PhD scholarship for biophysics and spectroscopy at Humboldt University Berlin, Germany

a PhD scholarship fully funded by the german chemical industry "Liebig-Doktorandenstipendium des FCI" is available with Dr. David Buhrke at the Institute of Biology at Humboldt University Berlin.

The project is about investigating signal transduction through photoreceptive multi-domain proteins by means of time resolved vis- and IR spectroscopy. 

Project outline: Photoreceptors are proteins that can sense light and regulate a plethora of different functions in cells, such as gene expression or the transport of ions across membranes. To understand how these complex molecular machines function on an atomistic level, spectroscopic techniques are among the most useful biophysical methods. Here, the activation mechanism of photoreceptors by light can be investigated in real time by applying a short laser pulse to a sample that mimics the excitation that occurs in nature. Thereby the reaction cascade of interest is started in many molecules at the same defined point in time and can be monitored as it progresses with UV, visible, or infrared spectroscopy. Spectra are recorded as a function of time after the excitation pulse, and then analyzed with advanced mathematical models. This allows to extract information about the meaningful reaction steps and understand at which points in time different changes in the protein structure occur.

The project focuses on studying novel cyanobacterial photoreceptors that have great potential for biotechnological applications such as optogenetic control or fluorescence imaging. The project will take place in close cooperation with the labs of Prof. Peter Hegemann and Prof. Franz Bartl, the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin and international collaborators.

Requirements: Would you describe yourself as an aspiring scientist with a broad interest in chemistry, physics, and biology? Are you interested in doing a PhD in a truly interdisciplinary field where all these three fundamental sciences intersect? If you have:

  • General curiosity to find out how biology functions on a molecular level
  • A MSc (or equiv.) in biophysics, chemistry or a closely related field that allows you to start a PhD in Germany
  • Good university grades
  • A talent for solving technical problems
  • Enthusiasm for working with lasers, spectrometers, and at a synchrotron facility

Please apply and get a chance to become the first PhD student in a new research group. Do not hesitate to contact me via email for further information regarding this exciting opportunity. Feel free to include a brief description of your background and a CV including any publications.

Dr. David Buhrke 
Institut für Biologie,
Biophysikalische Chemie
Invalidenstr 42
10115 Berlin
Tel: 0049 30 209 398 283