Principles of cell and tissue organization


PhD student and/or Postdoc in Computational Biology

The Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, Germany, is a highly visible and international research institute focused on cell and developmental biology. Currently about 500 employees are working at the institute, where half are from abroad with 53 nations represented. MPI-CBG has twice been awarded the title “Best Place to Work” (Academia and postdocs) by the journal “The Scientist”. It tops the list of the top ten research institutions outside the United States in 2009, and is the only German institution listed.

We are offering projects suitable for a PhD student and/or postdoctoral candidate in Computational Biology.

The group of Marino Zerial is looking for a highly-motivated PhD student and/or postdoctoral candidate with strong background in mathematics (theory probability, ODE, PDE, numerical methods), and/or physics and experience in either programming (C/C++) and/or image analysis.

Areas of interest are the following:

  1. The 3D reconstruction and image analysis of liver tissue:
    1. Development of new algorithms for microscopy image segmentation and analysis aiming to build reliable high-resolution 3D models of liver tissue.
    2. Mathematical and computational modeling aiming to bridge liver tissue structure with its function.
  2. The development and implementation of algorithms and tools for the analysis of image-based genomic functional screens:
    1. Extraction of high-content multi-parametric phenotype descriptors from microscopy images;
    2. Probabilistic analysis of multi-parametric profiles, prediction of biologically meaningful functional modules and their interconnections.
  3. Theoretical analysis of experiments of the team:
    1. Develop models and algorithms to extract quantitative parameters from raw experimental data;
      1. Mathematical models of biological processes to extract biologically meaningful parameters from experimental data;
      2. Computational algorithms to extract directly non-observable values from experimental data.
    2. Develop models to explain experimental data and predict the results of genetic/pharmacological perturbations in biological systems;
    3. Develop new approaches to link experimental results and input/output parameters of theoretical models.

The above projects aim at understanding the design principles of cell and tissue structure and function, including the developing and regenerating mouse liver.

Candidates should have a degree in physics or mathematics or computer science.  Knowledge of high performance and parallel computing is an advantage. Since the aim of the projects is to develop theory to complement experimental biological studies, some knowledge of biology and experience in the analysis of experimental data is required. An excellent command of English together with good communication skills and self-motivation are also required.

Candidates interested in performing their PhD work on the above project(s) should apply directly to the International Max Planck Research School for Cell, Developmental and Systems Biology (, following the guidelines of the program.

Postdoctoral candidates interested in this position should send a copy of their CV and motivation letter together with contacts of three referees to Marino Zerial ( and Yannis Kalaidzidis ( The position is available immediately.

The Max Planck Society is an equal opportunity employer: handicapped individuals are strongly encouraged to apply. The Center for Systems Biology, the MPI-CBG and the MPI-PKS aim to increase the number of women in scientific positions. Female candidates are therefore particularly welcome.

Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics

Code: 2016-PhD_Postdoc-1040

Pfotenhauerstr. 108

01307 Dresden, Germany

Further information on the research environment at MPI-CBG Dresden can be found at our website.

Zerial lab