DAAD Graduate School Scholarship Program (GSSP)

Doctoral education in structured PhD programs is an essential part of the qualification process of young academics in Europe and Germany.

The Graduate School Life Science Engineering has been selected by the DAAD to host four international PhD students under the Graduate School Scholarship Program (GSSP) for 2023 and 2024. Each DAAD scholarship in this program covers a funding period of up to four years.

The scholarship program, offered by the DAAD since 2012, aims to increase the number of DAAD-funded international PhD students in structured doctoral programs in Germany. It also aims to support the establishment and expansion of research collaborations with foreign partners in the long term.

Don't miss the chance and apply for the last DAAD-GSSP scholarship in 2024

Take the first step towards shaping the future of interdisciplinary research in one of the following research groups:

Shaping the tumor microenvironment to target brain cancers

Brain tumors are among those most difficult to treat. This is partially due to their highly invasive character and their resistance to therapies e.g. radio-therapy. This resistance is governed by constant interactions between tumor cells and the non-cancerous tumor microenvironment that may protect tumor cells by releasing chemokines, growth factors and extracellular matrices leading to sustenance of proliferation and resistance to cell death. By identifying the composition of the tumor microenvironment, it can be used as a therapeutic target in improving radiation therapy strategies to enhance tumor cell killing and prevent recurrence. In the PhD project, 3D assembloids, generated via fusion of tumor and brain organoids will be used to study the interaction of cancerous and non-cancerous cells in response to ionizing radiation. By identifying the cell types involved in the protection of cancer cells and its underlying mechanisms, countermeasures to shape the tumor microenvironment in a way that supports fighting brain tumors while protecting the normal tissue will be developed and tested. Learn More.

Based on our expertise in the selection of protein-binding RNA aptamers, we have designed a project for the development of RNA-based antibiotics in response to the growing antibiotics crisis. We will apply a targeted, in vitro selection method to develop RNA aptamers which can efficiently kill pathogenic bacteria. Learn more.

The Loewer lab investigates signaling in individual living cells. In the available project, we aim to employ systems and synthetic biology approaches to identify design principles of molecular networks for information processing. To this end, we will combine genome engineering and live-cell microscopy with computational data analysis and modeling. Learn more.

3D bioprinting is a biomedical key technology in which living cells embedded in a hydrogel matrix are printed in order to build up vital tissue. As part of the project, new 3D bioprinting techniques are being explored with the aim of creating vascularized tissue structures. These can be cultivated in bioreactors or in miniaturized form in organ-on-a-chip systems. Finally, the biofunctionality of the biofabricated organ-like precursors will be assessed using biochemical and pharmacological assays. Learn more.

We develop ‘smart’ drugs based on molecular proximity (molecular glues) using engineered biochemical or cellular systems in combination with modern organic synthesis to address otherwise untractable drug targets.

Learn more.

Engineering Symbiotic Relationships Between Artificial and Biological Cells

Project Description: This doctoral research project presents an engaging opportunity in bioengineering, centred on the study of interactions between man-made and biological cells. The primary objective is to craft artificial cells designed to establish effective relationships with natural cells, an idea with promising applications in healthcare and environmental science. The project will focus on fabricating synthetic structures equipped to contain bacterial elements. These artificial constructs are expected to interact synergistically with living yeast and insect cells, potentially offering mutual benefits. Furthermore, the project will investigate incorporating elements from photosynthetic bacteria into these artificial cells, aiming to uncover innovative ways in which artificial and natural cellular systems can co-operate.

Research Goals:

  • Develop artificial cells that can house and protect bacterial components, allowing these synthetic entities to form relationships with living cells.
  • Study the integration of these artificial cells with various host cells to understand the potential benefits and challenges of such interactions.
  • Investigate the use of photosynthetic bacteria components in these synthetic systems to explore new ways of harnessing natural processes for beneficial outcomes.

Candidate Responsibilities:

  • Engage in the development and refinement of synthetic cell structures, ensuring their compatibility with natural cell systems.
  • Conduct detailed experiments to assess the interaction between these synthetic cells and natural host cells.
  • Collaborate with a diverse team, including BSc and MSc students, under the guidance of experienced researchers.

Candidate Profile:

  • A master’s degree in a relevant field such as Biotechnology, Biochemistry, or a similar area of study.
  • A genuine interest in the interface of synthetic and natural cellular systems.
  • Proficiency in essential laboratory techniques, especially those related to cell culture and molecular biology.
  • Capability to work both independently and as part of a collaborative research team.
  • Strong communication skills, with proficiency in English.

Learn more.

Application process

Application requirements:

  • Applicants must not have resided in Germany for more than 15 months prior to the submission of their application
  • The last final exam (Master Degree) should have taken place no longer than six years ago at the time of application
  • Application documents comprise a CV, a motivation letter, transcript of records (BSc. & MSc.) and at least 2 letters of recommendation
  • Applicants must not have completed a PhD previously
  • Please refer to one of the six research groups you would like to conduct your doctoral studies in

Admission process:

  • A selection committee of the Graduate School LSE will review the applications and select candidates for a nomination to the final decision process of the DAAD
  • Applicants who have been selected for a scholarship must further submit their application documents to the DAAD for the nomination procedure
  • Applicants successfully accepted by the DAAD will be offered a full PhD scholarship, financed by the GSSP programme of the DAAD

Please submit your application via the online application form. Applications sent via mail are not accepted!

Contact: julia.detzer@tu-darmstadt.de