Doctoral student (m/f/d) for studying phase separation processes by solid-state NMR

The research group of Prof. Dr. Thomas Wiegand at the MPI CEC and the Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule (RWTH) Aachen is looking for an enthusiastic

Doctoral student (m/f/d) for studying phase separation processes by solid-state NMR

The starting date is flexible; the temporary position is open from July 2024.


We study molecular recognition events in biology and chemistry by magnetic-resonance spectroscopy. This is achieved by developing and applying a set of dedicated solid-state Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) experiments enabling the detection and quantification of noncovalent interactions that are guiding such processes at the molecular level. In that vein, the group currently focuses on three selected molecular recognition processes, namely cellular organization by phase separation events, solid-state molecular recognition processes in organic mechanochemistry and interaction of substrate molecules with immobilized catalyst surfaces. The lab located at the Institute of Technical and Macromolecular Chemistry at RWTH Aachen University is equipped with NMR spectrometers up to 700 MHz enabling MAS experiments up to 111 kHz.

Available topic

The project will focus on the investigation of cellular organization by phase separation processes in proteins related to neurodegenerative diseases using magnetic-resonance strategies. The candidate will study their phase separation properties by solid-state NMR and high-resolution MAS techniques. A key focus of the work will lie on investigating the influence of RNA on such processes and on probing protein-nucleic acid interactions using fast MAS NMR techniques that are currently developed in our laboratory. Doing so, we aim at achieving a deeper understanding of the underlying noncovalent interactions driving the phase separation process. Suitable model systems mimicking liquid droplet environments, such as hydrogels and microgels, will be investigated in addition in close interaction with our collaboration partners. For selected publications see W. P. Lipinski, J. Zehnder et al., Chem. Eur. J. 2023, 29, e202301159; L. Emmanouilidis, E. Bartalucci, et al., Nature Chem. Biol. 2024, in press, doi: 10.1038/s41589-024-01573-w.


Successful candidates should have a science education in chemistry, physics or biology and a strong interest in spectroscopic techniques and in their applications to biomolecules. The candidate should be highly motivated in solid-state NMR method development.

Our offer

We offer an international, dynamic working environment in a renowned research institute, family-friendly jobs and flexible working hours. The salary is in accordance with the funding guidelines of the Max Planck Society for junior scientists.

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. Furthermore, the Max Planck Society seeks to increase the number of women in those areas where they are underrepresented and therefore explicitly encourages women to apply.

If you are interested in working on challenging interdisciplinary projects in structural biology and materials science, please send your complete application with the reference code TW011 until the 30th of June, 2024 by e-mail to


Your application should contain a curriculum vitae (CV) and the names of two professional references whom we may contact. We are looking forward to getting to know you!

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