Dr. Kerstin Blank
Telefon:+49 331 567-9700Fax:+49 331 567-9702

PostDoc: Sequence-specific Molecular Mechanics of Collagen

Stellenangebot vom 18. September 2017

Job description

Collagen is the main constituent of connective tissues such as bone, cartilage, tendon and skin. Understanding its molecular mechanical properties is not only relevant for understanding disease mechanisms, but also for regenerative medicine where collagen-based hydrogels are frequently used as cell culture matrices. Its highly conserved sequence contains a high number of mechanosensitive elements, which are hardly characterized at the molecular level. Among these are sequence elements that are sensitive to osmotic pressure, proteolytic cleavage and ligand binding. The aim of this project is to identify such sequences and to determine their sequence-structure-function-MECHANICS relationship.

Toward this goal, you will use collagen-mimetic peptides that represent the sequence of interest. You will use an integrated approach, combining a number of different single-molecule and ensemble techniques. Among others, you will use optical spectroscopy and X-ray scattering techniques to determine the structural parameters of the collagen triple helix. The functional and mechanical characterization will be carried out with rheology and single-molecule force spectroscopy techniques, which are to be integrated with fluorescence detection. The focus of your project will be mostly on the structural and mechanical characterization of the peptide sequences. Depending on your interests, an active involvement in the synthesis of the respective peptides or in setting up novel mechano-optical characterization methods is also possible.


You have completed a PhD in Physical Chemistry, Biochemistry or (Bio)Physics. Besides having a strong background in at least one of the above-mentioned techniques, you have a strong interest in learning and developing new techniques. Good programming and data analysis skills are advantageous for this project. The project is multidisciplinary and involves collaborations with other groups at the institute as well as a number of external collaborations. You should have a strong interest in a multidisciplinary, collaborative approach. Independent thinking, team spirit and communication are crucial for a successful development of the project.

The institute is located in the greater Berlin/Brandenburg area, which provides a rich scientific environment. The Max Planck Society seeks to employ more women in areas in which they are underrepresented. Hence, we are particularly encouraging qualified women to apply. The Max Planck Society further aims to hire more disabled people and applications of handicapped candidates are welcome.

Additional information about the vacancy can be obtained from:

Dr. Kerstin Blank
E-mail address:         
Web:                          http://www.mpikg.mpg.de/mechano-bio-chemie

Please send your application (incl. cover letter, CV, names and contact details of 3 references) to Dr. Kerstin Blank. The application deadline is Oct. 31, 2017.

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