Doctoral Researcher (f/m/d) - SARS-CoV2 drug discovery

Code: 138/2021



The Institute for Experimental Virology, led by Prof. Dr. Thomas Pietschmann at TWINCORE - Center for Experimental and Clinical Infection Research in Hanover, is offering a position as Doctoral Researcher (f/m/d) - SARS-CoV2 drug discovery to support our international and interdisciplinary team.


Project description:

At TWINCORE medical personnel and basic research scientists from various disciplines conduct infection research side by side. Our focus is upon translational research the interface between basic research and clinical development. Since the onset of the COVID19 pandemic, WHO data report that there have been 207,000,000 confirmed cases and 4,400,000 deaths associated to SAR-CoV-2. In the face of effective vaccine development and ongoing trials of new vaccines, additional options are needed to be added to our arsenal to counter the pandemic.

One of these is the development of antivirals that act against coronaviruses. Ideally, these inhibitors will have the ability to act broadly to counter the spreading of different viruses belonging to the coronavirus family.

The successful candidate will screen for molecules with antiviral activity against coronavirus enzymes working closely with multiple institutes at Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) and in collaboration with medical chemists, virologists and biochemists. Using advanced compound modeling algorithms and cellular and biochemical methods she/he/d will identify candidates that demonstrate initial antiviral activity. Subsequently, the most promising compounds will be optimized to increase their antiviral activity. She/he/d will be responsible for the virological profiling of compounds in cell cultures up to analysis in primary cell lines, the validation of biological target, the molecular characterization of the mode of action and mechanisms of resistance and for the development of phenotypic assays for compound optimization.



  • Master’s degree in life sciences (Virology, immunology, cell biology, biochemistry).
  • Strong hands on experience in laboratory techniques and molecular methods.
  • General understanding of the biochemical interactions involved in host-pathogen interplay.
  • Ability to pay attention to detail, pursue research independently and work in a goal-oriented manner.
  • Willingness to work in a plural, collegial, international and interdisciplinary environment.
  • Fluency in English language (written and spoken)

Advantageous for this position(contingent position):

  • Previous experience in the field of RNA virology.
  • Experience with cell culture and cultivation of primary cell lines.
  • Expertise in next generation sequencing techniques

Disabled persons are given preference in the case of equal professional qualification. The HZI aims for professional equality between all genders.

We offer you:

  • Modern laboratories
  • State-of-the-art analytical instrumentation
  • Ample biological profiling platforms (in vitro and in vivo)
  • The opportunity to enroll in a structured PhD programme at HZI or at the Hannover Medical School (MHH)
  • A lively scientific community
  • 30 days vacation
  • An annual additional payment (Weihnachtsgeld) analogue to § 20 TVöD
  • Social security included
  • DO IT- PhD initiative

  • Welcome Office
  • Buddy system
  • Family Office


Twincore Hannover

Research Group

The Handicapped

Qualified applicants with a disability will be given preference.

Special preference toward women


Starting date


Contract time limit

initial contract for 3 years

Probation period

6 months


alike TVöD E13 65%

Published on


Applications accepted until  2021-10-20

Applicants are required to complete the online application form here: (Please select Job No. 138/2021).

Further information about the institute and the research group of Prof. Dr. Thomas Pietschmann can be found on our website:

Did you now?

HZI International Graduate School

The HZI International Graduate School for Infection Research (GS-FIRE) provides an innovative structured PhD programme within the field of Infection Research.

PhD programme “Epidemiology”

The PhD programme “Epidemiology” is a three-year doctoral programme in the area of epidemiological research and is coordinated by the Department of Epidemiology of the HZI.

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