Postdoc at the Biocenter (m/f/x)

Faculty of Biology - Zoology, Chair of Prof. Haszprunar
Start date
as soon as possible
Application deadline
1 Jul 2022
Contract duration
2 years

Research at the Chair of Prof. Haszprunar focuses, among others, on the phylogeny of mollusks and the morphofunctional study of the senses of vision and audition as well as DNA-Barcoding (Fauna Bavarica).

About the current project “Revelation of sound-induced motion patterns of fish auditory structures: a new experimental tomography-based 4D approach”:

We are working in an international and multidisciplinary team (Germany, Switzerland, Austria; in collaboration with colleagues in Spain and the U.S.A.) to investigate the motion patterns of fish auditory structures using high-spatiotemporally resolved synchrotron radiation-based imaging techniques. The project is funded by the German Science Foundation (DFG) and the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF).

Project partners:

  • Biocenter LMU, Zoology, Martinsried, Germany
  • Paul Scherrer Institute, Swiss Light Source, TOMCAT Beamline, Villigen, Switzerland

Scientific Background:

Modern bony fishes (Teleostei) show a high diversity in auditory abilities and in the morphology of the corresponding structures such as the otoliths in the inner ears and the swimbladder. Despite this enormous diversity, experimental evidence providing insights into the basic principles of the functional interaction of auditory structures is rare and focuses on a few model species such as goldfish or zebrafish. This is due to the difficulty to evaluate the motion patterns of auditory structures in-situ without exposing them surgically. In our project, we envisage a new 4D (three spatial dimensions plus time) tomography-based approach at the Swiss Light Source to characterize the sound-induced interaction from the swimbladder through the Weberian ossicles to the otoliths. Specifically, we aim (1) to develop a setup to capture the in-situ motion with high spatiotemporal resolutions and (2) to quantify the motion patterns of the auditory structures in their 3D aspect depending on the sound component (sound pressure versus sound-induced particle motion), frequency, sound level, and species. While testing hypotheses on the function of the Weberian apparatus formulated decades ago, our study sets out to fundamentally enhance the knowledge of sound transmission in teleosts by characterizing the path of sound-induced motion from the swimbladder to the inner ears. We expect our study to promote modelling of motion patterns in fishes not available for lab experiments such as endangered or fossil species, while the developed approaches may very well be broad enough in scope to investigate hearing mechanisms in other animals or even human ears, or expand to non-auditory biomechanical systems.

Tasks and responsibilities

Together with Dr. Tanja Schulz-Mirbach and Prof. Dr. Martin Heß, you will work in the current project to investigate basic principles of the sound-induced motion of fish auditory structures.

You are expected to

  • establish models of sound-induced motion patterns of single auditory structures such as otoliths of the inner ears, Weberian ossicles, or the swim bladder
  • establish models of the whole pathway of the interacting auditory structures due to sound stimuli
  • evaluate parameters that allow to predict motion patterns of auditory structures in extant and fossil fishes
  • to present your research in international peer-reviewed journals and on international conferences
  • to co-supervise bachelor and master theses


Applicants for the position are expected to

  • hold a PhD in (Bio)Informatics, (Bio)Physics, (Bio)Engineering, or in a related field
  • have excellent knowledge and experience with mathematical modelling
  • have a strong command of analyzing large data sets and programming skills
  • have a good publication record in peer-reviewed international journals
  • a willingness to work in a multidisciplinary team
  • have a good command of spoken and written English

Some experience with bioacoustics, inner ear physiology, or fish anatomy are additional assets but not required.


Look forward to responsible and varied tasks at Germany's largest university. You will work on the high-tech campus in Planegg-Martinsried. An extensive range of training and development opportunities at all stages of your career awaits you. The compatibility of career and family is important to us: You have the opportunity to work part-time in various models and mobile working as well as flexible working hours. Remuneration is in accordance with TV-L, depending on qualifications.

LMU has signed the "Diversity Charter" and is committed to the diversity of its employees. We therefore actively promote equality between women and men.

Also possible in a part-time capacity.

People with disabilities who are equally as qualified as other applicants will receive preferential treatment.


Please send your application including CV, list of publications, research interests (1 page), and motivation letter to Dr. Tanja Schulz-Mirbach.

We look forward to receiving your application by e-mail (one PDF, max. 5 MB) by 01.07.2022.


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