaboration with the University of Göttingen. Payment and benefits are based on the German Public Service Payscale (TVöD Bund) guidelines. The starting date is flexible.

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


Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled.

Interested candidates should submit their application including cover letter (explaining background and motivation), CV, transcripts, publication list, and the contact details of at least 2 academic referees preferably via e-mail as a single PDF file to

Max Planck Institute for Multidisciplinary Sciences
Department “Meiosis
Dr. Melina Schuh
Am Faßberg 11
37077 Göttingen

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