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Data-based models and Finite Element simulations for new insights into physiology of clocks and ways of adapting it

   Graduate School Multiscale Clocks

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  Prof Elfriede Friedmann  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The RTG Multiscale Clocks aims at investigating the principles of timekeeping in living organisms, enabling to orchestrate periodic processes with very different frequencies ranging from infradian over circadian to ultradian rhythms. The unique approach is to combine the expertise of biologists, physicists, chemists, mathematicians, and engineers to advance the understanding of biological clocks.

In this project (N°. 9) the PhD candidate will build data-based models of the processes involved in Ca2+ and cAMP signaling taking into account space and localized reactions. The models can be classified as systems of partial differential equations (PDE) or coupled PDE/ODE (ordinary differential equations)-systems. The models will be tailored to the data monitored in Herberg’s and Stengl’s group on custom-made platforms developed in Popov’s group. The developed models will than be solved with modern numerical methods: adaptive high order nodal finite element methods (spectral element methods) in realistic three-dimensional geometries which enable us to find highly accurate approximate solutions using few numbers of degrees of freedom, Newton linearization and Krylov methods. Therefore, good knowledge in programming (e.g. C++, deal.ii) is required. Through our numerical simulations of the developed models we can represent their oscillatory behavior, identify key parameters and as well important coupling factors between multiscale clocks/oscillators and their spatial distribution.


- Scientific work on the research project.

- Active participation in the workshops and events of the RTG and collaboration with the PIs and other PhD candidates.

- Completion of a study program according to the curriculum of the graduate school.

Required Profile:

- Excellent Master degree or other respectively related academic degrees (such as Diploma or Magister) in Mathematics or Scientific Computation.

- Commitment to interdisciplinary research and education.

- Strong skills in English.

 - Advantageous are experiences thematically related to the scope of the RTG.

The University of Kassel is a midsize university with about 25.000 students, located in the city of Kassel, known for the DOCUMENTA, the most important international exhibition of contemporary art. The university is dedicated to interdisciplinary research, and it offers educational programs in the life sciences, humanities, fine arts, social sciences, education, and engineering. The university also offers different employment benefits, such as free public transport and no tuition. Furthermore, housing in Kassel is affordable.

Please send your application with the usual informative documents, stating the reference number in the subject line, via the online form.

Include the Extra Application Form.

Funding Notes

The University of Kassel establishes the interdisciplinary Research Training Group (RTG) “Biological Clocks on Multiple Time Scales”, which is funded by the German Research foundation from April 2022 on. The positions according to the pay scale EG 13 TV-H modified according to the requirements of the different disciplines are limited to 36 months.
- Date of Hire: 01 Apr 2022


Thurley, K., Gerecht, D., Friedmann, E., & Höfer, T. (2015). Three-Dimensional Gradients of Cytokine Signaling between T Cells. PLoS Computational Biology, 11(4), e1004206.
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