Join us!

Our group Self-Organization of Multicellular Systems is a joint research group between the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems (MPI-PKS) and the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG), based at the Center for Systems Biology Dresden (CSBD).

We are interested in deriving the continuum theories that represent the rich mechanical behavior of tissues during development and thus allow understanding how robust development is compatible with mechanical constraints and biological variability.

We are theorists, but we work in close collaboration with experimental groups in Dresden and beyond.

If you would like to join our group, please contact the group leader, Pierre Haas [haas at pks dot mpg dot de] in the first instance to discuss possible research projects.


Postdoctoral positions

Postdoctoral positions in theoretical biophysics are available in our group. Candidates are expected to hold or be about to complete a PhD degree in biophysics, applied mathematics, mathematical biology, theoretical physics, or related fields. and should have a strong track-record of research.

Applications should be submitted to the Visitors' Programme of MPI-PKS.

A call for postdoc positions in biological physics is now open. Deadline for Applications: 20th of April 2021.

Further information on this call can be found by following this link and in the full description (pdf).


PhD positions

Fully funded PhD positions are available for students from a variety of backgrounds in applied mathematics, theoretical physics. Candidates should hold or be about to complete a Master's degree in mathematics, theoretical physics, or related fields. Previous exposure to continuum mechanics is often desirable. Interested students should contact the group leader, Pierre Haas, [haas at pks dot mpg dot de] to discuss possible PhD projects.

Applications are via the International Max Planck Research School for Cell, Developmental, and Systems Biology.


Currently open position:

PhD position on "Mechanics of Cell Intercalation"

Cell sheet deformations are driven by processes including cell division, cell shape changes, and cell intercalation, but continuum descriptions of cell intercalation (during which cells change their neighbours) are still lacking. In a first step, this project will extend existing elastic models of cell sheets, such as those describing the inversion of the green alga Volvox [1,2], to include this cell intercalation. In a second step, in collaboration with Pavel Tomancak’s group at MPI-CBG, this project will study cell intercalation during epiboly (epithelial sheet closure) in Tribolium [3]. In this way, this interdisciplinary project will combine continuum mechanics, numerical techniques, and analysis of biological data to elucidate, for example, the mechanical role of the heterogeneity of the actomyosin cable driving the process [3]. 

[1] S. Höhn et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 114, 178101 (2015)
[2] P. A. Haas et al., PLoS Biol. 16, e2005536 (2018)
[3] A. Jain et al., Nat. Commun. 11, 5604 (2020)

More detailed information can be found by following this link.