Scientists in the ZIBI program work at well-known institutes such as the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, the Robert Koch Institute, the German Rheumatism Research Center (DRFZ) as well as at institutes of the Humboldt University to Berlin, the Free University of Berlin and the Charité - University Medicine Berlin.
Research on infectious diseases and the immune system is a focal point in Berlin. The ZIBI Graduate School is associated to the Center for Infection Biology and Immunity (ZIBI) founded by scientists working in this field. The ZIBI Graduate School is the roof of four research training programs:
International Max Planck Research School for Infectious Diseases and Immunology (IMPRS-IDI)
SFB 650 Research Training Group "Suppression of Unwanted Immune Reactions"
Leibniz Graduate School for Rheumatology (LGRh)
Our program offers outstanding scientific training leading to a doctoral degree. The school encourages students to conduct independent research using different approaches such as molecular, cellular, and organismal biology. Projects aim to elucidate genetic, biochemical and organismal basis of infections and immune reactions.
The mission of the ZIBI Graduate School is to develop students into creative, responsible and self-confident young researchers. In an individual course program students are introduced to modern scientific practice and to advanced methodology. Particular emphasis is put on the active participation of the students. All students meet regularly to present and discuss their projects. They are highly encouraged to teach in seminars and courses, to invite international guest speakers and to communicate their science to the public. The school also prepares students for their scientific life after they graduate by offering career development seminars.
The students are the heart of the ZIBI Graduate School. The ZIBI Graduate School has an active and lively student community. The collegial atmosphere assures that everybody has a productive and memorable time. The annual retreat is a particular highlight. It is organized by the students and ZIBI faculty.
Berlin is a very attractive place for national and international students to perform a PhD. The city is a breeding ground for arts, design, fashion, movies, theater, sports and more.
Each year the ZIBI faculty offers a two weeks Summer School. Together with invited guest lecturers the ZIBI faculty offers a summer school for a comprehensive view into infection biology and immunology. The two weeks include lectures as well as practical courses. This is an excellent way for prospective students to get to know the faculty and laboratories of the school, as well as the city of Berlin. The Summer School is supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).
The ZIBI program offers:
lectures, seminars & practical courses in infection biology and immunity by faculty members and invited guest speakers
financial support for collaborative lab visits and external courses; travel allowances to scientific meetings
monthly PhD student days and annual program retreats
transferable skill courses and language courses for internationals
career development information and guidance
working contracts or fellowships that cover the whole PhD (financed by the school and the host lab)
Many internationally recognized research groups are involved in the program. They cover a wide range of scientific areas including microbiology, biochemistry, cell biology, molecular biology and immunology. Links to the major research interests of the respective groups are available on our website.
Several of the research groups in the ZIBI program focus on bacterial diseases, the pathogenicity factors, the host responses and epidemiology. Many of the infectious diseases caused by the investigated bacterial species are wide-spread and of great medical, social and economic importance.
Similarly, there is a strong research focus on various viruses, their entry mechanisms, manipulation of the host cell and the subsequent host response.
In addition to bacteriology and virology, several participating groups work on parasitic worms and protozoans, their interactions with both human and animal hosts including immune modulation strategies of the pathogens.
On the host side, many of the researchers participating in the ZIBI program work on the immune system, its development, aging and regeneration. With one of the partner institutions, the German Rheumatism Research Center (DRFZ), we also have a strong research focus on autoimmune diseases and inflammation causing degeneration of the nervous system and other tissues.
Researchers at the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) work on pathogen-host interactions in the wild as well as diseases and their underlying population dynamics.
Even insects and other invertebrates are used as host models for infections.
In summary, research at our partner institutions covers a wide area of topics from pathogens to hosts, from immunity to autoimmunity, from diseases of medical and veterinary importance to host model systems in basic research.
Programme: Improve world health - begin your scientific career - come to Berlin!
The mission of the ZIBI Graduate School Berlin is to develop students into creative, responsible and self-confident young researchers.
We tailor the curriculum to the needs of each individual student. To this end, we offer a variety of courses, from which the students choose according to their needs and interests and which serve their scientific project and personal development as scientists. The curriculum includes parts with mandatory and elective modules. The official course language is English. Our system of credit points is aligned with the standards of the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).
Doctoral students of the program meet on a monthly basis for a research seminar, where doctoral students present and discuss their respective projects to the group. Each student has a thesis committee which advises the PhD research project and supervises the professional and personal development of the student and progression of the research project. In a monthly paper-based seminar taught by faculty members current hot topics in science are discussed. In addition, the "Do and Don'ts" of scientific writing and publishing are explained and discussed.
An important part of the curriculum is the "Berlin Life Science Colloquium", a weekly forum to listen to internationally renowned scientists. We highly encourage our students to organize the colloquium and to invite guest speakers themselves. This is an excellent opportunity to establish and nourish long-standing contacts for their future careers.
The Berlin area with its abundance of universities and research institutes with a focus on infection biology and immunity is a wonderful place to interact with other world-renowned researchers in the field. The ZIBI Graduate School announces on its website the wide array of lectures and seminars in the related research topics offered in the region. Practical courses organized by our faculty or members of the research labs are aimed to introduce students to new techniques and scientific approaches. We also provide funding for students to attend practical courses provided by external institutions and encourage them to spend time at an international partner institute. Each student is encouraged to attend an international meeting at least twice to present a poster / talk. Travel grants are awarded by the ZIBI program.
In addition to research, a wide variety of transferable skill courses such as time management, disputation training, work-life balance and other specific training courses is offered. Our students are an active part of the scientific community, by inviting guest speakers, organizing meetings and colloquia as well as communicating their research to the public. Advanced students are encouraged to conduct lectures and courses themselves. Each year a retreat for all students and faculty members of our program is organized. Students present their work and discuss it with other students and faculty members. The retreat is also organized by students, enabling them to gain experience in event planning and organization.
Requirements for admission to the program
Doctoral program: Applicants must hold a Master, a German Diploma or equivalent degree in biology, biochemistry, bioinformatics, chemistry, or related subjects.
Preparatory program: In rare instances we accept applicants holding a Bachelor degree (4 years of study including a thesis).
Assessment of candidates
Selection: Applications will be reviewed by faculty members of the Graduate School. Candidates will be selected for an interview based on academic qualifications, motivation, suitability to the program and referee's evaluations. We may contact applicants or referees by phone for preliminary assessment.
Interview: Applicants who are short-listed will be invited to attend the final admission assessment in Berlin. During the assessment center applicants will be introduced to the different research groups, interviewed by faculty members and are asked to give a short presentation of their scientific work. Travel expenses as well as the accommodation will be covered.
Notification of acceptance: Notification of acceptance will be as soon as possible, the latest 4 weeks after the assessment center. The projects will start in agreement between the candidate and the future supervisor.
Any other type of application by mail or e-mail will be rejected. The online application form must be completed in English. For detailed information about the application process and required documents please first read carefully the following information on our program website.
The online application includes a field "Research Interest". We asked you to choose 3 different research groups you would like to join. For groups with currently open positions you can find a description of the research topics in the "Projects" section of our website.
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