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PhD Position: Physics of Flagellated Microswimmers - Hydrodynamic Simulations

Advertising institute: ICS-2 - Theoretical Soft Matter and Biophysics
Reference number: D019/2017, Computer simulations, statistical mechanics, theoretical physics

We offer a three-year PhD project on the collective swimming behavior of flagellated bacterial microswimmers to be performed in the Institute for Theoretical Soft Matter and Biophysics at the Forschungszentrum Jülich ( The project is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) within the priority program “Microswimmers − from single particle motion to collective behavior”.

Your job:
In the project, the properties of flagella in bacteria assemblies and the role in their emergent collective behavior will be elucidated using mesoscale hydrodynamic simulations. Various types of flagellated cells, e.g., E. coli or B. mirabilis, will be studied to shed light on the influence of the number of flagella on swarming. Specific attention will be paid to the bundle formation of flagella. For denser systems, the formation of larger groups (rafts) will be studied. This comprises merging (splitting) of individual cells with rafts or rafts with rafts. In particular, the effects of hydrodynamic interactions on the various processes will be addressed.

Your profile:
We expect knowledge in computer simulations, statistical mechanics, and a general interest in theoretical physics. The studies will mainly be performed using molecular dynamics simulations for the cells and a mesoscale simulation approach, multiparticle collision dynamics, for the fluid. The respective simulation codes will have to be partially developed, which requires a strong background in computer simulations.

Our offer:
Forschungszentrum Jülich is a member of the Helmholtz Association, one of the major research organizations in Europe. It is located at Jülich, which is close to the university cities Aachen, Bonn, Cologne, and Düsseldorf and well connected within Europe by the airports of Cologne-Bonn and Düsseldorf. The proximity to the Netherlands and Belgium as well as about 700 international guest scientists per year add to an excellent and inspiring training environment. Our institute provides an excellent research infrastructure as part of the Institute for Advanced Simulation within Forschungszentrum Jülich, in particular, for projects in computational physics.

Successful applicants may also apply for a membership in the International Helmholtz Research School of Biophysics and Soft Matter (IHRS BioSoft) that provides an in-depth training at the interfaces of physics, chemistry, and biology. A comprehensive framework of experimental and theoretical tools enables PhD students to gain a deeper understanding of the structure, dynamics, and function of complex systems. The three-year PhD program provides both an interdisciplinary education and transferable skills courses. Further information on IHRS BioSoft can be found at

Forschungszentrum Jülich aims to employ more women in this area and therefore particularly welcomes applications from women. We also welcome applications from disabled persons.

Please, send application documents including a CV and copies of degrees and grades to Prof. Dr. Roland G. Winkler (