Research assistant (PhD student) (f/m/d)

Museum für Naturkunde - Leibniz Institute for Research on Evolution and Biodiversity (MfN), Berlin

Our Mission: Discovering and describing life and earth - with people, through dialogue.

The Museum für Naturkunde Berlin (MfN) is an excellent and integrated research museum of the Leibniz Association with an international reputation and globally connected research infrastructure. MfN is active in three closely interlinked fields: collection-based research, collection development, and research-based public and educational outreach. Over the next ten years, the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin will build up a science campus for nature and society in the centre of Berlin as science hub, together with the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin. New laboratories and workplaces for cutting-edge research will be established. One of the world's most comprehensive natural history collections with over 30 million objects will be housed in state of the art buildings as well as fully digitized. The implementation of the so-called Zukunftsplan (future plan), funded with a total of 660 million euros from the Federal Government and the State of Berlin, strongly relies on interdisciplinary national and international partners. Become part of our team.

Research assistant (PhD student) (f/m/d)

Work schedule: Part time 65% (equivalent to 25 hours and 37 minutes per week)

Duration: External funding, at the earliest possible date, for a period of 24 months; an extension to maximum 42 months is pending on the release of funds

Salary level: E 13 TV-L

Code: 53/2022

Project Description:

Funded by the Emmy Noether Programme of the DFG, the MultiplEye Lab is investigating the function and evolution of many-eyed visual systems in animals. The project uses selected model organisms, including spiders, molluscs and echinoderms, to explore the fundamental principles that govern how and why these unusual visual systems arise. Using a combination of comparative morphology, neuroethology, developmental and molecular biology, we want to understand how animals collect and combine multiple streams of information simultaneously, how this relates to their ecology, and what shapes the evolution of their visual systems. This position will use synchrotron scans and phylogenetic methods to explore how spider visual systems have evolved, and how changes to morphology are likely to affect visual function.


  • Scientific research into the function and evolution of vision in spiders
  • 3D reconstruction of the visual system, or parts thereof, using tomographic techniques (micro-CT, synchrotron tomography)
  • Reconstruct the evolution of vision in spiders using phylogenetic comparative methods, geometric
    morphometrics, functional data and, if necessary, exemplary fossils
  • Research visits, including use of synchrotron tomography to study eye structure
  • Publication of results in scientific journals
  • Presentation of results at scientific conferences


  • Completed undergraduate degree in Biology
  • Knowledge of, or interest in, animal visual systems
  • Knowledge of, or interest in, phylogenetic methods and macroevolution
  • Knowledge of R and/or Python, or the ability to learn
  • Knowledge of 3D modelling programs such as Amira, Volume Graphics, or the ability to learn
  • Independence and organization
  • Excellent presentation and communication skills
  • Excellent English language skills, spoken and written

Special Notes:

In support of equal rights, applications from qualified women are particularly welcome. Handicapped individuals will be given preference in cases of identical qualifications.

We look forward to receiving your application with the usual documents (cover letter, curriculum vitae, certificates) by 31.5.2022, preferably via our online application portal.

For information on the application procedure, please contact recruiting(at)mfn.berlin.

Further Informations

Privacy Policy:

By sending your application, you provide us with your information for the purpose of processing your application by the Museum für Naturkunde. Your data will be kept strictly confidential at all times. Once we have received your application documents, they will be entered into our database. Your data will be stored on our server. In doing so, we observe the provisions of the data protection laws.

Information about the handling of applicant data at the MfN(in German) and Privacy policy for the MfN website (in German)

Family Policy:

The Museum für Naturkunde has set itself the goal of promoting a work-life balance and has been awarded the certificate berufundfamilie audit of berufundfamilie gGmbH - an initiative of the Hertie Foundation.

Further information can be found under https://www.museumfuernaturkunde.berlin/en/uber-uns/jobs-und-karriere/arbeiten-am-museum-fur-naturkunde/reconciling-work-and-family-life-audit.