PhD student or Postdoc (f/m/d) | Specificity mechanisms of ubiquitin ligase complexes


The Max Planck Institute for Multidisciplinary Sciences is a leading international research institute of exceptional scientific breadth. With more than 40 research groups and some 1,000 employees from over 50 nations, it is the largest institute of the Max Planck Society.

The research group Ubiquitin Signaling Specificity (Dr. Sonja Lorenz) invites applications for the position as a PhD student or Postdoc (f/m/d) - Specificity mechanisms of ubiquitin ligase complexes.

Our laboratory aims to understand how the posttranslational modifier ubiquitin regulates myriad aspects of eukaryotic physiology. A major key lies in the action of ubiquitin ligases, a highly diversified enzyme class that recognizes specific substrates for ubiquitination and determines the types of modifications they are decorated with. The immense potential of ubiquitin ligases for therapeutic applications has been illustrated by the clinical efficacy of immunomodulatory drugs in the treatment of hematological malignancies and recent advances of Protacs/molecular glues. Yet, efficient targeting of ubiquitin ligases in the clinic is still hampered by our limited understanding of their structural mechanisms and integration into cellular pathways.

We offer PhD or Postdoc positions to explore structure-function relationships in ubiquitin ligases. Building on strong preliminary data, available projects focus on (i) the isolation/ biochemical reconstitution of ubiquitin ligases complexes with substrates and regulators for cryo-EM analyses; (ii) the cell-based identification of ubiquitin ligase complexes and functional analyses; (iii) solution NMR analyses of the regulation and conformational dynamics of ubiquitination enzymes. Our projects typically combine several of the above-mentioned techniques and can be tailored to the particular interests of the successful candidate. An example of our ongoing work.

PhD candidates should hold/soon expect a MSc or equivalent degree in a relevant area of the life sciences. Initial experience in one or more of the following techniques is desired: protein biochemistry, mammalian cell biology, or any aspect of structural biology.

Postdoctoral candidates should have/soon expect a PhD or equivalent degree in a relevant area of the life sciences. A proven track record in either cryo EM or solution NMR, including experience in protein purification/isolation of protein complexes.

The successful candidates for either position should be curiosity-driven, creative, and passionate about science. A high degree of self-motivation and independence is important, as well as the ability to communicate well within an international, multidisciplinary team.

We offer

  • competitive research in an inspiring, world-class environment
  • professional training, networking and career-development opportunities; free language courses
  • on-site health management: free fitness and yoga room, sports groups, beach volleyball league,
    and courses for a "moving lunch break”
  • a wide range of opportunities to balance work and family life, including an on-campus kindergarten and
    vacation care
  • spacious on-site cafeteria offering warm meals and a salad bar
  • initiatives for sustainability and a green environment, including an on-site biotope

About us

Based at one of Germany’s premier research campuses, our research group has access to leading-edge infrastructure in all areas of cell and structural biology, including cryo-EM. We are an international team, supported by the Max Planck Society, the German Research Foundation, and the EMBO Young Investigator Program. Our working language is English; knowledge of German is not required. The historic city of Göttingen, located in the center of Germany, offers great outdoor and cultural opportunities, a vibrant student scene, and an impressive scientific heritage.

Position details

The positions should be filled as soon as possible; the exact start date is flexible. PhD students will be funded for three years (with a possibility of extension) and have the opportunity to enroll in one of several PhD programs in collaboration with the University of Göttingen. Fast-track MSc/PhD students are also welcome to apply. Postdoc positions are initially funded for two years with a possibility of extension. Payment and benefits are based on the TVöD (wage agreement for public service personnel) guidelines.

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


Please submit your application including a cover letter (explaining background and motivation), CV, academic transcripts, publication list, and the contact addresses of two preferably references as a single PDF file to the email address below. Review of applications will begin immediately.

Max Planck Institute for Multidisciplinary Sciences
Research Group Ubiquitin Signaling Specificity
Dr. Sonja Lorenz
Am Faßberg 11
37077 Göttingen

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