Open Positions

PhD position

Compartmentalization was likely essential for the emergence of life. Coacervates formed from catalytically active RNA and peptides may have served as simple compartments in prebiotic evolution. The Niederholtmeyer lab for Synthetic Biology offers a PhD position within the DFG-funded Collaborative Research Center (CRC) 392 on Molecular Evolution in Prebiotic Environments. The goal of the project is to investigate the evolution of RNA-peptide coacervates harboring active ribozymes under long-term microfluidic substrate supply.

We are looking for a PhD student who is enthusiastic about the origins of life, and about working on an interdisciplinary and collaborative project. The ideal candidate has some prior experience with ribozymes, RNA work, microfluidics and/or microscopy. The position can be filled from April 2024.

The Niederholtmeyer lab is located at the TUM Campus Straubing for Biotechnology and Sustainability. We are a team of synthetic biologists, interested in cell-free systems and engineering life-like compartments. More information about CRC 392 and our sub-project B8 can be found here:

The online application portal is open: At the same time, you can also email Henrike with your letter of motivation and CV.

Postdoc (or PhD) positions

The Niederholtmeyer lab for Synthetic Biology is currently looking for up to two postdocs (we will also consider excellent applicants for PhD positions) to join our collaborative, interdisciplinary team at the TUM Campus Straubing for Biotechnology and Sustainability.

Project 1: Many proteins have the ability to spontaneously cluster in molecularly dense, phase-separated liquid-like assemblies, termed biomolecular condensates. Biomolecular condensates are promising as synthetic compartments in cell-free reactions and living cells because they could provide programmable, self-assembled spatial organization and rapidly appear or dissolve on demand. This project uses cell-free synthesis and custom microfluidic tools for the engineering and characterization of biomolecular condensates.

Project 2: Dynamic circuits can control gene expression in time and space. In this project we engineer communication between cell-like compartments to generate self-organizing patterns, similar to what we see during the development of multicellular organisms. To keep cell-like compartments active over time, a microfluidic device maintains optimal conditions for cell-free transcription and translation.

Candidates for both projects should have prior experience with at least one of the following techniques:

  • microfluidics
  • fluorescence microscopy
  • quantitative image analyses
  • cell-free expression systems
  • engineering synthetic gene circuits

Applications for postdoc positions should consist of a letter of motivation detailing your interests and previous experience including a short highlight of one of your publications, a CV and contact information of a previous mentor/supervisor.