Postdoctoral Researcher (m/f/d) Cellular Parasitology

Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine (BNITM), Hamburg

The Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine (www.bnitm.de) is the largest Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Germany and is the National Reference Centre for Tropical Pathogens, a WHO Collaborating Centre and member of the Leibniz Research Association.

The group of Dr. Joachim Michael Matz at the Department of Cellular Parasitology of the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine in Hamburg is looking for a highly motivated

Postdoctoral Researcher (m/f/d)

to study

Digestive vacuole physiology in human malaria parasites

Description of the project:

Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease that puts half of the world’s population at risk of infection. It is caused by unicellular Plasmodium parasites, which repeat­edly invade and lyse red blood cells in the human bloodstream. Throughout its development within the erythrocyte, the parasite ingests ~80% of the host cell cytoplasm, which is then catabolized in an acidic digestive vacuole. Proteolytic cleavage of hemoglobin releases the co-factor heme, which is highly toxic in its unbound form. To avoid cell damage, the parasite sequesters the host-derived heme into bioinert crystals known as hemozoin, which accumulate in the digestive vacuole. The transition from hemoglobin to hemozoin is essential for parasite survival and is exploited in antimalarial chemotherapy. In our group, we study the physiology and molecular machinery of the parasite’s digestive vacuole as well as other parasite adaptations that are essential for blood stage survival.

The postdoctoral project focuses on the identification and characterization of molecular determinants that underlie digestive vacuole biogenesis and function in the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Our research approach synergistically combines experimental parasite genetics (Cas9, DiCre, etc.) with state-of-the-art imaging techniques, such as live fluorescence microscopy, time-lapse microscopy, polarization microscopy and electron microscopy. We also perform targeted proximity labelling techniques (BioID) as well as in silico data mining strategies to identify Plasmodium-specific adaptations that are essential for blood stage survival with the ultimate goal to validate and functionally characterize potential new drug targets. The postdoc is expected to lead his/her own projects, contribute to other projects on a collaborative basis (both in the lab and with external collaborators) and guide PhD students in their research. The acquisition of additional extramural funding is encouraged.


  • Matz JM. Plasmodium’s bottomless pit: properties and functions of the malaria parasite's digestive vacuole. Trends Parasitol. 2022; S1471-4922(22)00040-X
  • Matz JM, Drepper B, Blum TB, van Genderen E, Burrell A, Martin P, Stach T, Collinson L, Abrahams JP, Matuschewski K, Blackman MJ. A lipocalin mediates unidirectional heme biomineralization in malaria parasites. PNAS. 2020; 117:16546–56.

To find out more about our work, please visit:


Your Profile:

  • A PhD in molecular, cellular or microbial biology or a related subject (or in the final stage of PhD submission)
  • Track record of writing papers as evidenced by publications or submitted manuscripts in refereed journals. Unpublished data should be described in a ~1/2-page summary, including the importance of the findings.
  • A strong interest in infection biology and host-pathogen interaction
  • Previous experience in molecular parasitology is of specific interest
  • Excellent teamwork and communication skills
  • Proficiency in English (written and spoken)
  • Ability to work independently and to develop creative work

Our benefits:

  • An interesting and challenging research project
  • Comprehensive training in state-of-the-art genetic and microscopic techniques
  • Integration into an open-minded, collaborative, and highly motivated research team
  • A chance to participate in national and international conferences
  • A central and easily accessible location close to the Landungsbrücken
  • Flexible and family-friendly working hours
  • Childcare subsidy
  • Subsidy for HVV-ProfiTicket as “Deutschlandticket” (Basic)
  • Company pension scheme
  • Special conditions in selected sports and fitness clubs in Hamburg

Starting date will be as soon as possible. The position is initially limited to 2 years with the prospect of extension and is remunerated with 100% E 13 TV-AVH according to the rules of the public service under the TV-AVH (collective agreement of the “Arbeitsrechtliche Vereinigung Hamburg“).

We support our employees in achieving a healthy work-life balance and promote the professional equality of women and men. We strive to assist women in their scientific career, increase the number of women in research and reduce under-representation in all areas and positions in general. We explicitly welcome applications from people with disabilities.

As a member of the Diversity Charter, the largest diversity management network in Germany, we are also committed to making diversity an integral part of our institute culture. It is our goal to create a working environment that is free of prejudice.

Please apply by 20.06.2023 preferably via our online form with a motivation letter, CV, university and doctoral certificates and the names and contact information for three references.

Alternatively, you can submit your application referring to "Postdoc_Cellular Parasitology" via postal mail to: Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine, Ms. Katja Bünger, HR Department, Bernhard-Nocht-Str. 74, 20359 Hamburg, Germany.

If you have any questions regarding the application process or the selection procedure, please contact Ms. Katja Bünger (buenger(at)bnitm.de) from the Human Resources Department.

For further questions please contact Dr. Joachim Michael Matz (joachim.matz(at)bnitm.de).