PhD candidate - Origin of Obesity and Metabolic Disorders in Childhood (f/m/x)


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We are Helmholtz Munich. In a rapidly changing world, we discover breakthrough solutions for better health.

Our research is focused within the areas of metabolic health/diabetes, environmental health, molecular targets and therapies, cell programming and repair, bioengineering, and computational health. We particularly excel in the fields of basic research, bioengineering, artificial intelligence, and technological development.

Through this research, we build the foundations for medical innovation. Together with our partners, we seek to accelerate the transfer of our research, so that laboratory ideas can reach society and improve people’s quality of life at the fastest rate possible.

This is what drives us. Why not join us and make a difference?

As one of the world’s leading research centers, Helmholtz Munich provides a stimulating international environment for excellent research. The Helmholtz Institute for Metabolic, Obesity and Vascular Research (HI-MAG) at the University of Leipzig, Germany is part of Helmholtz Munich and aims to uncover the molecular and clinical underpinnings of metabolic, obesity and vascular disorders to enable precision therapies. Together with renowned scientists and supported by state-of-the-art infrastructure, you will have the opportunity to make important contributions towards scientific knowledge and the improvement of people’s quality of life.

The research group of childhood obesity and metabolism lead by Prof. Dr. Antje Körner at HI-MAG Leipzig is looking for an enthusiastic, dedicated PhD candidate, who is eager to dive into impactful research at the interface of clinical and experimental research about origin, predisposition, and consequences of childhood obesity. If you are passionate about science and impactful research that drives change - join our international, dynamic, and interdisciplinary research team.

Our team is closely integrated with the research structures of the Medical Faculty of the University of Leipzig, Helmholtz Munich, and leading local as well as national research consortia, such as the Collaborative Research Consortium SFB „ObesityMechanisms“, the future German Center for Child and Youth Health (DZKJ), and our large children’s and adolescent’s cohort LIFE Child.

Leipzig is a lively and attractive University City of 630,000 people with a rich cultural and musical history, numerous parks within the city and several lakes at cycling distance.

Prof. Matthias Tschöp (Dr. Med., Dr. hc.), CEO of Helmholtz Munich:

"We believe that excellent research requires a range of different perspectives. Diverse teams reach better solutions and are more innovative in their research topics.

Establishing our Diversity Management Strategy demonstrates our commitment to ensuring an appreciative company culture based on mutual respect. We are also implementing diversity-sensitive processes throughout our whole organization."

Topics may include

  • Identification of epigenetic signals of weight trajectories and functional characterization of epigenetic candidates for early progressive childhood obesity and progressive deterioration of glucose metabolism.
  • Alterations in energy metabolism in emerging obesity employing clinical (metabolic chamber for humans) and experimental (in vivo + in vitro) approaches.
  • Functional experimental and clinical characterization of regulatory factors identified in epidemiological and multiomic approaches in our cohorts and potentially involved processes related to childhood obesity.
  • In particular, molecular candidates will be characterized regarding their relevance for adipose tissue accumulation and adipocyte differentiation at the molecular and cell biology level in cell culture models, in zebrafish, as well as in patient samples.
  • Commonalities of gene environment interactions in the origin of common diseases in childhood.

Your profile

  • Master’s degree in life sciences (biology, biochemistry, biomedicine, molecular medicine, nutritional science, physiology, etc.).
  • Exceptional teamwork, communication, and collaboration skills.
  • Enthusiasm and motivation to work in an international multi-disciplinary environment.
  • Scientific curiosity, and commitment to scientific excellence.
  • Good communications skills in spoken and written English; German is of advantage.



Since 2005, we hold the TOTAL E-QUALITY award for exemplary action in the sense of an equal-opportunity organizational culture.

Helmholtz Munich is actively committed to diversity and inclusion in practice and is sustainably committed to equality.

The Diversity Charter has set itself the goal of promoting diversity in the world of work. By signing the charter, we commit ourselves to create an appreciative working environment for all employees.


This position provides the opportunity for you to build specialist knowledge whilst developing key professional experience, both of which will help you to make strides in your scientific career.

Remuneration and social security benefits are based on the German Collective Wage Agreement for Public-Sector Employees at Federal Level (EG 13 50% TV EntgO Bund). In addition, there is also the possibility of receiving an allowance if the applicable conditions are met. The position has an (initial) fixed term of three years but may be extended under certain circumstances.

We are committed to promoting a culture of diversity and welcome applications from talented people regardless of gender, cultural background, nationality, ethnicity, sexual identity, physical abilities, religion or age. Qualified applicants with physical disabilities will be given preference. If you have obtained a university degree abroad, we will require further documents from you regarding the comparability of your degree. Please request the Statement of Comparability for Foreign Higher Education Qualifications as early as possible.


Interested in applying?

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Antje Körner,, who will be happy to help.

Your application should include
    • Abstract of Master Thesis
    • Up to 3 PDFs of publications
    • High school certificate/Abiturzeugnis

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