Study the α‑helical-to-disordered structural transition of the IM30 protein in solution and on membrane surfaces - PhD position or Postdoc

Job Offer from April 06, 2023

We are offering a position for a PhD student or Postdoc to study the α‑helical-to-disordered structural transition of the IM30 protein in solution and on membrane surfaces.

The stabilization, remodelling, and repair of biological membranes are critical tasks by which eukaryotic cells maintain cellular compartmentalization, cope with membrane damage, and ensure controlled transmembrane transport of molecules and ions. Among all proteins, IM30 has been reported to bind, stabilize and remodel membranes.
IM30 monomers assemble to form large homo-oligomeric barrel structures, in which the monomers are ~80% α‑helical. Upon membrane binding, the barrels disassemble, and the C-terminal region of monomeric IM30 unfolds. Thus, inter-monomer contacts in the barrel apparently induce the formation of α-helices. Furthermore, upon barrel disassembly, IM30 forms a membrane-covering “carpet” that stabilizes the membrane. In solution, oligomerization-impaired IM30 and the disordered IM30 C terminus alone form liquid condensates by a process of liquid–liquid phase separation. Thus, the formation of IM30 barrels not only induces α-helix formation but also appears to prevent liquid–liquid phase separation.
The aim of this project is to generate a mechanistic understanding of this structural transition at the air-water interface and in solution, using experimental spectroscopic techniques such as Sum Frequency Generation or Raman.

The project is part of the cross-disciplinary research program SFB 1551, which involves collaboration between the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPIP) and Johannes Gutenberg University (JGU). The position will be hosted in Prof. Mischa Bonn’s research group at MPIP. The institute offers a highly international environment where the working language is English, and the scientific and technical infrastructure is excellent.

Prospective candidates should have a background in physical chemistry, physics, biophysics, or a similar field. Experience in spectroscopy and/or interfacial science is a strong advantage, and knowledge of molecular dynamics and coding is a plus. The position is available with immediate effect.
Applications in .pdf should include:

1. A curriculum vitae,
2. A brief letter of motivation (up to 1 page),
3. The names and contact information of 2 - 3 people who can serve as references.

Incomplete applications will not be considered. Please send applications per email to the following contacts at MPIP: Prof. Mischa Bonn ( and Dr. Pablo G. Argudo (

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