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PhD Student in Organic/Medicinal Chemistry (New Antibiotics)

Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS)

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Dr Alexander Titz Applications accepted all year round Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The Helmholtz Association is the largest research organisation in Germany with over 40.000 employees. The Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS) was founded between the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) and Saarland University in 2009. It is our mission to develop new pharmaceuticals against infectious diseases. This combination of infection research and pharmaceutical sciences and especially the development of new antiinfectives is unique in Europe. Since October 2015, the institute is located in a brand new state-of-the-art research building on the University Campus in Saarbrücken, the capital of Saarland.

The Research Group "Chemical Biology of Carbohydrates", headed by JProf. Dr. Alexander Titz (, studies the role of carbohydrates in disease with a focus on lectins in chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections (see Titz and co-workers in Chem. Sci. 2016, Angew. Chem. 2017, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2018, J. Med. Chem 2019). In this inter-disciplinary group, a variety of methods is used to analyse the role of these carbohydrate-binding proteins: multistep organic chemistry, analytical chemistry, biochemistry, biophysics, molecular biology and microbiology. JProf. Dr. Titz was awarded an ERC Starting Grant for the development of future drugs and analytical tools against such bacterial infections. The group is now recruiting scientists for organic & medicinal chemistry PhD positions for carbohydrate-based antiinfectives against Pseudomonas aeruginosa and new antibiotics against Acinetobacter baumannii. Both organisms belong to the currently most problematic ESKAPE group of bacteria, where the WHO has urgently called for new research. Successful candidates will design and perform multistep organic synthesis towards new drugs and will have the opportunity to evaluate their own molecules in biochemical and biological test systems.

The position is funded for 3 years and begins between 03/2020 and 07/2020. Further information on the research group of JProf. Dr. Titz ( can be found online.
The ideal candidate has a MSc degree in Chemistry or Pharmacy with mandatory previous MSc thesis research expertise in synthetic organic chemistry.

Applications must be addressed by EMAIL ONLY to [Email Address Removed] and contain 1 single PDF file with all relevant documents (motivation letter, CV, A-level/BSc/MSc diplomas, if applicable transcripts of records and names of 2 references). Applications will be continuously reviewed until the position has been filled.

Funding Notes

All students holding an MSc or an equivalent degree at the time of employment are eligible; EU and non-EU nationals eligible.


Sommer, R.; Rox, K.; Wagner, S.; Hauck, D.; Varrot, A.; Arnold, T.; Ryckmans, T.; Brönstrup, M.; Titz, A.* Anti-Biofilm Agents against Pseudomonas aeruginosa: a Structure-Activity Relationship of C-Glycosidic LecB inhibitors. J. Med. Chem. 2019, accepted.

Sommer, R.; Wagner, S.; Rox, K.; Varrot, A.; Hauck, D.; Wamhoff, E.-C.; Schreiber, J.; Ryckmans, T.; Brunner, T.; Rademacher, C.; Hartmann, R. W.; Brönstrup, M.; Imberty, A.; Titz, A.* Glycomimetic, orally bioavailable LecB inhibitors block biofilm formation of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2018, 140(7), 2537-2545, doi: 10.1021/jacs.7b11133.

Wagner, S.; Hauck, D.; Hoffmann, M.; Sommer, R.; Joachim, I.; Müller, R.; Imberty, A.; Varrot, A.; Titz, A.* Covalent lectin inhibition and its application in bacterial biofilm imaging. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. Engl. 2017, 56, 16559-16564.

Sommer, R.; Wagner, S.; Varrot, A.; Nycholat, C.; Khaledi, A.; Häussler, S.; Paulson, J.; Imberty, A.; Titz, A.* The virulence factor LecB varies in clinical isolates: consequences for ligand binding and drug design. Chem. Sci. 2016, 7, 4990-5001.

Hauck, D.; Joachim, I.; Frommeyer, B.+; Varrot, A.; Philipp, B.; Möller, H.M.; Imberty, A.; Exner, T.E.; Titz, A.* Discovery of two classes of potent glycomimetic inhibitors of Pseudomonas aeruginosa LecB with distinct binding modes ACS Chem. Biol. 2013, 8(8), 1775–1784.

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