We are offering a

PhD Position – Mechanisms of Glutamate Transporter Dysfunction in Neurological Diseases


The laboratory of Christoph Fahlke in the Institute of Biological Information Processing – Molekular und Zellphysiologie is looking for a PhD student with a thesis project that focuses on transport mechanisms of neurotransmitter transporters. We are an interdisciplinary group focusing on the molecular and cellular function of membrane transport proteins (Cell (2015) 160, 542-553, Glia (2017) 65, 388-400, Nat. Commun. (2017) 8, 2279, Sci. Adv. (2020) 6, eaba9854. Nat. Commun. (2023) 14, 2723) and on their dysfunction in genetic and acquired human diseases (Brain (2012) 135, 3416-3425, Nat. Genet. (2018), 50, 349-354, Brain. Commun. (2020) 4, fcaa022, Front. Cell. Neurosci. (2021) 15, 735300, Epilepsia (2022) 63, 388-401).

Institute issuing the offer
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Your Job:

The PhD project focuses on a family of glutamate transporters – excitatory amino acid transporters – that is responsible for synaptic glutamate homeostasis in the mammalian brain. Mutations in genes encoding these transporters cause genetic forms of epilepsy and episodic ataxia. We are interested in understanding how these mutations modify transport functions. The project is based on a combination of molecular dynamics simulations and experimental techniques (solid-supported membrane electrophysiology, fluorescence spectroscopy), with the aim to understand transproter dysfunction at atomic resolution.

Your job will include taks in the following areas:

  • Molecular biology and protein biochemistry
  • Electrophysiology (Solid Supported Membrane Based Electrophysiology)
  • Molecular dynamics simulations, free energy calculations, machine learning/deep learning, Markov State Models, docking

Your Profile:

  • Master degree in the field of Biology/Physics/Chemistry or related
  • High motivation and interest and/or experience in biophysics and biochemistry
  • Knowledge of at least one programing language required
  • Social competence and good communication skills for collaborative work in and with interdisciplinary teams
  • Ability to communicate in English

Our Offer:

We work on the very latest issues that impact our society and are offering you the chance to actively help in shaping the change! We offer ideal conditions for you to complete your doctoral degree:

  • Access to multiple techniques ranging from high-performance computational biology on individual proteins to the analysis of organ functions in animal models
  • Opportunity to get expertise in state-of art techniques and strategies in the field of molecular biology, fluorescence microscopy, fluorescence lifetime imaging, optogenetics, neuronal cell culture; access to word-class supercomputing facilities
  • Possible membership in the International Helmholtz Research School of Biophysics and Soft Matter http://www.ihrs-biosoft.de that provides a complementary research training at the interfaces of biology, chemistry, and physics, as well as transferable skills courses
  • We will provide continuous scientific mentoring and discussions by the your scientific advisor
  • The doctoral degree will be awarded by the Heinrich Heine University, Düsseldorf
  • Outstanding scientific and technical infrastructure – ideal conditions for successfully completing a doctoral degree
  • Information on employment as a PhD student at Forschungszentrum Jülich can be found here http://www.fz-juelich.de/gp/Careers_Docs
  • A large research campus with green spaces, offering the best possible means for networking with colleagues and pursuing sports alongside work
  • Further development of your personal strengths, e.g. through an extensive range of training courses; a structured program of continuing education and networking opportunities specifically for doctoral researchers via JuDocS, the Jülich Center for Doctoral Researchers and Supervisors: https://www.fz-juelich.de/en/judocs
  • Targeted services for international employees, e.g. through our International Advisory Service

The position is for a fixed term of 3 years, with possible long-term prospects. Pay in line with 50% of pay group 13 of the Collective Agreement for the Public Service (TVöD-Bund) and additionally 60 % of a monthly salary as special payment („Christmas bonus“). Further information on doctoral degrees at Forschungszentrum Jülich including our other locations is available at: https://www.fz-juelich.de/gp/Careers_Docs

In addition to exciting tasks and a collaborative working atmosphere at Jülich, we have a lot more to offer: https://go.fzj.de/benefits

We welcome applications from people with diverse backgrounds, e.g. in terms of age, gender, disability, sexual orientation / identity, and social, ethnic and religious origin. A diverse and inclusive working environment with equal opportunities in which everyone can realize their potential is important to us.

We look forward to receiving your application. The job will be advertised until the position has been successfully filled. You should therefore submit your application as soon as possible.

Apply now

Questions about the offer?

Please feel free to contact us via our contact form.
Please note that for technical reasons we cannot accept applications by e-mail.

You can find helpful information on the application and selection process here. You can also find answers to frequently asked questions in our FAQs.

Last Modified: 19.02.2024