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Open Positions 1
Time Span as soon as possible for 3 years
Application Deadline 15 Dec 2019
Financing yes
Type of Position
  • PhD - Individual Supervisor
Field of Research
  • Mathematics / Natural Sciences
Subjects Biophysics

The position is part of the Innovative Training Network (ITN) “PROTON”. The network is devoted to the investigation of proton transport and proton-coupled transport. It is funded under Marie Sklodowska-Curie actions (H2020-MSCA-ITN-2019, grant agreement number: 860592):


The project will be carried out in the Computational Biophysics Group of Prof. Jochen Hub at Saarland University, Germany, department of Physics and Center for Biophysics. Malaria is one of the most frequent infectious disease worldwide with ~200 million cases per year. Therapeutic options are limited and challenged by resistant parasite strains, suggesting that new druggable protein targets are urgently needed. The successful applicant will use computational methods to study the function and the inhibition of a recently discovered membrane channel of Plasmodium falciparum, the Malaria parasite. In close collaboration with an experimental group at the University of Kiel (Germany), the PhD candidate will clarify the molecular mechanism of ion permeation and regulation acting in the channel. Most importantly, the PhD candidate will simulate the binding of drug candidates to the channel in order to understand the modes of binding and inhibition and to open new routes for the rational improvement of drug candidates.

The researcher will use classical molecular dynamics simulations, hybrid quantum-mechanical/molecular-mechanical methods, as well as virtual docking methods. Simulations will be carried out on the group’s own cluster (~250 GPUs) and on external supercomputing facilities.

The PhD student will have two secondments (2 to 3 months each):

• Boeringer Ingelheim, Germany; computational docking and ligand screening in a big pharma environment
• Hebrew University Jerusalem, Israel, Lab of Noam Agmon; hybrid quantum-mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) simulations of proton transfer in protein channels

More details on the PROTON network is available here:


We are offering a full time position for three years. The gross salary per month amounts to 3.171,90€ incl. taxes and social security / employer’s contribution. In addition the ESR will be paid a monthly mobility allowance (600€) and - if applicable - a family allowance (500€).

The earliest starting date is December 1st 2019.


We are looking for a PhD candidate with a degree in Physics, Chemistry, Biophysics, or a related subject, with the following qualifications

Required Qualifications, as requested by the EU:

1. Applicants must, at the date of recruitment by PROTON, be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience measured from the date when the researcher obtained the degree entitling him/her to embark on a doctorate) of their research careers
2. They should not have been awarded a doctoral degree.
3. Applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Germany for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date. This excludes short stays such as holidays or compulsory national service.
4. We look for students with exceptional academic performance holding or very close to completing their Master degree in Physics, Chemistry, Biophysics or closely related subjects,
5. Knowledge of the English language is essential.

Additional Qualifications

1. Experience with computational scientific work.
2. Experience with molecular dynamics simulation or small-molecule docking.
3. Understanding of physical chemistry of biomolecular systems.
4. Publications in international journals/attendance of international conferences in physics, chemistry, or biophysics.
5. Experience with programming or scripting languages. Ability to use languages for data analysis.
6. Soft skills: presentation skill, team working ability

For all the above, knowledge is proven by publications, certificates, master thesis or equivalent documentation. Skills should be acknowledged in reference letters and demonstrated during the interview (presentation skills). During the interview each applicant presents his/her master thesis project and a scientific paper from an area unrelated to his/her specialization (chosen by the interviewers).

Women are encouraged to apply. The recruitment committee gives preference to female candidates if they are equally qualified as male candidates. Physically handicapped persons will be preferred in case equally qualified.

Documents Required, please send as a single PDF:

1. Motivation letter
2. Reference letters
3. Curriculum Vitae
4. Copies of Bachelor and Master certificates
5. Publications (if available).

Address for applications:
Application deadline: 15.12.2019

Working Language
  • English
Language of Dissertation
  • English
Required Documents
  • CV
  • Reports, certificates
  • Transcripts
  • Letter of Motivation
  • Others : all course records, university entrance exam, names of 2 references who are willing to write a letter of recommendation upon request
More Information


Saarland University • Faculty of Natural Science and Technology - Department of Physics
Prof. Dr. Jochen Hub
Campus E2 6
66123 Saarbrücken

Phone: +49 681 302 2740