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PhD Researcher Positions (f/m/d)

Humboldt Universität zu Berlin
Germany (DE)
TV-L E13, 65%
Closing date
2 Jun 2024

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Applied Science, Life Science
Job Type
PhD Position
Employment - Hours
Part time
Fixed term

Job Details

PhD Positions (f/m/d)

Yeast Synthetic Biology

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Germany

Location: Institute for Biology, Humboldt-Universität Zu Berlin, Berlin


The newly established Emmy Noether Group, led by Dr. Gita Naseri at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, is seeking applications to fill available PhD positions (TV-L E13, 65%). Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin is among the eleven prestigious German universities to have received the 'University of Excellence' status since 2012. Situated within the Institute of Biology, the research group focuses on applying synthetic biology to reprogram microbial cells, including yeasts such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Pichia pastoris, as well as bacteria, to achieve specific functions.


The proposed project

These positions should be started, preferably on July 1st, and are initially funded for 36 months, with the possibility of extension following an evaluation. The chosen candidate will be an integral part of the COMPLATn research project, which is funded by the Emmy Noether program of DFG. The project centers on the metabolic engineering of highly valuable rare plant natural products (NPs), specifically the monoterpene indole alkaloids (MIAs) derived from strictosidine in the yeast P. pastoris. The COMPLATn project employs advanced synthetic biology techniques to identify optimal regulatory conditions for producing the target NPs in yeast.



Prior experience in developing synthetic biology tools for fine-tuning gene expression in yeast (P. pastoris or S. cerevisiae). Proficiency in molecular biology, yeast engineering and culture, and CRISPR genome editing. Previous exposure to next-generation sequencing, single-cell technology, and/or bioprocess engineering is desirable. Candidates should have a track record of publishing in peer-reviewed journals and a strong interest in yeast metabolic engineering. Wet-lab experience, in particular with cloning, genetic engineering, or molecular biology of yeasts (S. cerevisiae, P. pastoris, ... ) as well as bacteria. Excellent proficiency in English, both written and spoken. A master's degree (M. Sc.) or Diploma in chemical engineering, bioengineering, biotechnology, microbiology, molecular biology, or related fields is needed.


Key duties and responsibilities

The selected candidate will transfer plant biosynthetic genes into the yeast P. pastoris to create cell factories capable of on-demand compound production. The candidate will contribute to establishing the dual optogenetic tool and synthetic promoters to control gene expression in

P. pastoris, and combinatorial optimization methodology to balance the required gene expression levels. Additionally, the candidate will participate in establishing high-throughput screening and sequencing strategies for studying the genetic identity of the library members. This work will involve using state-of-the-art synthetic biology and related technologies within a collaborative working environment. The candidate will collaborate closely with international team of collaborators from diverse backgrounds, including Prof. Emmanuelle Charpentier (Max Planck Institute of the Science of Pathogens, Germany), Prof. Mattheos Koffas (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, USA), Prof. Vincent Courdavault (University of Tours, Tours, France), Prof. Harrison Steel (University of Oxford, UK), and Prof. Peter Hegemann (Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Germany) to gain a comprehensive understanding of the fundamental building blocks in the biosynthesis of the target MIAs in yeast.

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin is an equal opportunity employer and encourages applications from qualified female scientists. Equally qualified applicants with disabilities will receive preferential consideration. Applicants with diverse backgrounds are also encouraged to apply.


lnterested in joining our team?

Please send your application (1. CV; 2. Letter of motivation; 3. Statement of research interests; 4. Relevant references; 5. Names of previous supervisors; 6. Academic degrees and transcripts in English or German) within 4 weeks, quoting the reference number "DR/006/24" to Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Faculty of Life Sciences, Institute of Biology, Dr. Gita Naseri, Unter den Linden 6, 10099 Berlin (Sitz: Philippstr. 13) or preferably by e-mail in a single PDF file to Please visit our website, which gives you access to the legally binding German version. The position is also available on the group website: and on Twitter:



1.G. Naseri*. 2023. Toward a comprehensive platform for sustainable manufacturing of natural products in yeast. Nature Communications. 37627-1

2.G. Naseri*, K. Prause, H. Haj Hamdo, C. Arenz. 2021. Artificial transcription factors for tuneable gene expression in Pichia pastoris. Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology, 9:676900.

3.G. Naseri*, M. Koffas*. 2020. Application of combinatorial optimization strategies in synthetic biology. Nature Communications 11, 2446.

4. G. Naseri, J. Behrend, L. Rieper, B. Mueller-Roeber. 2019. COMPASS for rapid combinatorial optimization of biochemical pathways based on artificial transcription factors. Nature Communications 10, 2615.


Company info
Philipp-Str. 13
Hause 22

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