PhD position for international students in Bordeaux

PhD position available in Bordeaux – Deadline for application March 11th, 2024

Structure and DNA-interactions of the membrane-associated protein RocS controlling chromosome segregation in Streptococcus pneumoniae


We are seeking a candidate with a Master 2 diploma or enrolled in a Master 2 degree in Biochemistry, Biophysics or Chemistry, who enjoys synergistic teamwork. The Master 2 must be performed in a non- french university or in an international cursus. Skills are appreciated in biochemistry and experience in NMR will be an advantage.


The human pathogen Streptococcus pneumonia relies on the recently identified essential protein RocS to partition its DNA into the two daughter cells during cell division. The structure of the membrane-associating protein RocS is unknown and mechanistic insights into the process of controlling the divisome constriction and correct DNA segregation are missing. This project combines MAS solid-state NMR and solution NMR to answer the following questions: Which atomic structure does RocS adopt in solution? How is the structure arranged and which conformational changes occur when RocS associates to the membrane? How does RocS on the atomic level interact with the DNA in solution and in the membrane-bound state? Solution NMR will serve to determine the structure of the soluble domain of RocS and to detect the atomic interaction sites of RocS with DNA fragments to obtain an atomic model of the bipartite structure. MAS solid-state NMR will then be used as outstanding technology to detect conformational rearrangements and the structure of RocS including the C-terminal membrane anchor in a native-like environment on membrane-mimicking liposomes. The project aims at providing a comprehensive picture of the structural and mechanistic aspects of RocS, coordinating DNA segregation and divisome constriction during S. pneumonia cell cycle.


The CBMN / IECB hosts one of France’s leading magnetic resonance laboratories, located in the great city of Bordeaux, affiliated with the University Bordeaux, the CNRS (French National Center for Scientific Research) and the Bordeaux INP. The CBMN / IECB NMR platform has state-of-the-art NMR spectrometers (300 - 800 MHz) including liquid and solid-state NMR equipment and a fast MAS probe. The CBMN / IECB further hosts a well-equipped platform for complementary biophysical experimental approaches (AFM, cryo-EM and vibrational spectroscopic equipment). The PhD candidate will be co-supervised by Dr. Gilmar Salgado (ARNA Bordeaux) and Dr. Birgit Habenstein (CBMN / IECB Bordeaux).

Application procedure

Get directly in touch with Birgit Habenstein ( for further details on the position and application.

Prepare your application:

› Master’s degree or equivalent (last diploma)

› Current certificate of enrolment (when applicable) 

› CV

› Motivation letter

› Recommendation letter

› Passport

› Any document demonstrating proficiency in English/French (if applicable)

Submit your application here:

If your application is successful, you will be asked for an audition between March 18 and April 12 (remote).

Best wishes,

Birgit Habenstein

CBMN UMR5248 CNRS, Institut de Biologie & Chimie des Membranes & Nanoobjets
IECB Institut Europeen de Chimie et Biologie
2 rue Robert Escarpit
33607 Pessac
Tel: +33 (0)5 40 00 30 29