PhD position - Nuclear Chemistry / Organic Chemistry

Jülich Research Centre (FZJ)

Jülich, Germany

Work group:

INM-5 – Nuklearchemie



Area of research:

PHD Thesis



Job description:

Within the framework of the Helmholtz European Partnering Project "Innovative high performance computing approaches for molecular neuromedicine", INM-5 in cooperation with INM-9 and Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (ITT) offers a joint PhD position. The overall goal of the project is the establishment of new lines of research in HPC for molecular neurobiology and neuroactive drug design.The project includes the identification, synthesis and evaluation of new ligands, which target receptors that regulate signaling pathways involved in neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs). Here we will especially focus on the dopamine receptor subtype D2, which is for example involved in schizophrenia or depression. After in silico identification of promising ligands with improved binding kinetics (HPC-based molecular simulations carried out at INM-9), these compounds will be prepared and evaluated in different preclinical set-ups like binding assays. For this purpose suitable precursors will be synthesized and labeled with 18F. In dependence of the structure of the D2 receptor ligand, appropriate 18F-labeling strategies have to be established. After successful radiolabeling the synthesis of the 18F-labelled D2 receptor ligand will be automated to enable the production of high activity amounts. This is accompanied by the establishment of quality control measures to ensure high purity of the final product and allow translation into clinics. Afterwards the impact on living cells of the most promising candidates in terms of binding kinetics will be tested at ITT.


Your Job:



  • Development of 18F-labeled ligands for the visualization of neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs), in particular D2 receptor ligands

  • Design and synthesis of radiotracers for PET diagnostics

  • Organic preparative synthesis of suitable precursor compounds

  • Selection and development of radiolabeling strategies

  • Radiolabeling of precursor compounds and subsequent automation of the synthesis process

  • Biological in vitro evaluation

Your Profile:

  • Successfully completed scientific university studies in the field of chemistry
  • Knowledge of preparative organic chemistry
  • Knowledge of radiolabeling with 18F or 11C is desirable
  • Basic knowledge of molecular biology is advantageous (for preclinical in vitro evaluation)
  • Very good knowledge of spoken and written English
  • Structured and independent way of working as well as a careful working style
  • Ability to work in an interdisciplinary and international working Team

Our Offer:

  • Outstanding scientific and technical infrastructure – ideal conditions for successfully completing a doctoral degree
  • A highly motivated group as well as an international and interdisciplinary working environment at one of Europe`s largest research establishments
  • Cooperation in an interdisciplinary team of motivated scientists, engineers and technicians as well as partners in national and international projects
  • Chance of participating in (international) conferences and project meetings
  • Continuous, professional support by your scientific supervisor
  • Further development of your personal strengths in connection with a socially balanced working environment
  • Pay in line with 50 % of pay group 13 of the Collective Agreement for the Public Service (TVöD-Bund) pay higher than the basic pay may be possible
  • Usually a contract for the duration of 3 years

Forschungszentrum Jülich aims to employ more women in this area and therefore particularly welcomes applications from women.We also welcome applications from disabled persons.


Please apply via recruiter’s website.

Quote Reference: 2019D-222

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