International Max Planck Research School on Multiscale Bio-Systems

The IMPRS on Multiscale Bio-Systems is a graduate program, where young talented doctoral students can work on a challenging research project and develop their scientific communicaiton and management skills.

Scientific scope
The IMPRS on Multiscale Bio-Systems addresses the fundamental levels of biosystems as provided by macromolecules in aqueous solutions, molecular recognition between these building blocks, free energy transduction by molecular machines as well as structure formation and transport in cells and tissues. The research activities are focused on four core areas:

  • molecular recognition of carbohydrates,
  • interaction of biomolecules with light,
  • directed intracellular processes and
  • directed shape changes of tissues.
One general objective is to understand, in a quantitative manner,  how the processes on supramolecular and mesoscopic scales between a few nanometers and many micrometers arise from the structure and dynamics of the molecular building blocks. To achieve this goal, our interdisciplinary research combines bottom-up with top-down approaches, which are pursued by several groups from theoretical and experimental biophysics, from physical and colloid chemistry as well as from biochemistry and molecular biology.

General structure of training and supervision
Each doctoral student at the IMPRS on Multiscale Bio-Systems is supervised by at least two faculty members of the school. In addition to that, each student chooses an additional person (the mentor) from the rest of the faculty. The mentor is typicaly not directly involved in the research project. The supervisors and the mentor compose the thesis committee of the doctoral student. They will meet on a regular basis together with the student and discuss the progress as well as give suggestions for courses and activities that will complement the training of the student.

The IMPRS will organize courses on transferable skills (e.g. time management, presentation skills, scientific writing, grant writing). In addition to that, the IMPRS organizes two meetings per year at which the whole school meets and a lecture series covering all aspects of the school's research topics. While these activities are compulsory for all IMPRS students, each student may have to attend and pass courses, which are useful to complete his or her scientific training.

Students activities
Students will have the opportunity to organize their own workshop once a year. Funding for the workshop will be made available through the school: topics, speakers and all the organizational details will be decided by the students. Moreover, students will be encouraged to visit conferences and workshop in order to present their research results.

Applications and selection
Students are expected to apply before the deadline. The current deadline for applications is January 31, 2014.There are currently about ten open positions! Everyone, who has the required scientific background, is welcome to apply. There will be a first selection based on the documents in the application to create a short list of applicants, who will be contacted for an interview, if necessary. Students accepted for the project will then receive a research stipend for three years. Selection will be made taking both the general qualifications of the candidate and the specific requirements of the project into account. Interested applicants should first take a look at the list of proposed projects for this call and then follow our application procedure.

Location and organization
The IMPRS on Multiscale Bio-Systems involves the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, which is the main organizational structure, the University of Potsdam, the Free University and the Humboldt University in Berlin as well as the Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering.