Group Leader position in Palaeoproteomics

Jena, Thüringen (DE)
Salary and Research funds are competitive, reflecting qualifications
April 13 2018
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

Group Leader position in Palaeoproteomics

The Department of Archaeology at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History (MPI-SHH) is offering a 5-year (extendable) Group Leader position to head a Palaeoproteomics Group. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to co-develop a state-of-the-art ancient proteomics facility, supervise a growing research group, and undertake cutting-edge research on ancient proteins. This appointment forms part of the broader aims of the Department of Archaeology to develop and apply new archaeological science methods to study past human ecologies, health, evolutionary relationships and cultural transitions. The department seeks to build on its growing expertise in the field of ancient proteins, expanding the range of archaeological and evolutionary questions that can be addressed through the study of proteins.

The extraction, identification and analysis of proteins from human and animal-derived remains (bones, shell, teeth, etc.), as well as other archaeological sources, has emerged as an exciting new area of interdisciplinary research. The applicant will be offered the opportunity to drive this field forward in archaeology, focusing on 1) the use of palaeoproteomics for the study of phylogenetic relationships in extinct humans and mammals; 2) the use of palaeoproteomics to study human evolution; 3) the use of palaeoproteomics to study ancient health and disease; 4) the use of ZooMS (collagen fingerprinting) to identify and screen osteoarchaeological material; and 5) the development of palaeoproteomics methods and new applications.

Facilities for palaeoproteomics and ZooMS currently exist in the Department of Archaeology, but one of the Group Leader’s roles will be to expand these, drawing on the Department’s start-up funds. The successful applicant will be encouraged to work with other researchers in the Department as well as internationally, including those engaged in biomolecular, palaeoenvironmental, evolutionary and field archaeological research to further collaborations and push the boundaries of multidisciplinary approaches to the past.

Applicants from modern proteomics and biochemistry backgrounds are encouraged alongside those from the archaeological and evolutionary sciences. The successful applicant will have a proven track record of peer-reviewed publication in their relevant discipline. Applicants should also be able to demonstrate competence in student supervision and the management of a laboratory and research group. The successful applicant will develop an ambitious program of research that addresses key archaeological and biological research questions and envisions new ways to apply proteomic tools and move the field of palaeoproteomics forward.

The initial appointment of the Group Leader is for 5 years with the possibility of extension after international review and conditional on legal and financial options. The position start date is flexible, but ideally between October 2018 – January 2019.

Your qualifications


  • Have a PhD degree or qualification equivalent, in Proteomics, Genetics, Biochemistry, Evolutionary Biology or Archaeological Science.
  • Training and experience in proteomic laboratory research, maintenance, and management.
  • Training and experience in the application of the latest statistical and bioinformatics approaches for the analysis of proteomic data.
  • Experience writing scientific peer-reviewed publications and a strong publication record.
  • Applicants are expected to be enthusiastic about learning and exploring research topics in the archaeological, evolutionary and palaeoecological sciences. They must also be willing to work as part of a research team, helping build up and develop the Department of Archaeology while simultaneously spearheading an ambitious and cutting-edge research programme.
  • We are looking for individuals who are fascinated by archaeology, passionate about research, and keen to be part of a young, growing and dynamic interdisciplinary Department.


  • Experience with various laboratory techniques in the biological sciences or archaeological sciences,
  • Experience with LC-MS/MS (liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry), including equipment set-up, maintenance, and operation.
  • Experience of fieldwork in archaeological, biological, ecological or palaeoenvironmental settings.
  • Experience or interest in Pleistocene and Holocene archaeology.
  • Experience of securing research funding and leading a team or research group.

We offer

  • Relative freedom to develop a palaeoproteomic research agenda with a focus on methodological advances and new applications.
  • The opportunity to build a research team of PhD students and postdoctoral researchers.
  • Technical support in the day-to-day running of the laboratory.
  • Integration into our interdisciplinary research team within the Department of Archaeology and the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  • Intellectual, technical and resource support for the development of new palaeoproteomic archaeological studies and directions.
  • Access to cutting-edge facilities and equipment
  • An excellent, friendly research environment
  • An English language working environment

The Max Planck Society is committed to employing more handicapped individuals and especially encourages them to apply. The Max Planck Society also seeks to increase the number of women in the sciences and therefore explicitly encourages women to apply.

Submit, by 28 May, 2018, a cover letter expressing your experience and interest in the topic, a proposal outlining your vision for the group, highlighting plans for research, methods development and engagement with the themes and research of the wider Department of Archaeology (3 pages maximum, not including references and figures), your CV, and your undergraduate and master’s transcripts. Three referees should also submit reports by the deadline and it is the candidate’s responsibility to request these and ensure they are submitted on time. Submissions will only be accepted if they are sent through the online application and are received in full by the 28 May.