PhD & Postdoc Positions in Computational Cell Biology

PhD & Postdoc Positions in Computational Cell Biology

Heinrich Heine University, Düsseldorf

Düsseldorf, Germany

Shape the future of modelling the organization and evolution of biological cells with us

The Chair for Computational Cell Biology at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Germany, invites applications for PhD Candidates and Postdocs to be employed as research assistants / associates.


We seek outstanding candidates to join work on two theoretical and computational projects.

To understand cellular organization, we generally assume that natural selection optimized some cellular output (such as cellular growth rate) under physico-chemical constraints. We then explore the consequences of such constraint optimization, for example to predict cell size or the concentrations of proteins and other types of molecules. We are in the process of building a genome-scale model of the bacterium E. coli based on these principles, which would allow us to predict bacterial behavior and evolution with unprecedented detail.

To understand evolution, we analyze large datasets of genomic data. Based on this data, we build and test mathematical models for how genetic information is transmitted between generations, sometimes crossing the boundary between different species (“horizontal gene transfer”). To fully capture evolutionary processes, these models of evolution must be linked with models of cellular functioning and organismal fitness, as developed in the first project. Our ultimate goal is to use these models to understand how different bacteria contributed over a billion years ago to the genes now found across eukaryotes (including humans).


For the PhD positions, you need a Master’s degree (or a very good Bachelor’s degree) in a relevant field, such as Biophysics, Biochemistry, Physics, Systems Biology, Bioinformatics, or Applied Mathematics. For the postdoc positions, you need experience in modelling biological systems.

The Chair for Computational Cell Biology

We are one of Europe’s leading theoretical labs in the fields of cellular organizing principles (with some groundbreaking work still unpublished) and of linking genetic and functional evolution (e.g., Heckmann, Cell 2013; Szappanos, Nature Commun. 2016; Pang, PNAS 2018). We employ biologists, physicists, bioengineers, and mathematicians, and have a dual association with the Institute for Computer Science and the Department of Biology.

Heinrich Heine University

HHU is a vibrant academic institution in the heart of West Germany, with particular emphasis on the life sciences. Our university aims at increasing the percentage of employed women. Applications from women will therefore be given preference in cases of equal aptitude, ability and professional achievements unless there are exceptional reasons for choosing another applicant. Applications from suitably qualified severely disabled persons or disabled persons regarded as being of equal status according to Book IX of the German social Code (SGB – Soziales Gesetzbuch) are encouraged.


Please send your application (motivation letter, CV, names of two referees and transcripts in one PDF) to . The call will remain open until the position is filled.


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PhD & Postdoc Positions in Computational Cell Biology