University of Greifswald, Zoological Institute & Museum, Evolutionary Biomechanics: PhD Candidate on the Mechanics of natural spider silk composites. 

Posted on December 5, 2022
Expires: January 01, 2023

Application deadline: 31/12/2022 


A Doctoral Researcher (f/m/d) (Wiss. Mitarbeiter*in) (65% TV-L 13) position is available in the EU funded project Melding behavioural ecology and biomaterials research to track the evolution of mechanical super-performance of spider silk composites (SuPerSilk) led by Dr Jonas Wolff.  

The position is fixed to a term of 3 years, starting 15 March 2023 or later. 

The position offered provides you with an exciting and diverse opportunity to pursue a PhD and to build an interesting profile and strong track-record. You will investigate the properties and functions of spider silk composite materials, using biomechanical, microscopical and modelling approaches. Being embedded into an excellence project you will benefit from the close collaboration within a creative and vibrant team of researchers from different disciplines, working on other aspects in the same system in parallel. Your well-being and personal development is important to us and thus we strive to create a friendly and fun working environment, with accessible supervisors, flexible working hours, annual leave, and diverse training and mentoring options. 


Your tasks:  

  • Comparative mechanical and structural characterization of different spider silk fibres and threads (tensile testing, light and electron microscopy, Raman spectroscopy) 
  • Experimental studies in combination with the theoretical study of fibre bundle mechanics 
  • Statistical data analyses 
  • Management of the biomechanical test equipment 
  • Writing of scientific articles, presentation at international congresses, science communication 


Your profile: 

  • You have a higher degree in biology (with training in biomechanics), biomimetic engineering, material science or a related discipline (Master of Science or equivalent) 
  • Good knowledge of biomechanics, or the mechanics of composite materials with a basic understanding of biological systems 
  • You are trained in microscopy methods 
  • You have very good written and oral English communication skills 
  • You are able to work independently, self-reflected, careful and responsible (esp. when working with sensitive equipment), and to generate own ideas 
  • You are curious and open to learn new techniques and develop new experimental approaches  
  • Solid programming skills (e.g. Python, R) 


In addition, it is advantageous if you have: 

  • Experience in mechanical characterization of materials (esp. tensile testing or nanoindentation) 
  • Knowledge of the composition and structure of biological materials (esp. silk) 
  • good knowledge of statistical approaches 
  • skills and enjoyment of working with technical devices (e.g. 3d-printing, electronics, IT) 
  • some first experiences in scientific publishing 


The position is open to all persons, irrespective of gender. We aim to increase the proportion of women in areas in which they are underrepresented. Applications from women are particularly welcome and will be treated with priority if they have the same qualifications and as long as there are no clear reasons, which make a fellow applicant more suitable. Severely disabled applicants with the same qualifications will be considered with preference. 

Please send your application with all usual documents (cover letter, CV, scans of degree certificates, contact details of two referees, master thesis and scientific publications if available) via email (single pdf-file) with reference to the job advertisement number 22/Wi23 by 31 December 2022 to Dr Jonas Wolff ( 

For more details, please see the full job advertisement in the linked pdf


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