For PhD candidates:
At the ESI, we aim at recruiting PhD students primarily through the International Max Planck Research School for Neural Circuits. Applications outside this program are also welcome at any time and should be sent directly to the head of the lab in which the PhD candidate wishes to work.

For Postdoc candidates:
Applications for postdoc positions are welcome at any time and should be sent directly to the head of the lab in which the postdoc candidate wishes to work.

Research at the ESI aims at understanding the mechanisms behind the core cognitive functions of humans. Because access to the human brain is severely restricted, approaches in humans are combined with approaches in appropriate animal model systems. One animal model system of particular relevance is the non-human primate, because the brain and the cognitive repertoire of primates is particularly similar to humans.


The research group will focus on fundamental questions in neuroscience that can best be addressed by using the specific opportunities afforded by neuroscientific approaches in primates. Candidates might combine this with approaches in other mammalian species or in human subjects. The Research Group will be established at the ESI (, a brain research institute with the format of a Max Planck Institute, which is financed by the Ernst Strüngmann Foundation and operating in close cooperation with the Max-Planck-Society.


Funding for the Research Group comes from the Max Planck Foundation and covers a set-up package, the position of the group leader, one post-doctoral and two PhD student fellowships, a technician, secretarial support, plus consumables, and is (initially) for 5 years. Candidates should have a successful track record including primate neuroscience.


Successful candidates will be invited to a symposium on 14 March 2019 at the ESI in Frankfurt. Invitations for the symposium will be sent at least 2 months in advance.


The ESI provides an animal facility including a rhesus and a marmoset facility, and access to the nearby Brain Imaging Center (BIC) with two research dedicated MRI and one MEG system.

The Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science is an independent, non-profit research organization that primarily promotes and supports basic research. The society currently operates 80 institutes and research facilities with more than 23,400 employees, including 4,400 scientists.


The ESI and the Max-Planck-Society intend to enhance the proportion of women in areas, where they are underrepresented, and therefore encourage women to apply. ESI and MPS are also committed to employing disabled persons and welcome their application.


Applications should include a CV, a list of publications, one-page summaries of scientific achievements and research plans, and two letters of recommendation. Please send your application in PDF format no later than 18 November 2018 to:

Virus targeting for cell-type specific optogenetics in non-transgenic animals

The ESI is a research institute in Frankfurt (Main) with the format of a Max Planck Institute ( ESI investigates mechanisms behind human cognition. Because access to the human brain is restricted, approaches in humans are combined with approaches in animals. A key technique is optogenetics, the light-mediated control of neurons through the expression of Channelrhodopsin. Expression is ideally confined to prespecified neuronal cell types, but good cell-type specificity is currently limited to transgenic mouse lines. Yet, understanding the human brain requires research in non-human primates (NHPs), as is performed at ESI. Currently, no transgenic NHP lines exist for cell-type specific optogenetics. To overcome this limitation, this PhD project will target gene delivery to specific neuronal subtypes through engineered viral vectors that selectively infect the targeted subtypes. To achieve this, the Fries lab at ESI collaborates with the Buchholz lab at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut (PEI) in Langen (Hessen). The Buchholz lab has extensive expertise in the area of virus targeting. ESI and PEI provide outstanding infrastructure.


The ideal candidate has experience in biochemistry, molecular genetics or related fields. He/She will work at PEI, for viral vector generation, and at ESI, for vector testing. Testing will be done in mice and rats, and ultimately in NHPs. The contract will be with ESI, for four years, funded directly by ESI. Applications should include a motivation letter, a CV, copies of the school leaving exam and university degrees, lists of university courses with obtained grades, and the names of two scientists, who can provide references (do not include reference letters). The start date is flexible between now and any time in 2019. Please send your application in PDF format to: 

Open PhD position (m/f)

 Beginning in Mai 2018, the Ernst Struengmann Institute offers a PhD position for initially 3 years in the project:
"Analysis of individual information processing in epileptic and physiologic cognitive cortical networks"
funded by a LOEWE grant (Center for Personalized Translational Epilepsy Research). The successful applicant will analyze magnetoencephalography and intracortical EEG recordings from epilepsy patients using dynamical systems and information theory approaches. Our interdisciplinary group includes Prof. Wolf Singer (ESI), Michael Wibral (BIC), Lucia Melloni (MPIEA), and Christian Kell (GU) and offers access to rare neural data, expertise in data processing, and a creative and cooperative work environment that we judge important for a successful PhD.
We are seeking for an enthusiastic thesis student with interest in the Neurosciences who has skills in data analysis and Matlab programming. He/she should have a background in Natural or Applied Science or Psychology.
Electronic applications (no original documents) are requested until April 1st,  2018 and should be addressed to: Prof. Dr. Wolf Singer ( Further Information are available here: