PhD student positions available in the Jäschke lab


Thank you for your interest in joining our group.

We are interested in bright, motivated students from all over the world. Our work on the borderline of chemistry and biology is highly interdisciplinary, and our team offers a scientifically challenging and stimulating environment for anyone interested in applying chemical approaches to biological questions and vice versa. At the moment, we have the following PhD projects available:

  • NAD-modified regulatory RNA – function and metabolism

  • New methods for in vivo RNA imaging

You should have demonstrated excellence in your studies of chemistry, biochemistry, biotechnology, or pharmacy. Essential traits for new lab members are genuine scientific interest, curiosity and the willingness to learn and apply techniques from different fields. You should already have some research experience, and at least two scientists (faculty level) should be able to assess your qualifications.


These are paid university or project positions (0.5 E13). Starting date is to be negotiated. Heidelberg University is one of the top research universities in Germany, and the IPMB is a modern research institute working on cutting-edge projects in the life sciences.

Application details:

Informal inquiries are welcome (Prof. Dr. Andres Jäschke, jaeschke [ aT ], +49 6221 54 48 53). Please submit your application only via the HBIGS international graduate school portal (

What happens after your application?

HBIGS will do a first screening, typically including a skype interview. If selected at this stage, I will get in touch with you and ask you to prepare a research proposal about a topic you would like to work on if accepted to this lab (not implying that you will actually be working on this, but it is an extremely good selection criterion). If I like what you submit, you will get invited to Heidelberg where you will have presentations and interviews both at the HBIGS selection committee and in my group.

NAD-modified regulatory RNA – function and metabolism.

We have recently discovered that certain regulatory RNAs (sRNAs) in E. coli are covalently linked to the ubiquitous redox cofactor NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) in a way similar to a eukaryotic cap (Cahová et al., Nature 2015 (519) 374). First experiments indicate a role of this modification for the function and for the turnover of the sRNAs. This first description of a cap-like structure in prokaryotes provides an unprecedented connection between regulation and metabolism. Within this project we want to explore the scope and biological function(s) of this new RNA modification in different bacteria. We will conduct experiments to identify the capping / decapping machinery, isolate interaction partners of NAD-RNAs, investigate the dependence of NAD capping on growth phase, stress conditions, and redox state. We will also search for the occurrence of reduced NADH-RNAs. We will also search for NAD-modified RNAs in eukaryotic samples.

This project will involve a wide variety of methods from biochemistry, molecular biology and microbiology, as well as analysis of NGS data. We are looking for a PhD student with an M. Sc. in biochemistry, molecular biotechnology or related disciplines and hands-on experience in RNA or protein biochemistry and/or microbiology.

New methods for in vivo RNA imaging.

We have recently developed combinations of contact-quenched probes and RNA aptamers as new tools for imaging specific RNAs in life cells (Sunbul & Jäschke, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2013 (52) 13401). Our long-term goal is the development of sensitive techniques that allow RNA imaging at single-molecule level in cells and/or in tissues. In this project, we aim to:

i) develop novel fluorogenic probes that bind to RNA aptamers with very high affinity, 

ii) engineer a new class of fluorophore binding aptamers (FBRs),

iii) label and image single RNA molecules in living cells.

We will furthermore create orthogonal probe sets, probes with different spectroscopic properties, probes with very high affinity, and apply them in imaging experiments.

This project will involve multi-step organic synthesis, SELEX, optical spectroscopy, and life-cell imaging. We are looking for a PhD student with an M. Sc. in chemistry or biochemistry and hands-on experience in organic synthesis and/or fluorescence spectroscopy/microscopy.