What are current research goals in biophysics

University of Friborg Course offer

Materials science

Freiburg profile

Around 50 doctoral students are currently employed in the five research groups of the Adolphe Merkle Institute (AMI). The working language at AMI is English. The dissertation comprises a three to four year personal research project within one of our research groups. The AMI mentors work to ensure that doctoral students enjoy continuing the tradition of high scientific quality. The state-of-the-art facilities offer doctoral students the opportunity to acquire extensive new knowledge and skills during their doctoral studies. The quality of the research equipment is one of the great advantages of the program, as it gives doctoral students the opportunity to master numerous experimental techniques. The combination of interdisciplinary, outstanding infrastructures with a commitment to training is what makes the AMI so attractive. In the postgraduate area, it is one of the best places to study soft nanomaterials.
The institute aims to be a leader in this field and organizes both basic and application-oriented interdisciplinary research programs. We currently have five research groups that complement each other in their expertise and in their interests in strategically important areas:

The bio-nanomaterials research group is jointly organized by Prof. Alke Fink and Prof. Barbara Rothen-Rutishauser directed. Prof. Fink leads the material science aspect of the group, Prof. Rothen Rutishauser is responsible for all biological studies. For scientific research in an academic environment, this organization offers a fresh, new and exciting perspective, as two different scientific backgrounds could be combined into a really strong interdisciplinary research group. The various scientific backgrounds of the group members, including chemistry, biochemistry, biology, pharmacy, biomedicine, materials science and biophysics, further contribute to the interdisciplinary approach of the bio-nanomaterials research group.

For more information: https://www.ami.swiss/bionanomaterials/en/

The overarching research goal of the von Prof. Michael Mayer Led biophysics laboratory is the application of biophysical knowledge to improve human health. The group contributes to the molecular understanding of disease by developing sensitive diagnostic test methods and sensors and characterizing individual protein molecules for applications in biomarker recognition, routine protein analysis and proteomics. The research is interdisciplinary and collaborative. When developing biophysical test procedures, methods and tools that make molecular investigations possible with a completely new information content and unprecedented sensitivity and speed, we often take our inspiration from nature.

For more information: https://www.ami.swiss/biophysics/en/

Polymer chemistry
The research of the Prof. Nico Bruns Headed research group Polymer Chemistry is motivated by a fascination for polymers and proteins. The various protein functions flow into the considerations behind our work, e.g. their ability to assemble into well-defined three-dimensional structures and to act as catalysts. We combine these functions with polymer systems that can be synthesized relatively easily and tailored to specific applications. This approach allows us to combine some of the best aspects from two different areas of polymer chemistry to harness the catalytic power of enzymes, create new nanosystems, and develop materials with entirely new functions.
Our strategy is reflected in three research areas:
1) Enzyme Catalyzed Controlled / Living Free Radical Polymerization (ATRPases);
2) protein cages and polymersomes as nanoreactors;
3) Polymer-protein hybrid materials with the ability to report damage on their own initiative.

For more information: https://www.ami.swiss/en/groups/macromolecular-chemistry/

Polymer chemistry and materials
We want to create new (nano) materials with properties that are not currently available and make new applications possible. The main research focus of Prof. Christoph Weder Headed research group Polymer Chemistry and Materials focuses on the design, synthesis and investigation of the structure-property relationships of new functional polymers. Many of our projects are inspired by materials found in nature and / or use bio-based building blocks such as cellulose nanocrystals. Our interests and activities are interdisciplinary and range from the synthesis of new monomers and polymers to advanced polymer processing to the in-depth study and technical exploitation of materials with unusual but desirable properties.

For more information: https://www.ami.swiss/en/groups/polymer-chemistry-and-materials/

Soft matter physics
How is the function of materials in the length range between 10 nm and 1 μm determined by their composition? This is the question behind almost all of the soft matter physics research group's projects. Our two main research areas are currently energy materials and optical materials. In the field of energy materials, we are investigating the interplay between structure and function in organic and perovskite solar cells and in lithium-ion batteries. The optical materials include plasmonic metals structured using polymer self-assembly and bio-inspired photonic materials with band gaps. The latter reflect that in the Soft Matter Physics research group there is a strong focus on bioinspiration. This also includes surface properties of (nano-) structured materials such as moistening and adhesion as well as mechanical properties (e.g. mother-of-pearl).

For more information: https://www.ami.swiss/physics/en/

The interdisciplinary collaboration between our researchers forms the basis for the successful and efficient execution of complex research projects that go beyond the traditional scientific disciplines.

We provide information on vacancies for doctoral students on the AMI website. Unsolicited applications that do not relate to an offered position will not necessarily be answered.

Course structure

Study structure

No ECTS credit points can be acquired.

Doctoral school



Admission to the doctorate presupposes a university degree Bachelor and Master degrees or an equivalent degree from a university recognized by the University of Freiburg.

Before signing up must a professor who is willing to supervise the dissertation.

It exists no claim on being admitted to the doctorate.

The respective admission requirements of the individual doctoral study programs are reserved.