Welcome to STRESSistance

RTG 2737

DFG-funded Research Training Group, starting 01/2022 at TU Kaiserslautern

„Molecular Mechanisms to Preserve the Functionality of Membranes and Compartments during Stress Conditions“

Want to join us as PhD Student?

We are offering several PhD positions in molecular genetics, cell biology, neurobiology, biochemistry, plant physiology and computational biology to highly motivated students. During the course of the program, our PhD students will exploit a wide range of methods to study different aspects of how eukaryotic cells react and adapt to stress conditions with a particular focus on membrane-bounded compartments and organelles. The offered PhD projects are assigned to three areas:

Project Area 1

Cellular reactions to counter locally defined stresses in organelles

If you are interested in one of the projects of this area, you will study the adaptation to defined stress situations in one specific cellular compartment (chloroplasts, mitochondria and vacuoles), which requires complex and coordinated reactions.

In the lab of Tanja Maritzen (Nanophysiology) you can e.g. investigate the dynamic modulation of endocytic protein sorting for counteracting stress conditions or the regulation of the endocytic machinery by various stress conditions.

The Neuhaus`s lab (Plant Physiology) offers projects e.g. on the molecular, biochemical and physiological analyses on SFP1 and SFP2, two poorly characterized vacuolar sugar transporters. Their impact on cell and organ properties, as well as on plant stress responses will be analyzed.

Potential titles of PhD theses in the lab of Sabine Filker (Molecular Ecology) could be „Molecular basis of the compatible solute strategy in a halo-phile ciliate“ or „Regulation of ion homeostasis of a salt-stressed halophile ciliate“.

Project Area 2

Stress-induced adaptations of membrane protein networks

PhD projects assigned to this area will analyze specific adaptations of cellular membranes to changes in global conditions, such as high temperatures, high concentrations of sugars or genomic imbalance situations.

PhD projects assigned to the lab of Zuzana Storchová (Molecular Genetics) may e.g. investigate changes of mitochondrial metabolism in response to increasing ploidy or analyze the maintenance of the mitochondrial proteome in response to chromosome copy number changes.

In the lab of Johannes Herrmann (Cell Biology) you can e.g. work on the project „A posttranslational modification regulates early steps in mitochondrial protein targeting“ or „How do yeast cells deal with mitoprotein-induced stress?“.

The Pielage lab (Cellular Neuroscience) offers PhD thesis e.g. on i) how the mitochondrial protein import stress induces a neuronal degeneration program or on ii) genetic suppressors of soma-to-synapse signaling in a mitochondrial stress model.

Project Area 3

Systemic responses to
global stress conditions

The projects of this area focus on the analyses of complex reaction networks whose characterization is largely based on combinations bioinformatics and systems biology approaches.

Potential titles of PhD theses in the group of Marcel Deponte (Comparative Biochemistry) could be e.g. „Identification of STRESSistance modules in Plasmodium falciparum“ and „Deciphering the killing mechanism of antimalarial drugs“.

Projects in the Schroda lab (Molecular Biotechnology & Systems Biology) will analyse the system-wide acclimation responses to long-term heat stress in photoautotrophically grown Chlamydomonas cells or aim to characterize the mechanisms triggering and coordinating heat stress response modules in Chlamydomonas.

In the Mühlhaus lab (Computational Systems Biology), you will analyze the inference of gene regulatory network to elucidate cooperative modulation of HSF1 during stress response or you may work on the comparative analysis of system-wide cooperative modulation of HSF1 mediated stress responses.


We invite applications from highly qualified and motivated students of any nationality who fulfill the following requirements:

Master’s degree (or equivalent) in Biology, Chemistry, Life Science, or related subjects
• Applicants should have finished their studies significantly above average and have a proven interest in the respective research areas
English language skills are generally required
• German language skills are generally required and can be acquired on site

Applications must be in English and include the following information in a single PDF:

Motivation letter (max. two pages)
Curriculum vitae (max. two pages)
Master Diploma and corresponding transcripts (transcripts or certificates of annual examinations taken at the home university showing grades and an explanation of the grading system)
Proposal for a thesis in the chosen project area (max. two pages)
Two letters of recommendation by different professors from the applicant’s home university or related scientific institutions, which were issued within the past two years.
Proof of English language proficiency

Please e-mail your application to gamoroso@rhrk.uni-kl.de before October 20, 2021. The subject of the email has to be „Application for STRESSistance“.

Download Announcement

The TU Kaiserslautern is a campus university with modern laboratories and excellent research conditions. For detailed information on the research areas, the working groups and the offered PhD projects, please visit https://www.stressistance.de

The program language is English and there are no tuition fees. Successful candidates will receive contracts (65% TVL13), as well as support with administrative matters, accommodation, visa etc. It may be possible to complete the doctorate within the framework of a structured doctoral program that is currently being planned at the Faculty of Biology and that will offer a multitude of additional qualification elements for your personal and professional development.