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Advertising division: INM-9 - Computational Biomedicine
Reference number: 2019D-154


The Computational Biomedicine Division (INM-9/IAS-5) at Forschungszentrum Jülich develops and uses computational methods going from multi-scale molecular simulations to bioinformatics and drug design to face the challenge of understanding the molecular basis of cellular (especially neuronal) signaling processes, in healthy and disease conditions. Because of the complexity of the systems under study, simulation approaches require massive parallel computing resources such as those available at the Jülich Supercomputing Center (JSC) at Forschungszentrum Jülich.

Neurotransmission is at the heart of brain functioning. A complex network of chemical interactions (molecular signaling cascades), involving hundreds of different molecules (proteins, chemicals, etc) that have to diffuse, meet and interact at the correct time in the correct place is responsible for the transmission of information through neuronal cells. These processes regulate very complex tasks, such as memory, learning, mood etc. The project will be developed in collaboration with the department of Soft Condensed Matter at the Institute of Complex Systems, ICS-3. The student will be supported by researchers from both Institutes (Dr. Calandrini at INM-9/IAS-5, Prof. Nägele and Prof. Dhont at ICS-3) and will spend his/her time in equal parts in the two Institutes.

We are offering a

PhD position in the field of “Modeling of collective transport phenomena relevant to neuronal cascades”

Your Job:

  • Development of analytical theories and new or available numerical protocols (Brownian dynamics, multiparticle collision dynamics, etc) for mesoscale modelling of post-synaptic signalling events occurring at the neuronal membrane
  • Development of computational schemes (evaluation and benchmarking) for mesoscale simulations of collective transport phenomena relevant to neuronal cascades
  • Development of protocols for the derivation of phenomenological parameters used as input to mesoscopic simulations
  • Modeling of oligomerization and diffusion-limited processes involving macromolecules at the neuronal membrane
  • Optional: Development of automatized workflows for modeling of signaling molecular cascades

The goal is to understand how membrane composition, lateral diffusion, confinement, protein-protein and protein-lipid interactions, crowding and hydrodynamics, combine together and regulate neurotransmission.

Your Profile:

  • University degree in either physics, theoretical physical chemistry, applied mathematics, chemical engineering, computer science or comparable disciplines
  • Background/experience in at least one of the following fields: statistical physics, biophysics, soft matter, Brownian dynamics and/or molecular dynamics simulation methods
  • Experience with programming languages and software (Fortran, C++, Mathematica) and/or molecular dynamics simulation codes
  • Excellent skills in spoken and written English
  • Excellent organizational skills and ability to work independently
  • Strong communication skills and ability to work as part of a team
  • A high level of scholarship as indicated, for example, by bachelor and master study transcripts and two reference letters

Our Offer:

  • Working at one of the largest and best-known European research facilities with excellent scientific and computational infrastructure – ideal conditions for successfully completing a doctoral degree
  • Opportunity to work in a team of highly-motivated scientists from INM-9/IAS-5 and ICS-3 with complementary expertise on a very interdisciplinary research campus, ideally situated between the cities of Cologne, Düsseldorf, and Aachen
  • Promotion of professional development through various training programs: seminar series organized by INM-9/IAS-5 and ICS-3 with recognized experts from very different disciplines, including biology, physics and data science, participation in thematic schools, participation in the complementary training program offered via the doctoral and supervisor platform of Forschungszentrum Jülich
  • Chance of participating in (international) conferences and project meetings
  • Continuous, professional support by your scientific supervisor
  • Pay in line with 70% of pay group 13 of the Collective Agreement for the Public Service (TVöD-Bund)
  • Usually a contract for the duration of 3 years

Forschungszentrum Jülich aims to employ more women in this area and therefore particularly welcomes applications from women.

We also welcome applications from disabled persons.

Additional Information

We look forward to receiving your application, preferably online via our online recruitment system on our career site until 23.09.2019, quoting the above-mentioned reference number.

Questions about the vacancy?
Contact us by mentioning the reference number 2019D-154:
Please note that for technical reasons we cannot accept applications via email.