PhD students of the 2020 IMPRS cohort sit on the stairs inside the institute and look into the camera.

Our internationally leading PhD Program aims to train the future generation of research leaders in life sciences.
The IMPRS ‘From Molecules To Organisms’ provides you with the opportunity to work at the cutting edge of your field and is an excellent starting platform for a successful career in science.

Program language: English(Stats from December 2023)

Program language: English

(Stats from December 2023)

59 graduates since 2011,Title awarded:Dr. rer. nat. 

59 graduates since 2011,
Title awarded:
Dr. rer. nat.


64 PhD students currently enroled,15 - 20 recruited per year

64 PhD students currently enroled,
15 - 20 recruited per year

PhD students come from 22 different countries 

PhD students come from 22 different countries


92 publications by PhD students active in 2022, 1.1 on average

92 publications by PhD students active in 2022, 1.1 on average

4.5 years median doctorate length 

4.5 years median doctorate length


The International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS) From Molecules to Organisms provides the next generation of scientists with the knowledge and skills to study complex biological processes, which cannot be adequately understood within the limits of single disciplines, in the context of entire organisms.
The IMPRS From Molecules to Organisms provides excellent interdisciplinary training across the disciplines of structural, molecular, cellular and developmental biology as well as bioinformatics, genomics and evolutionary biology.
The challenging and innovative program bridges between diverse disciplines and several levels of biological organization. Research topics offered to the students are drawn from the following traditionally separate fields:

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry and structural biology
  • Bioinformatics and computational biology
  • Molecular and cellular biology
  • Developmental biology and genetics
  • Genomics and proteomics
  • Microbiology and microbiome science
  • Evolutionary biology and ecology

We offer you
Mentoring & Supervision
PhD projects are available with selected faculty from the Max Planck Institute for Biology, the Friedrich Miescher Laboratory and the University of Tübingen. You will be conducting your work at the laboratory of your advisor at one of the three locations.

Program language
The program language is English. We encourage and support our PhD students to learn German.

Degree awarded
Our students generally obtain their doctoral degree from the Faculty of Science at the University of Tübingen. The awarded degree is Dr. rer. nat. (Doctorate in Natural Sciences).

What current doctoral students say

Michael BellPhD student with Ruth Ley 

Michael Bell
PhD student with Ruth Ley 

Moving to Tübingen for my PhD was a huge jump, but it has been well worth it. The MPI for Biology was fantastic at helping me settle in, understand the German system, and has even supported me in learning the language. The city itself is a lovely, quiet, and comfortable place to live, with a vibrant young population. Being located by the Black Forest and Schwabian Alb, there is also a wealth of hiking, sightseeing, and other outdoor activities close-by. Within the department of Microbiome Science, I have been free to design a fully self-driven, independent project. The ready access I have had to both materials and state-of-the-art equipment has allowed me to be highly productive, and remain creative and exploratory in the types of experiment that I can perform. I have also had the benefit of working closely and seamlessly with other labs within the institute, learning from their different expertise.
My colleagues at the institute come from a wide range of backgrounds, from all over the world, each bringing their unique experiences and perspectives. This has led to a truly welcoming, and supportive community. There are few places in the world where I would have been able to carry out a similar type of project, and I believe it’s allowed me to become a far better scientist as a result.
Shu Yao LeongPhD Student with Erik Schäffer 

Shu Yao Leong
PhD Student with Erik Schäffer 

I started my PhD at the end of 2019. Looking back, I would say I’ve enjoyed my PhD experience so far. Structurally, it was important for me that I had yearly obligations to present my work to an external audience through the PhD symposiums and thesis advisory committee (TAC) meetings. This was important for me, especially in my second year, when I really didn’t want to present anything as I felt like my project was going no where. I had to present anyway, and through that, received support and feedback. Pursuing a doctorate is difficult, and often whether you succeed or not is dependent on the availability of support. As for me, I’m glad to have done my PhD here in Tübingen, where I’ve always felt supported and encouraged by friends, colleagues, and IMPRS coordinators.
Anupam GautamPhD Student with Daniel Huson 

Anupam Gautam
PhD Student with Daniel Huson 

I am grateful to be a part of the Max Planck Institute of Biology Tübingen “IMPRS” program and University of Tübingen, where I am currently pursuing my PhD. The program continues to provide me with a diverse and international academic environment, allowing me to collaborate with esteemed scientists in my field. I am fortunate to have a highly supportive supervisor, who provides invaluable mentorship throughout my ongoing PhD. Additionally, I am grateful for the support and guidance I receive from my TAC members. They play a pivotal role in shaping my research journey and have greatly contributed to my personal development as well. 
The interdisciplinary nature of the program enables me to engage with scientists from various backgrounds, fostering a collaborative and dynamic learning experience. I remain grateful for the opportunities and resources offered by IMPRS, which continue to contribute significantly to my growth as a researcher. Additionally, being a part of this program has allowed me to build meaningful connections with my colleagues, who have become more than just fellow researchers—they have become friends. The supportive and collaborative atmosphere within the program has fostered strong relationships, creating a sense of camaraderie and shared experiences.
The IMPRS 'From Molecules to Organisms' is a joint graduate school operated by the Max Planck Institute for Biology Tübingen, the Friedrich Miescher Laboratory and the University of Tübingen.
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