Welcome to the Graduate School of Quantitative Biosciences Munich (QBM). This newly established School is designed to prepare young life scientists for the emerging era of quantitative, systems-oriented bioscience. It provides an innovative, integrated PhD training program that is international in outlook and brings together a range of diverse disciplines, from biochemistry and medicine to bioinformatics, experimental and theoretical (bio-)physics, and applied mathematics. Both student research projects and classroom teaching are highly interdisciplinary, with a thematic focus on the problem of gene regulation in all its facets. The School is a joint initiative by leading scientists from the Ludwig-Maximilians-University (LMU) Munich as well as from the Max-Planck Institute of Biochemistry and the Helmholtz Center Munich.
QBM offers an integrated interdisciplinary PhD program that consists of three main components:
- An interdisciplinary research project jointly supervised by two PIs from different fields.
- A substantial program of formal course work with a general and an individual component, centered around an interdisciplinary core course that covers key problems in bioscience from multiple perspectives.
- Further activities to enhance students’ communication and other transferable skills.
Key components of the PhD program and course of study
Beyond the formal curriculum, QBM offers its students a multi-facetted mentoring and support structure to help them grow into independent scientists. Aside from their research advisors and lab colleagues, they are able to call upon assistance and advice from their thesis advisory committee. The QBM central staff, in particular the two lecturers (one from an experimental, one from a theoretical discipline) are available to informally advise and coach students as they navigate the complex demands of interdisciplinary research and communication. The administrative staff assists students with all matters relating to relocation and living and working in Germany. QBM students will also have many opportunities to interact with one another, in their courses and through attendance of lecture series, annual retreats and other events.
- The QBM doctoral program is fully Bologna compatible and leads to a PhD degree. Students submit their written thesis to a thesis evaluation committee, composed of their TAC (thesis advisory committee) and one external reviewer. The PhD defense consists of a public presentation and an examination in closed session with the committee.
- QBM students receive an attractive compensation package that is competitive with other top graduate schools in the life sciences in Europe. The comprehensive financial support includes a fellowship package totaling 1700 €/month in take-home pay. In addition, the School provides financial support for educational and scientific activities such as conference travel, as well as relocation and child care expenses. The School does not charge tuition or other fees.
The aim of an integrated quantitative analysis of biological systems is to accurately describe the outcome of a multitude of molecular interactions and to forecast system behavior under various internal and external perturbations. To achieve this goal, it is necessary on the one hand to measure the status and behavior of all participating components as precisely as possible, ideally at high resolution, time-resolved, and at genome-scale. This requires new technologies and experimental methods: many types of approaches, such as biochemical or in vivo binding and kinetic assays, have yet to be made sufficiently quantitative or scaled to permit high-throughput testing.
- On the other hand, the complex data sets resulting from such experiments need to be evaluated and integrated, posing profound challenges for statistical data analysis, mathematical modeling and theory. Genome-scale experiments (microarrays, deep sequencing, mass spectrometry, high throughput assays, high content microscopy) often produce noisy data, and the dynamic range, error, and limitations of the different methods vary significantly, making comparisons difficult. New inference methods need to be developed for the intelligent analysis of such data sets, to extract information about the underlying biochemical networks.
- More demanding still is the next step: integrating the data to create predictive quantitative models that realistically capture the underlying biochemical and biological processes; the conceptual and mathematical approaches for this task are only beginning to be developed. To make progress in these areas, established disciplines are no longer able to function autonomously; rather, scientists from diverse fields such as biochemistry/structural biology, molecular and organismal genetics, biophysics and physical chemistry, statistics, bioinformatics, theoretical physics and mathematics have to interact and collaborate.
We invite MSc graduates from any relevant discipline (biochemistry, biophysics, (physical) chemistry, theoretical physics, mathematics, statistics, (bio)informatics) and any country who are interested in interdisciplinary research to apply; we particularly encourage the application of women.
- Please note that you need to have completed your Master's degree by the time you start the QBM program, but not necessarily at the time of application.
Applicants have to submit:
- academic record (high school, Bachelor and Master’s transcripts)
- 2 letters of recommendation
- 2 brief essays – one describing the student’s prior research experience, the other describing the reasons for their interest in the QBM program and research goals
- an indication of their specific research interests
Highly promising students who do not have a Master’s degree will be offered the option of qualifying by passing an entrance exam.
- The Application Tool is now open (application window for the class starting in September/October 2015).
- Application deadline is January 5, 2015 (12pm CET).
- Deadline for references is January 10, 2015 (12pm CET).
- Candidates will be notified by January 30, 2015.
- The Interview week in Munich is scheduled for February 23-27, 2015.
How to apply:
For detailed information about our application requirements see:http://www.qbm.lmu.de/requirements/
Please note that you need to have completed a Master's degree or equivalent in a relevant field prior to starting the PhD program. In exceptional circumstances, highly promising students with a Bachelor’s degree can qualify by passing an entrance exam; please contact us directly by email.
- In order to apply for the program, you need to register first. You will have to enter your name and choose a username and password. You will then immediately receive a confirmation email with an activation link that will give you access to our online application tool.
- In your application, please select up to four research groups you are interested in. You can find details about research areas and participating research groups on our webpage: http://www.qbm.lmu.de/research/
Letters of recommendation
To process your application, we need at least two letters of recommendation from scientists familiar with you and your work (e.g. Master or Bachelor advisor) . A third letter of recommendation is optional. You will be asked to provide email addresses of your referees, they will then be invited to submit a letter of recommendation on your behalf. You can monitor receipt of the letter within the online application tool; it is your responsibility to make sure that the referees submit their letters by the application deadline.
Please take note of the following rules:
- You have to apply using our online application tool; applications submitted by mail or email will not be considered
- You have to submit your application in English
- Incomplete applications will not be considered
- Please remember to formally submit your application by clicking the “Submit” button once your application is complete. Applications that are not submitted will not be considered
- We do not charge application fees
- The maximum file size per uploaded document is limited to 5 MB
Applications will be independently reviewed by multiple QBM members. The most promising candidates will be selected for personal interviews in Munich, based on academic qualification, research experience, motivation, scientific background and the letters of recommendation .
Based on their written application, selected candidates will be invited for a one week visit to Munich to explore the mutual interest. The week consists of brief scientific presentations by the PIs of QBM, 4 interviews of each candidate with PIs whose research they expressed interest in, subsequent visits to the labs and further discussion of potential projects with PI and appropriate co-PI. At the end of the week, both candidates and PIs have to declare their prioritized interests; candidates who have met our criteria and are matched with an interdisciplinary PI/co-PI pair will be invited to join the program. We expect to admit 25 students per year on average.Travel expenses and accommodation for the interview week will be covered by QBM.
For further information or questions do not hesitate to contact us!
|Professor Dr. Ulrike Gaul (speaker of QBM) |
Alexander von Humboldt-Professor
Gene Center of the LMU
Department of Biochemistry
|Professor Dr. Erwin Frey (co-speaker of QBM) |
Faculty of Physics
|Dr. Michael Mende (Administrative Coordinator) |
Gene Center of the LMU
Department of Biochemistry