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Three PhD Student Positions (m/f/div)

Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light

Job Description

The Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light (MPL) research covers a wide range of topics at the forefront of optics and photonics research, including nonlinear optics, quantum optics, nanophotonics, photonic crystal fibers, optomechanics, quantum technologies, biophysics, and links between physics and medicine.

The Biological Optomechanics Division of Prof. Jochen Guck at the MPL is looking to fill

Three PhD Student Positions (m/f/div)

initial duration: three years

About us:

It is increasingly recognized that a complete understanding of biological systems has to go beyond genes and proteins and consider emergent physical properties at larger scales. We investigate these physical – mechanical and optical – properties of living cells and tissues using novel photonics and biophysical tools and test their biological importance. Our ultimate goal is the transfer of our findings to medical applications. We are a highly interdisciplinary research group of physicists, biologists, chemists, engineers, and data scientists and value an open culture of knowledge exchange.

Project descriptions:

The three PhD student positions are fully funded and part of three different projects at the interface of physics / optics and biology / medicine. One project is part of the local DFG Collaborative Research Center “Exploring brain mechanics”. Here, the successful candidate will use Brillouin microscopy (BM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM) to establish the basis of tissue mechanical properties in the zebrafish spinal cord. The second project is a collaboration with a clinical colleague at the university hospital where we want to use real-time deformability cytometry (RT-DC) and Brillouin microscopy to investigate the connection between cell mechanics and immune cell migration in the context of inflammatory bowel diseases. The third project is part of the EIC Pathfinder Consortium “DISRUPT”, which will develop and test optofluidic chips for low-cost, high-throughput optical diffraction tomography (ODT) applications. Here, the successful candidate will help to design the chips and later test their potential for diagnosing cancer and infections. All successful candidates will be able to participate in the local International Max Planck Research Schools for Physics of Light (IMPRS-PL) or Physics and Medicine (IMPRS-PM), or some other local graduate program.

Job requirements:

We are looking for PhD candidates with a solid background in any area listed below and a keen interest to apply their knowledge to explore the boundary between physics and biology / medicine. You should hold a master's degree in the field of physics, optics, biophysics, (bio)mechanical engineering, or a comparable subject. You want to join our efforts and are collaborative, ambitious, meticulous, scientifically adventurous, creative, and curiosity-driven. You are eager to face new challenges and work independently, but in close cooperation with others. Any prior hands-on experience with optics / photonics, quantitative phase imaging, optical diffraction tomography, Brillouin microscopy, AFM-enabled nanoindentation, high-speed microscopy in microfluidic systems, biological cells and tissues, or animal models such as zebrafish will be beneficial and should be explicitly stated but is not a prerequisite for applying.

Your specific tasks will depend on the actual project, but include:

  • Learning the specific methods required
  • Conducting independent research with supervision as needed
  • Discussing the results with the group and with collaboration partners
  • Communicating the findings in scientific publications, at conferences, and to the general public

The project duration is initially for three years. Questions about this project can be directed to guck-office@mpl.mpg.de. Apply online with a meaningful motivation letter (if possible, indicating a preference for one of the three projects), CV, list of publications, and names of two references via our online application tool by April 15th, 2023: https://recruitingapp-5173.de.umantis.com/Vacancies/413/Application/New/2

The Max Planck Society strives for gender and diversity equality. We welcome applications from all backgrounds. Furthermore, the Max Planck Society is committed to increasing the number of individuals with disabilities in its workforce and therefore encourages applications from such qualified individuals.

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