PhD Position in Structural RNA Biology

University of Zurich Department of Chemistry


Department of Chemistry

Ph.D. Student position in Structural RNA Biology
60 %

Prof. Dr. Roland Sigel's research groupis looking for a Ph.D. student to complete a doctorate in the field of Structural RNA Biology using NMR spectroscopy. Our research focuses on the structure and function of RNAs and their inseparably linked interplay with metal ions, whose roles range from simple charge compensation to stabilizing secondary structures and tertiary interactions, up to direct involvement in catalytic function.

Your responsibilities

The successful applicant will apply nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy as a powerful tool to determine the precise 3D structure of a small hepatitis delta virus (HDV)-like ribozyme and to shed light on the role of metal ion cofactors within the assembly process of the catalytic core and the impact of metal ions on catalysis. This project will be carried out in close collaboration with a group member applying single-molecule Förster resonance energy transfer (smFRET), elucidating the dynamics of the molecule. The combination of these two sophisticated biophysical methods allows for obtaining comprehensive insights into its structure, folding dynamics, and metal ion dependency contributing to an improved understanding of RNA catalysis in general.

Your profile

We seek candidates with a Master's Degree in Natural Sciences interested in working at the intersection of Structural RNA Biology and Bioinorganic Chemistry. Besides designing and realizing their Ph.D. dissertation within the project, team spirit and enthusiasm to contribute to other regular research-related activities and our teaching program are prerequisites. While excellent spoken and written English is a must, knowledge of NMR and/or working with RNA is an advantage, but not a requirement.

What we offer

The successful candidate will be part of an international and genuinely interdisciplinary research team of chemists, biochemists, and life scientists situated in a brand new chemistry building with cutting-edge research facilities. The Ph.D. Student will be a member of the Graduate School of Chemical and Molecular Sciences Zurich CMSZH, which thrives on interlinking its members and fosters interactions and exchange. We offer a dynamic and stimulating work environment with various opportunities for advancement by participating in diverse courses (scientific and soft skills) and attending national and international conferences and workshops.

Place of work

University of Zurich, Winterthurerstrasse 190, Zürich, Switzerland

Start of employment

The employment starts upon agreement. The evaluation of the applications will continue until the position is filled.

Please upload your application materials including motivation letter, CV, transcripts of records and the names and contact details of two referees in a single PDF file.

Further information

In your application, please refer to


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