Position: PhD Position (Physics, Chemistry, or similar) on Parahydrogen-Based Hyperpolarization for MRI of Cancer Metabolism

Department: DKTK Freiburg - Medical Physics, Department of Radiology, University Medical Center Freiburg

Code number: 2022-0402

The German Cancer Research Center is the largest biomedical research institution in Germany. With more than 3,000 employees, we operate an extensive scientific program in the field of cancer research.

Together with university partners at seven renowned partner sites, we have established the German Cancer Consortium (DKTK).
At the partner site of DKTK Freiburg the German Cancer Research Center is offering a PhD position in metabolic and molecular magnetic resonance imaging, oncology research, and parahydrogen-based hyperpolarization.


Job description:

Cancer is associated with characteristic alterations in metabolism and other biological and functional properties. Precise imaging thereof promises improved diagnostics and therapy planning. Hyperpolarized MRI enables radiation-free mapping of such changes in living organisms by enhancing the MRI signal by several orders of magnitude. Bridging the gap between nuclear spin physics, organic chemistry, and medical diagnostics, hyperpolarization is a truly interdisciplinary research field. The Freiburg group focuses on the investigation and development of new hyperpolarization methods and bringing these advances to biomedical application with an ultimate goal of clinical translation.

This project will be focusing on the development and preclinical application of fast and cost-efficient hyperpolarization techniques and new agents to investigate tumor tissue. It will be conducted in close cooperation with our national partners from Heidelberg, Munich, and Tübingen and our US partners from Detroit (MI) to develop the next generation of molecular imaging for future cancer patient care.

Our asspiration is to combine physics and chemistry with applications improve cancer diagnosis and monitoring for personalized therapy in an emerging field of research.

Your tasks:

  • Developing hardware and polarizer setups
    (fluidics of gases and liquids, reactor design, prototyping)
  • Investigating hyperpolarization of new agents for metabolic and functional imaging of cancer
  • Investigate the Signal Amplification By Reversible Exchange (SABRE) hyperpolarization technique and the purification to extract hyperpolarized agents in neat water
  • First preclinical applications and oncology research



    • Master's degree in physics, chemistry or similar
    • Fluent English (in word and speech)
    • Good scientific presenting and writing skills
    • Solid background in molecular physics / chemistry
    • Ideally experience with NMR or MRI

    We offer:

    • Interesting, versatile workplace
    • International, attractive working environment
    • Campus with modern state-of-the-art infrastructure
    • Access to international research networks
    • Doctoral student payment including social benefits
    • Flexible working hours
    • Comprehensive training and mentoring program through the Helmholtz International Graduate School

    Important notice:

    The DKFZ is subject to the regulations of the Infection Protection Act (IfSG). As a consequence, only persons who present proof of immunity against measles as well as against COVID-19 may work at the DKFZ.

    Earliest Possible Start Date: 01.01.2023

    Duration: The position is limited to 3 years.

    Application Deadline: 23.12.2022


    Dr. Andreas Schmidt
    Phone 0761 270 22810

    Please note that we do not accept applications submitted via email.

    The DKFZ is committed to increase the proportion of women in all areas and positions in which women are underrepresented. Qualified female applicants are therefore particularly encouraged to apply.

    Among candidates of equal aptitude and qualifications, a person with disabilities will be given preference. 

    To apply for a position please use our online application portal (https://www.dkfz.de/en/stellenangebote/index.php).

    We ask for your understanding that we cannot return application documents that are sent to us by post (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, Personalabteilung, Im Neuenheimer Feld 280, 69120 Heidelberg) and that we do not accept applications submitted via email. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.