GRK 2154 - Materials for Brain

Open position in the Research Training Group 2154

Kiel University, Germany, is offering one

PhD Position

In the project

Hyperpolarized MRI for imaging flow, drugs and metabolism (P11)


within the Research Training Group (RTG) 2154 “Materials for Brain” starting from 01 March 2019. The position will be awarded for three years. The weekly working time is 29.76 hours. The salary corresponds to the level of TV-L E13 of the German public service salary scale. A promotion for the doctorate degree is highly encouraged.

The DFG-funded RTG 2154 “Materials for Brain” investigates nano- and microscale therapeutically active coatings for their suitability as implants to treat three selected diseases of the brain (epilepsy, aneurysma, glioblastoma). Material-controlled drug release and implant interactions as well as suitability of the implants for diagnostics with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can open up new prospects for novel therapies. The investigation and development of such cutting-edge localized therapies and suitable functional materials requires substantial interdisciplinary collaboration between materials science and medicine, and is characteristic for this research training group.


We are looking for a highly motivated candidate for the following PhD project:


Project 11: Hyperpolarized MRI for imaging flow, drugs and metabolism

When it comes to chemical analysis or medical diagnosis, MRI and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) are powerful and versatile methods. At the same time, both methods are very insensitive: Typically, no more than a few parts per million of a given sample effectively contribute to the MR signal. This fraction, the polarization, is sufficient for imaging water and chemical analysis in vitro. Many other, highly interesting and direly sought-for applications like non-invasive biochemical analysis in vivo are very limited - because of the low polarization and thus sensitivity. This is where hyperpolarization steps in: using dedicated physical “tricks”, the polarization and thus the MR signal can be increased by several orders of magnitude.


The goal of this project is to develop a hyperpolarization technology that can be applied to the foci of the RTG 2154: aneurysms, epilepsy and glioblastoma.


Project 11 consists of three work packages:

1. the adaptation of the hyperpolarization technology to match the goals,

2. the application of hyperpolarization to vessel imaging and

3., the application of hyperpolarization for the imaging of drugs.


More specifically, the tasks of this project include constructing, setting up and operating experimental equipment. Various setups and expertise on this subject is readily available in the group. Further tasks include the evaluation of data acquired with the constructed setup, as well as its presentation and publication in international journals.


Project start: 01 March 2019.



Further information:



Our Offer

  • A comprehensive academic education in the RTG 2154.
  • The RTG 2154 offers a comprehensive academic support program including subject-specific courses, soft skill training, research stays abroad, individual career coaching.
  • 3-year employment contract, salaries according to German civil service pay scale TV-L 13, 75%.
  • A research stay abroad within the scope of the RTG.
  • You will join the Hövener group with access to state-of-the-art lab facilities incl. 1.5T, 3T Human- and 7T Animal-MRI scanners, a hyperpolarization lab, parahydrogen generator and HF lab.


Your Qualifications

  • High motivation to do (and learn) science.
  • A research-based master's degree or equivalent (e.g. diploma) preferably in physics, engineering, materials science, (bio)chemistry, (bio)physics or a related subject.
  • Very good English language skills in speaking and writing.
  • Pro-active attitude, good communication skills and ability to work effectively in an interdisciplinary team.
  • Motivation to participate in the academic support program.
  • Prior knowledge in experimental physics or engineering, programming, MRI or NMR is an advantage.


How to Apply

The University of Kiel is an equal opportunity employer, aiming to increase the proportion of women in science. Applications by women are particularly welcome. Given equal qualifications, applicants with severe disabilities will be given priority consideration. Applications by people with a migration background are particularly welcomed.


Formal Requirements

Please be aware that both the participation in the academic support program and a research stay abroad are required for a successful graduation from this Research Training Group.




Application closes on 31 January 2019.


Starting date of project P11 is 01 March 2019.


Please send your complete application (letter of motivation, CV, certificates, etc) via email to




There are opportunities to carry out a Bachelor, Master or Dr. med. thesis in one of the participating groups. Please contact the GRK office or the Principal Investigators, if you are interested. 

There are also opportunities for student research assistants (HIWIs). Please contact the GRK office or the Principal Investigators, if you are interested.