Ph.D. student in optogenetics (m/f/d)

caesar is a neuroethology institute located in Bonn that studies how the collective activity of the vast numbers of interconnected neurons in the brain gives rise to the plethora of animal behaviors. Our research spans a large range of scales from the nano-scale imaging of brain circuitry, to large-scale functional imaging of brain circuitry during behavior, to the quantification of natural animal behaviors.

We are currently looking for a

Ph.D. student in optogenetics (m/f/d)

(full time)

to join us at the next possible opportunity. We are looking for a talented and motivated scientist interested in the development of a novel inhibitory optogenetic tool for the study of networks and behaviour in live animals.

Project description

The DFG Priority Programme SPP 1926 aims to generate novel optogenetic tools for application in Neuro- and Cell Biology. A joint research project within the framework of SPP1926 was set up to develop a second-generation K+-based optogenetic silencing system to address limitations of currently available tools to inhibit electrical activity of excitable cells and tissues. This tool will use cGMP as a light-activated messenger, combining the advantages of rhodopsin-based cyclases and small bacterial K+ channels. Performance of the new tool will be assessed in a number of model systems, including murine neuronal cultures, rabbit myocardium in situ, and zebrafish spinal cord and visual system in vivo. The caesar subgroup will screen the databases for cyclic nucleotide-gated K+ channels with a special focus on cGMP-dependent activity. Candidate channels need to be cloned and/or codon adapted, and tested for their expression in mammalian cells. We will express them in mammalian cell lines (HEK, CHO or similar) and use the patch-clamp technique to characterize current responses to application of different ligands (cAMP, cGMP). In addition, a small bacterial K+ channel from Spirochaeta thermophila (SthK) will be modified in such a way that cGMP is a sensitive and selective agonist. The experimental focus of the work will be electrophysiology. Depending on the progress of the project, in vivo studies in a dedicated model system could be an additional option.


  • Masters degree (M.Sc.) with relevant experience in an appropriate discipline (neuroscience, biology, physics and/or chemistry).
  • A team-oriented, flexible personality driven by curiosity and ambition.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills in English and at least a working knowledge of German.
  • A particular interest in electrophysiological methods.

We offer:

  • An exciting international and collaborative environment in a stimulating scientific institute.
  • A salary commensurate with the work and according to the standards of the funding agency DFG.
  • Outstanding employee benefits, a family-friendly culture, and flexible working hours.
  • Opportunities for further training/continuing education.

caesar is committed to diversity and inclusion and is aiming to increase the percentage of women in areas where they are under-represented. We therefore explicitly encourage women to apply.

Handicapped persons with comparable qualifications receive preferential status.

We expect your application online only via the application link below.

This call will be open until the position is filled.

If you have any further questions, please contact:

Dr. Reinhard Seifert by email:
Apply online

For further information please contact:

Dr. Reinhard Seifert