University of Cologne (UoC)

Post-doctoral researcher

University of Cologne

Cologne, Germany

The University of Cologne offers a wide range of scientific disciplines and internationally leading profile areas organized in six faculties. At the Faculty of Medicine, 1,800 scientists are engaged in research, ranging from basic sciences to clinical application, as well as teaching and health care. Together with the University Hospital Cologne the faculty maintains 58 clinics, research institutes and centers. 3,400 students study in this dynamic and innovative environment. The Faculty of Medicine and the University Hospital Cologne are embedded in the scientifically highly active Rhine region. They have strong contacts to and alliances with the surrounding universities and non-university research institutions fostering scientific excellence in research and teaching.

The Center for Molecular Medicine Cologne invites applications from enthusiastic, motivated individuals for the Junior Research Group (JRG XI) “Structure and Biochemistry of Epigenetic Regulators” of Dr. Simon Poepsel for one

Post-doctoral researcher (full-time)

to be employed immediately under a limited-time contract (third party funded – 3 years).

The Center for Molecular Medicine Cologne (CMMC) is a multidisciplinary center at the University of Cologne providing a forum that brings together physician scientists with basic researchers from the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences to perform competitive basic, disease-oriented research. The mission of the CMMC is to advance the understanding of the underlying molecular and cellular mechanisms as a prelude to improving prevention, diagnosis and treatment of many common health problems. For further information, please visit

Research overview:
We are interested in the enzymatic basis of epigenetic gene regulation. The main focus of our work are multi-subunit histone methyltransferase (HMTase) complexes. Through their highly targeted activities, these intriguing assemblies establish gene expression patterns to instruct cellular differentiation and development. HMTases have to be located correctly within the genome and their catalytic activities adjusted for optimal specificity in time and space.

We are using state-of-the-art cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) to uncover the molecular structure and regulatory mechanisms of human HMTase complexes. By understanding the roles and interplay of subunits within the complexes and with chromatin (e.g. DNA and chromatin modifications), we will enhance our knowledge of mechanisms of epigenetic decision making. We are working with recombinant, heterologous expression systems (E. coli, insect cells) and use endogenous sources (tissue culture) to obtain native, functional assemblies. Our studies involve the isolation of protein complexes, the elucidation of their three-dimensional structure by single-particle cryo-EM, as well as biochemical and cellular activity assays.

Please visit to learn more about the group’s interests and ongoing research.

Your responsibilities will include:

  • expression, purification and reconstitution of human HMTase complexes
  • generation of CRISPR-Cas9 edited cell lines, purification from cultured cells
  • cryo-EM sample preparation, screening, data collection and image processing
  • assays of HMTase activity and binding affinities
  • design and analysis of mutants for mechanistic studies
  • design, reconstitution and characterization of chromatin substrates
  • conduct collaborative efforts across disciplines (e.g. epigenomics)

Required skills and qualifications:

  • PhD in biochemistry, biophysics or a related field
  • advanced experience and publication record in biochemistry and / or structural biology
  • enthusiasm for molecular structure and function as the basis of life processes
  • high level of motivation, endurance and positivity
  • ability and willingness to work in a collaborative team
  • appreciation of thorough and dependable experimentation
  • excellent communication in English (written and speech)

Desired qualifications:

  • hands-on experience in cryo-electron microscopy, including sample preparation, data acquisition and/or image processing
  • experience in model building and interpretation of structural data and validation metrics
  • experience in tissue culture, potentially including epigenomics or super-resolution light microscopy

Your salary will be based on TV-L.

Applications from female candidates are welcome; suitably qualified women will be given preferential consideration unless other applicants clearly demonstrate superior qualifications.

We also welcome applications from candidates with disabilities, who will also be given preferential consideration over other applicants with comparable qualifications.

The position is suitable for staffing with part-time employees.

Please address e-mail enquiries to Dr. Simon Poepsel (

Have we awakened your interest? Please submit your application (including a detailed CV, list of publications, two references and a brief statement of research interests) online at ">*

Submissions will only be accepted if they are sent no later than June 14, 2019.

Please apply via recruiter’s website.