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[ccp4bb] PhD student position, Max Planck Institute

The Research Groups “Macromolecular Crystallography” (Dr. Vlad Pena) at the Max Planck

Institute for Biophysical Chemistry and “Nucleic Acid Chemistry” (Prof. Dr. Claudia Höbartner)

at the University of Göttingen invite applications for a joint


Ph. D. Student Position

“Structural and mechanistic studies of catalytic DNA molecules”

(Code Number 14-16)


Although DNA is mostly known as an information carrier, single stranded DNA molecules selected

in vitro can catalyse a wide range of chemical reactions. Recently, we demonstrated that

such a DNA enzyme (or deoxyribozyme) adopts an intricate 3D structure (Ponce-Salvatierra et

al., Nature, 2016), just as RNA and proteins. The finding is important both with respect of the

biotechnological and medical applications, as a well as the potential implication of DNA folds in

organisms. The goal of the current project is the mechanistic investigation of several DNA catalysts, as a

mean to elucidate their reaction mechanisms, and to advance understanding the structural

principles of complex DNA folds. The main tool of investigation is X-ray crystallography,

complemented by biochemical functional assays.


Candidates should hold a Master’s (or equivalent) degree in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology or

Chemistry, and have a strong interest in structural biology.

The position is funded in collaboration with the University of Göttingen and the successful candidate

will have the chance to participate in one of several available interdisciplinary Ph.D. programs

at the University of Göttingen.



Applications should include a CV, a list of publications (if applicable) and contact names and

addresses of one to three references familiar with the work of the candidate.


Please submit all materials in electronic form (as one single PDF file) via e-mail with reference to the

code number 14-16 until September, 30th 2016 to


Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry

Research Group “Macromolecular Crystallography”

Dr. Vlad Pena

Am Fassberg 11, 37077 Göttingen




Dr. Vlad Pena, Principal Investigator

Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry

Macromolecular Crystallography


Am Fassberg 11, D-37077 Göttingen, Germany

Phone: +49 (0)551 201-1046