Prof. Dr. Henrik Mouritsen

AG Neurosensorik/Animal Navigation, IBU
Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg

Carl-von-Ossietzky-Strasse 9-11
D-26129 Oldenburg

Phone: +49 (0) 441 798 3081
              +49 (0) 441 798 3095

email: henrik.mouritsen[at]

Personal Assistant

Nadine Ruthenberg

Phone: +49 (0) 441 798 3149

Email: nadine.ruthenberg[at]


The Animal Navigation research group led by Prof. Henrik Mouritsen at the Institute of Biology and Environmental Sciences at the University of Oldenburg has received a six-year ERC Synergy Grant for the project "QuantumBirds: Radical pair-based magnetic sensing in migratory birds" together with Prof. Peter Hore, University of Oxford.

Applicants are sought for a

PhD position in Protein Biochemistry (m/f/d)

(65% E13 TV-L, 3 years)

starting 1st October 2022 in Oldenburg, Germany.

The work in QuantumBirds combines quantum physics, spin chemistry, behavioural biology, biochemistry and molecular biology in a unique, ambitious, imaginative and truly synergistic research programme. We aim to prove whether the primary magnetic detection event in the birds' retinas is related to the quantum spin dynamics of photochemically formed radical pairs in cryptochrome proteins. The birds' magnetic compass sensor appears to rely on coherent quantum phenomena that indirectly allow magnetic interactions millions of times smaller than kBT (Boltzmann constant multiplied by temperature) to be detected in biological tissue.

You would work in an international and interdisciplinary research group that regularly publishes its results in top journals (e.g. Xu et al., Nature 2021).

Your qualifications

  • Completed scientific university studies (Master or Diploma (Uni)) in the natural sciences (biology, biochemistry or similar fields).
  • Basic knowledge in protein expression and purification, western blot, cloning and PCR is mandatory.
  • Experience with cell culture and confocal microscopy is an advantage.
  • A high level of enthusiasm, motivation and the ability to work in a diverse and interdisciplinary team.
  • Interest in spectroscopic techniques to analyse the magnetic properties of proteins
  • Good written and spoken English

What we offer

The QuantumBirds project ( is based at the University of Oxford, UK (physical and chemical aspects) and the University of Oldenburg, Germany (biological and biochemical aspects) and collaborates with research groups from around the world. In Oldenburg you will be part of a large, diverse team working closely together on related questions and with access to a wide range of excellent modern equipment, techniques and expertise.

Our group is a member of the DFG-funded PhD programme "Molecular Foundations of Sensory Biology" and the Research Training Group "Neurosensory Sciences and Systems", in which you are required to participate. You can find more information about our group at and

Family and scientific career are supported by us and the University of Oxford and the University of Oldenburg.

How to apply

Your application should include a letter of motivation, a detailed curriculum vitae, a list of publications, names and telephone numbers of at least two personal references, university and school certificates. Please send your application as a single pdf file to Nadine Ruthenberg, . All applications received by 31st August 2022 will be considered.

We and the University of Oldenburg are aware of the power of diversity. The University of Oldenburg is therefore committed to increasing the proportion of women in academia. Female applicants are strongly encouraged to apply. In accordance with the provisions of Lower Saxony (§ 21 para. 3 NHG), female applicants will be given preferential consideration if they are equally qualified. Severely disabled applicants will be given preferential consideration in case of equal suitability.

(Changed: 13 Sep 2022)