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Technical University of Munich

Technical University of Munich

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PhD in Biological Physics

29.01.2021, Wissenschaftliches Personal

The Group of Prof. Karen Alim at the TUM Campus Garching investigates how the smart slime mold Physarum polycephalum uses its network architecture to store memories in its newly acquired ERC FlowMem. We are looking for a PhD student (m/f/d) to join our team at the TUM this summer or fall.

Your Task

The concept of memory is traditionally associated with organisms possessing a nervous system. Yet, even very simple organisms, like the network-forming slime mold Physarum polycephalum, store information about the past. Physarum stores the position of a food location in the pattern of thicker and thinner tubes making up it’s network-shaped body. You will investigate how memories of a food source are processed into Physarum’s performance such as the ability to spread nutrients within its body and migrate to find new food. Your work will combine theoretical modeling of memory formation and network adaptation with first-hand experimental observations of Physarum’s network adaption. Your work in our interdisciplinary environment will identify the physical principles of smart materials – inspired by life.


As a suitable candidate, you have an outstanding Master's degree or comparable degree in biology, physics, applied mathematics or related disciplines. You have experience in quantitative biology, soft matter/complex systems physics or statistical physics. You enjoy working in interdisciplinary and international teams and have programming skills. In addition, you are able to express yourself confidently both orally and in writing in English.

What we offer

We offer a three-year contract with the possibility of renewal (TV-L E13 75%) in a highly motivated team combing on equal footing experimental and theoretical research. As an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer, TUM explicitly encourages applications from women as well as from all others who would bring additional diversity dimensions to the university’s research and teaching strategies. Preference will be given to disabled candidates with essentially the same qualifications.


We are looking forward to receiving your application documents, which include your CV, your list of publications, a motivation of your research interests (max. 1 page) and the contact details for two letters of recommendation in one PDF document. Please send them under the subject ”PhD Biological Physics” by e-mail to Prof. Dr. Karen Alim (k.alim@tum.de) by 28.02.2021. She will also be happy to provide you with further information in advance.

Data Protection Information:
When you apply for a position with the Technical University of Munich (TUM), you are submitting personal information. With regard to personal information, please take note of the Datenschutzhinweise gemäß Art. 13 Datenschutz-Grundverordnung (DSGVO) zur Erhebung und Verarbeitung von personenbezogenen Daten im Rahmen Ihrer Bewerbung. (data protection information on collecting and processing personal data contained in your application in accordance with Art. 13 of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)). By submitting your application, you confirm that you have acknowledged the above data protection information of TUM.

Kontakt: k.alim@tum.de