PhD student

PhD Position

in Natural Product Genome Mining
(E13 TV-G-U, 65%)

in the working group of Prof. Dr. Eric Helfrich in the Institute for Molecular Bio Sciences at Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Germany. The position is fully funded by the Emmy Noether Program of the German Research Foundation for four years starting from January 1st , 2023, or upon agreement.

Research in the Helfrich lab

More than 50% of all drugs that have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration over the past 40 years have been natural products or at least inspired by natural products. The Helfrich lab studies the biosynthetic blueprints for the production of novel natural product scaffolds that might be used as lead structures for the development of drugs or for other applications in agriculture, the food or cosmetic industry. We leverage the natural product biosynthetic potential of bacteria with a focus on noncanonical biosynthetic pathways. We use a combination of bioinformatics, molecular biology, synthetic biology, biochemistry and analytical chemistry to study these noncanonical biosynthetic pathways and characterize unprecedented biochemical transformations. The research in the Helfrich lab aims at charting natural product biosynthetic dark matter and expanding natural product chemical space.

Your project and responsibilities

Genome miningguided discovery of unusual peptide natural product biosynthetic blueprints
Characterization of the associated natural products
Studying the biosynthesis and bioactivity of the identified natural products
Publication and presentation of research results
Teaching of laboratory courses at the Bachelor and Master level

Your profile

Master degree in chemistry, chemical biology, biochemistry, bioinformatics, pharmacy or a related subject
Expertise in one or more of the following areas: analytical chemistry, molecular or synthetic biology, biochemistry, (bio) synthesis
Excellent verbal and written communication skills in English
A high level of selfmotivation, enthusiasm, and curiosity
Motivation to work in an international, interdisciplinary working environment and willingness to learn new techniques

What we offer

A stimulating and inclusive environment at the interface of bioinformatics, biology and chemistry
Cuttingedge research projects and supportive mentoring
A young, dynamic international team of scientist with diverse backgrounds
Stateoftheart instrumentation and scientific infrastructure
Frankfurt is a vibrant and highly international city at the heart of Europe that combines a skyscraper skyline with ample park and green areas

How to apply

Please send your application including a letter of motivation, CV, copies of diplomas and transcripts of records, contact details of two referees, and a short summary of previous research experience (12 pages) until November 30th , 2022, via email to Prof. Dr. Eric Helfrich ( For more information, please contact Prof. Dr. Eric Helfrich or check out the group’s web page at

We support equal opportunities of men and women and therefore strongly invite women to apply. Equally qualified handicapped applicants will be given preference.