A few consideration on PhDs: A few considerations on PhD: A few considerations on a PhD:

Open Positions (Master, PhD and Postdoc) in Molecular Evolution and Genomeinformatics

Unless further specified, the specific subjects of research projects are flexible and can be tailored to the background, visions and incitement of applicants but must fall under the wider remit of our research areas which there are:

  • Major evolutionary transitions of genomes (such as de novo genes) and their impact on the development of complexity
  • Evolutionary and functional genomics of (mostly social) insects
  • Modular Evolution of Genes by Domain (Re-)arrangements
  • Evolvability and robustness, the role of pleiotropic and epistatic interactions for changes in the genotype-phenotye relationship

4 Open positions in Molecular and Genome Evolution. These are all early pre-announcments, official adverts will appear on the pages indicated below.

1) PhD: ORIGINS AND ADAPTATION OF NOVEL HUMAN GENES, including introgressed genes from Neanderthals and de novo emerged genes. This 65%FTE PhD project is part of the EvoPad graduate school and will start on April 1st.
For further details see: https://www.uni-muenster.de/EvoPAD/
For related literature see: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30201962 , https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29802682
All official information and application procedures will appear on the EvoPAD website.

2) PhD/Postdoc: HOW DID SOCIALITY ARISE IN INSECTS? This project will study the premises of how eusociality arose via the multiple emergences of sub-sociality in various cockroaches using genomic and transcriptomic resources. This project can be seen as a "prequel" to our successful research on the evolution of "true" eusociality in
termites: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29403074 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24845553
Starting date is quite flexible and the project may be conducted either by a PhD student (75% FTE, 3 years) or a postdoc (100% FTE ca. 2.5 years).
French language skills are an advantage (though not a must) since the project will be in close collaboration with the Natural History Museum in Paris (PIs Dr Frederic Legendre and Philippe Grandcolas). Interested candidates can contact us (details below) and the official hiring procedure will start in late 2019/early 2020.
This project wil be co-supervised by Dr Mark Harrison.

3) Postdoc: THE HALLMARKS OF AGEING IN SOCIAL INSECTS and how the tradeoff between ageing and fertility has been uniquely overcome in reproductives (queens, kings) of social insects. This project will include analysis of genomic and transcriptomic and other data from several insect lineages and aims at deciphering commonalities and specificities between e.g. ants and termites, bees and flies. The project is part of a "Forschergruppe" Solong, FOR 2281 which includes 8 groups from across Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands.
Excellent communication skills and proven ability to handle multiple collaborations are an advantage.
Applicants can submit their interest and the official advert will appear soon.
This project will be co-suprevised by Dr Mark Harrison.

4) PhD: PROTEIN EVOLUTION -- THEORY AND/OR DATA ANALYSIS (50% FTE initially): This project will cover one of two project areas, either:
(i) the theory of how functional proteins or RNA can evolve from random sequences and which role epistatic interactions play during this process or
(ii) the modular evolution of proteins by domain re-arrangements -- evolutionary analysis and software development (co-supervision: Dr Carsten Kemena).
Details on both project areas can be found on: bornberglab.org/researches, further details are still flexible and can be tuned to the post-holder's requirements.
Either way, a background on simulations, modelling and the essences of biophysics as well as good programming skills are essential.
Example publications: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10485887 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22927372 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29802682
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24222210 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22016574
This project is suitable for candidates with a strong theoretical background in either (bio-)physics, mathematics and/or computer science. Good programming skills are essential.


Further applications of self-funded postdocs and PhD students to work on protein and genome evolution, either experimentally or computationally, are always welcome (see below for links to some funding agencies).


Student helpers / researchers  ("Studentische / Wisenschaftliche Hilfskraft") to help install and maintain computer infrastructure, web resources and establish and refine teaching materials and databases in the group and for research projects such as Genome Evolution and Protein Evolution. Commencing date is any time 2016, contracts can be issued to the needs of the applicants with flexible working times ranging from 7 hrs (complies with the 450 EUR threshold) to 19 hrs per week.


General particulars for POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCH ASSOCIATES ("Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter")
Essential qualifications are:
  • PhD in natural sciences and research experience in a biological area OR
  • PhD in computer science, mathematics, statistics, physics or bioinformatics with experience and/or desire to excel in a biological area
  • Basic skills in statistics and/or programming
  • Very good organisation skills and motivation and proven ability to carry out research independently in an international and interdisciplinary team.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills, oral and written fluency in English

Candidates are encouraged to develop their own research agenda by supervising students and applying for their own funds but this is not a must.

Ability and willingness to supplement a base-funded or third-party funded open position with an own fellowship are expected for all open positions and will be a selection criterion (see links below for a starter). Candidates will be given extensive guidance and support in preparing their grant applications.


General particulars for applications as PhD STUDENTS ("Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter") in our group.

Essential qualifications are:
  • MSc or 4yr BSc degree (or equivalent) in biology, biochemistry, physics or bioinformatics and research experience in a biological area
  • Basic skills in statistics and programming and/or molecular biology and biotechnology
  • Motivation and proven ability to carry out research independently
  • Good communication skills, good knowledge and command of English.
Please mind: particulars on PhD (in German) [download], test your motivation and aptitude, some thoughts about structuring a PhD programme
 Apprenticeship vs. contractual work.

Interested candidates should send applications to Prof. Bornberg-Bauer ebb.admin [at] uni-muenster.de as pdf attachment (max. 2 pages) detailing in order latest first:
biodata, scientific career, education, special relevant skills, list of publications, names of prospective referees and a short specific statement of research interest.
Failure to comply with these guidelines may easily lead to the application not be considerd and not acknowledged. Bulk applications may be overlooked.
All applicants are advised that all job offers become only official and effective once administration has approved.

Prof. Dr. Erich Bornberg-Bauer
Molecular Evolution and Genome Informatics,
Institut for Evolution and Biodiversity,
FB Biologie, Westfälische Wilhelms Universität Münster
Hüfferstrasse 1, D-48149 Münster, Germany

Best qualified candidates will be endorsed for fellowship applications to which we currently have a good success rate.

Check here for: Humboldt Foundation ,Sofja Kovalevskaja Fellowships, Volkswagen Foundation , DFG (only in German) , Marie Curie Fellowships , HFSP fellowships , DAAD fellowships .
Other opportunities: ProTalent for students

Postdoctoral and PhD positions are usually remunerated according to the TVL scheme. Teaching and administrative duties are generally low, with amount and balance depending on the particular project as well as background, qualifications and experience of candidates. Cost/salary table for students researchers and helpers can be found here.


MASTER and BSc  THESES at the IEB, Institute of Evolution and Biodiversity, University of Muenster, Germany are available at the end of every semester to start at the following semester, for subjects listed and with financial support being possible (see above for student helpers/researchers), depending on qualifications, tasks etc. International and national collaborations are often endorsed. Students are invited to inquire any time at the office e.g. by email to ebb.admin [at] wwu.de or call ext. 21638.

Muenster hosts many excellent scientific institutions such as a newly founded Max-Planck Institute for biomedical research, a Centre for Nanotechnology or a great number of specialised research areas ("SFBs"). Muenster is a dynamic city with a world-famous heritage centre and in the middle of the beautiful ''Muensterland''. It is very lively, last not least because of the high number of students and the rich choice of social, cultural and sporting facilities (see www.muenster.de )

Women are strongly encouraged to apply.
Equal opportunity regulations apply.