Open Positions

Master- and Bachelor Projects

Student projects: 

Master- and bachelor- research projects available. If you are a student at FAU and are interested in lipid membrane biophysics and protein assembly into mesoscale patterns, please contact Katja Zieske (

If you are interested in a future masterthesis in our group and want to gain some lab experience beforehand, please apply for a student job (5h/week).


PhD position (f/m/d): Biophotonic Characterization of Living matter from the Bottom-Up

The research group of Dr. Katja Zieske invites applications for a

PhD position (f/m/d)

for the project

Biophotonic Characterization of Living matter from the Bottom-Up

with one of the following specializations

  • Cell-Free Reconstitution of purified proteins at Lipid Membranes
  • Biophotonic characterization of biological samples
  • Development of lab-on-chip systems to investigate biological systems assembled from the bottom-up

About us:

The Zieske group is an independent research group at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light. We are an interdisciplinary research team with projects in the area of biophysics and synthetic biology. Our research group is dedicated to exploring two fundamental questions: (1)  Emergence of Spatial and Temporal Patterns in Multicellular Systems: How do spatial and temporal patterns arise in multicellular systems through cellular interactions and interplay between cells and their extracellular environment? Employing a bottom-up approach, our interest lies in mimicking and reconstructing multicellular structures from the scratch. (2) Control and Emergence of Spatial Patterns and Forces at Lipid Membrane Interfaces?  How can spatial patterns and forces be orchestrated and controlled at lipid membrane interfaces? Our methodology involves synthetic lipid membranes, purified proteins and optical technologies to reconstitute and understand mechanisms governing membrane protein organization.

PhD students will conduct and analyze experiments, write scientific publications and present research results at scientific meetings. Access to the following technologies is available:

  • Confocal microscopy and epifluorescence microscopy
  • Photopatterning device
  • Optical tables for custom build optical tweezers and iScat setup
  • Wet lab for biological sample preparation
  • Cell culture bench
  • Instruments for protein purification (e.g. chromatography system)
  • Diverse model membrane systems (e.g. supported lipid membranes, giant unilamellar vesicles, phase separating membranes)
  • Microfluidic technologies (Pressure system to operate microfluidic devices, access to Cleanroom for micro- and nanofabrication,

Currently, we are looking for a highly motivated PhD student with experience in protein science, biophysics, biophotonics, microscopy lab-on-chip systems or collective cell assembly. The successful candidates will conduct an interdisciplinary research program and support one of the two main research directions of the Zieske group.

This position offers you the opportunity of unravelling fundamental rules of complex biological organization on the scale of protein assemblies or cellular assemblies.

The project duration for PhD students is 3 years. The working language is English.

Qualification of PhD applicants:

The successful candidate has a background in biochemistry, biology, bioengineering, biophysics, biophotonics or microscopy or a related field and obtained his/her master degree within the last 2 years with good grades (or is about to obtain a master degree in 2024). We seeking proactive team members who possess a strong scientific aptitude and the ability to effectively articulate their interest in specific scientific research areas through a compelling motivation letter. Applicants should demonstrate a strong interest in interdisciplinary research, particularly at the intersection of quantitative science, life science and microscopy. Moreover, candidates are expected to have hands-on experience in experimental wet lab work. The ability to take responsibility over an independent project is a crucial aspect of this position, reflecting the capacity for autonomy and project management. International experience or mobility, coupled with relevant research experience gained through internships or thesis work would be considered advantageous. We welcome candidates who are not only driven by academic curiosity but also possess the skills and initiative to contribute actively to our collaborative research environment.

Experimental experience in one or several of the following areas would be advantageous:

  • Membrane protein purification or protein engineering
  • Light-switchable proteins / Optogenetics
  • Lipid membrane models (e.g. GUVs or supported lipid membranes)
  • Microscopy or single molecule spectroscopy of biological objects and quantitative analysis
  • Single molecule tracking experiments and data analysis
  • Clean room experience and fabrication of lab-on-chip devices
  • Multicellular structures (e.g. angiogenesis, collective cell behavior, multicellular structure formation)

Interested in joining our team?

Submit your application to our graduate program (International Max Planck Research School for Physics and Medicine): . The application material should include:

1) your preferred research area(s) or the PI(s) you would like to work with (e.g. Zieske group)

2) motivation letter (include your interest in specific scientific research areas)

3) CV

4) Please indicate how you found out about our IMPRS-PL (e.g. advertisement)

5) university certificates and academic records

6) short abstracts of Bachelor and Master thesis

7) Highschool certificate or comparable certificate which qualifies you for entering university (if available)

8) 2 letters of recommendation (please ask your reviewers to directly send them as pdf files to

9) proof of proficiency in English (if available)

The Max Planck Society strives to ensure a workplace that embraces diversity and provides equal opportunities irrespective of gender, nationality or disabilities of the applicants. 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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