Open positions

If you are interested in joining our group, please send your enquiry including a motivation letter, CV, and the names and contact details of academic referees as a single pdf file by e-mail to

We are also looking for a PhD student together with Dr. Georg Hochberg to study how Non-Ribosomal Peptide Synthetases evolved to produce a diverese array of potentially useful natural products. Please read below for more info.

Non-ribosomal peptide synthetases (NRPS) are gigantic, multi-domain enzymes that act as assembly lines for microbes to synthesize an array of important natural products. Their products are very variable and many have potentially useful activities, such as very specific antibiotics. But we lack an understanding how the modular structure of any one NRPS encodes the exact natural product it produces. This hampers our ability to realize the biotechnological potential of these enzymes. To overcome this challenge, we seek a PhD candidate who would be excited to combine evolutionary analysis with very high-throughput biochemical analysis to elucidate how evolution encoded different activities across different families of NRPS. The candidate would work between the Bode lab and the Hochberg lab at the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology in Marburg. The Bode lab is world-leading in understanding the biochemistry of NRPS and high-throughput characterization of their activities. The Hochberg lab specializes in ancestral sequence reconstruction and the experimental characterization of resurrected proteins that last existed millions or even billions of years ago. Combining the expertise from both groups, the candidate will retrace the evolutionary history of families of NRPS proteins that have diversified their activities. They will then experimentally recreate and characterize enzymes that existed at different points in history to understand how diverse present-day activities evolved. This approach will yield unprecedented insights into how the specific activities of present day NRPSs are encoded in their sequence and structure.

The ideal candidate has experience in experimental biochemistry and some basic knowledge of either phylogenetics, evolutionary biology, or simple programming or scripting (in python or R). The position will remain open until filled, with a start date as soon as possible. As part of their PhD, the candidate would join the thriving graduate community at the International Max Planck Research School in Marburg. The Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology in Marburg is a world-leading hub of microbiology with state of the art research infrastructure and a highly stimulating intellectual environment.

Interested applicants should send a cover letter, CV and contact details of at least two referees to or For more information about the two groups, please visit our websites at and

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