Bird LabRegulation of Microtubule Networks

We are searching for highly motivated postdoc and PhD student candidates to join our group to study the molecular mechanisms of cellular regulation of microtubule dynamics. Precise control of microtubule dynamics and stability is critical for several cellular functions including chromosome segregation and cell division. Misregulation of microtubule stability during mitosis can result in chromosome missegregation and chromosomal instability, which can contribute to tumorigenesis. We have identified novel factors and pathways important for regulating microtubule stability in normal cells, while deregulated and impacting chromosomal instability in cancer cells. We are now seeking to reconstitute these factors and pathways in vitro using purified components for both structural studies and functional studies on microtubule stabilization. We are also defining the molecular mechanisms and regulation of these factors in time and space within cells, and the impact of their deregulation on chromosomal instability in the cancer context.  

We employ a variety of techniques spanning biochemistry and cell biology to answer these questions, including protein purification and interaction/activity analysis, live cell fluorescence microscopy, and CRISPR/Cas9 and genome modification for genetic analyses. Often projects also involve active collaboration within the department and institute for structural studies and quantitative proteomics to answer specific questions.  

A background and familiarity with molecular biology is required for these positions, although no specific experience with any technique is required. For postdoc candidates, a background in quantitative biochemistry and/or protein purification is preferred. For all candidates, previous experience in fluorescence microscopy, mammalian cell culture, and/or cloning/DNA modification techniques is beneficial but not required. Most importantly, the applicant must be enthusiastic with a developed ability to work independently and think critically, as well as to read, interpret, and apply scientific literature to the project. We are an international and socially and intellectually engaging lab. The working language in the lab and institute is English (no knowledge of German required).

Postdoc candidates should have at least one first-author publication in an international peer-reviewed journal. PhD candidates must meet the criteria to apply to the International Max Planck Research School in Chemical and Molecular Biology (IMPRS-CMB)

To apply, please email a CV, motivation letter including a summary of previous research experience, and the names of at least 2 references that may be contacted to

Postdoc and PhD positions in biochemical reconstitution and cell biology