A doctoral student position is available in the Förderer laboratory in the research project ‘Molecular basis of viral recognition and associated plant signalling’, at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Plant Physiology in Potsdam, Germany. The project includes state-of-the-art cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM) of proteins involved in resistance of crop plants towards viruses. The protein structure knowledge will be used for crop improvement to generate new cultivars that are equipped for the future challenges in agriculture (climate change). Our recently founded junior group is located at the Max-Planck-Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology and part of the Department ‘Root biology and mycorrhiza’ (Prof. Caroline Gutjahr). The MPIMP is an excellent research environment that covers a wide range of modern plant science including two Max-Planck research groups with focus on plant viruses (https://www.mpimp-golm.mpg.de/2756156/viral-replication-and-plant-tolerancehttps://www.mpimp-golm.mpg.de/2756212/plant-germline-antiviral-immunity), an excellent transformation platform (https://www.mpimp-golm.mpg.de/8348/5koehl) and bioinformatics (https://www.mpimp-golm.mpg.de/bioinformatics). For more information on the Förderer laboratory visit our webpage on https://www.mpimp-golm.mpg.de/2761297/foerderer.

Your profile

  • An MSc or equivalent degree in Biology, Biochemistry or a related subject, preferably with a specialization in protein biochemistry, structural biology or plant molecular biology
  • Some prior experience in one or more of the following aspects:
  • Molecular biology techniques
  • Handling of plants (transient expression in tobacco, protoplasts, gene-editing)
  • Protein expression (insect cell culture, E. coli and tobacco)
  • Protein biochemistry (SDS PAGE, affinity purification, FPLC, western blot, Co-IP)
  • Structure biology (crystallography, cryo-EM SPA)
  • Electron microscopy (TEM)
  • Bioinformatics (structure prediction and evaluation, CryoSPARC/Relion, Coot, Linux)
  • Good command of English (oral and written)
  • Curiosity, a strong motivation to excel in science, and a ‘can-do’ attitude
  • A collaborative mind-set and good communication skills
  • Good organizational skills

Our offer

  • Doctoral student position for three years (plus one), paid according to German public service pay scale (65% E13 TVÖD Bund).
  • Competent mentoring and additional training events and courses
  • A stimulating environment in a dynamic, international team of cooperative and motivated scientists
  • Access to the infrastructure of one of the leading plant science institutes in the world
  • Working in the Potsdam Science Park and near by the exciting urban area of Berlin

The Max Planck Society strives for gender equality and diversity and has set itself the goal of employing more severely disabled people. We therefore welcome applications from people of all backgrounds.

Your application

Applications should be sent by email to Dr. Alexander Förderer:


Please use “PhD application” in your subject. Otherwise, your email may be lost. Please include these documents into your application:

  • CV
  • Contact information of minimum 2 referees
  • Motivation letter explaining why you are interested in joining the group and why you are the right person to make progress in the field
  • Please specify from when you would be able to start

If you need further information on the position offered, please feel free to contact Dr. Alexander Förderer for a pre-enquiry. Applications will be assessed on a rolling basis and will be accepted before 08.05.2024.

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