PhD Student (f/m/d): Combining Human and Computer Superpowers for Interactive AR/VRIXR Data Analysis

Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR)
Germany (DE)
Salary according to the German Collective Wage Agreement for the Civil Service (TVöD)
October 13 2020
Position Type
Part Time
Organization Type
Job Type
PhD Fellowship

PhD Student (f/m/d): Combining Human and Computer Superpowers for Interactive AR/VRIXR Data Analysis in Systems Biology

The Center for Advanced Systems Understanding (CASUS) is a German-Polish research center for data-intensive digital systems research. We combine innovative methods from mathematics, theoretical systems research, simulations, data science, and computer science to provide solutions for a range of disciplines – materials science under ambient and extreme conditions, earth system research, systems biology, and autonomous vehicles.

CASUS was jointly founded in August 2019 by the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf, the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, the Technical University of Dresden and the University of Wroclaw. CASUS is located in the heart of Görlitz at the border between Germany and Poland. The CASUS start-up phase is hosted by the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf and is financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the Saxon State Ministry of Science and Art.

The Department of Systems Biology in collaboration with the Junior Professorship for lmmersive Media at TU Dresden is looking for a PhD student excited about exploring the possibilities of combining natural user interfaces (e.g. via eye tracking) with machine learning-based approaches for interactive data analysis in Systems Biology. Consideration of candidates will begin as soon as possible and will continue until the position is filled. Location of work is Görlitz, remuneration is according to the German Civil Service Tariff and HZDR employment conditions. No tuition charged. The regular weekly working time will be 19,5 hours and will be increased to 30 hours in the third working year.

The Scope of Your Job

Recent developments in Systems Biology, such as the advent of Lightsheet Fluorescence Microscopes (LSFM) or CryoEM, have led to an unprecedented availability of large, spatiotemporal biological data, e.g. in the form of 3D/4D microscopy images or transcriptomics data. These data are often analyzed in an automated manner. However, algorithms might not always yield optimal results, which again leads to the necessity of a manual cu ration step. With the Bionic Tracking project, we have already started exploring the applicability of eye tracking-based interfaces in VR to aid 3D/4D cell tracking. In this project, we want to investigate the coupling of such interfaces with machine learning-based approaches, in order to make common tedious tasks such as cell tracking faster and more accurate.

Your Tasks:

  • Design and develop natural user interfaces (e.g. via eye tracking), and couple them with machine learning algorithms

  • Conduct user studies to empirically evaluate such interfaces

  • Integrate the results into our visualization and interaction framework scenery (paper)

  • Publish your results in academic, peer-reviewed journals

  • Present your results at scientific meetings

Your Qualifications:

  • Master's degree etc. in computer science, physics, or related fields

  • Knowledge of AR/VR/XR interfaces and visualization, experience with user studies is a plus

  • Excellent programming skills in languages such as Java, Kotlin, C++

  • Experience with graphics programming, such as with OpenGL, Vulkan, DirectX, Metal

  • Strong motivation to work in a collaborative environment;

  • Excellent communication skills in English and in a professional context (presentation of research results at scientific meetings, colloquial discussions, writing of manuscripts)

We offer:

  • A vibrant research community in an open, diverse, and international work environment

  • Scientific excellence and high quality of training according to the Helmholtz Doctoral Guidelines

  • Cutting-edge, professionally managed high-performance computing resources

  • Scientific computing and software engineering support team

  • Broad national and international science networks

  • Salary according to the German Collective Wage Agreement for the Civil Service (TVöD)

  • Comprehensive benefits package (30 vacation days per year, company pension plan (VBL)

    flexible working hours, in-house health management, relocation assistance)

Deadline: Rolling application - open until filled.

Please submit your completed application (including cover letter, CV, diplomas/transcripts, etc.) only via our Online-application-system.

Online application English / German

For any questions, do not hesitate to ask:
Dr. Michael Bussmann Tel.: +49 3581 37523 11,
+49 351 260 2616,
Mrs. Weronika Mazur Tel.: +49 3581 37523 23,
+49 171 3635554,
Mr. Ulrik Günther Tel.: +49 3581 37523 61,
Mrs. Inken Köhler Tel.: +49 3581 37523 10

Place of work:

Working hours:
19,5 h/week

Online application
English / German


The HZDR is committed to equal opportunity employment and we strongly encourage applications from qualified female candidates. We also carefully consider all applications from job candidates with severe disabilities.

Bautzner Landstraße 400
01328 Dresden