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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - IRI Life Sciences

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | IRI Life Sciences | Career | Independent Junior Groups

Interdisciplinary and
innovative research

At IRI Life Sciences we set the perfect environment for innovative cutting-edge research which most often is difficult in classical university structures. We think out of the box and love bold ideas.

Collaborative culture 

We believe that great science comes out of interwined creative minds. Our institute is a melting pot for different disciplines and facilitates community-building across institutions and research groups to initiate inspiring research projects. 

Flat hierarchies 

At IRI Life Sciences we apply the same rules for both our junior and senior group leaders, i.e. we involve all our group leaders in decision-making at all levels within our institute. 

Want to join us?

If you are a qualified and highly motivated candidate with a third-party funded research group we are happy to welcome you at IRI Life Sciences. You may also receive administrative support from us for third party junior positions applications. Please contact Dr. Stefanie Scharf.

Our current Junior Group Leaders:

Dr. Benedikt Beckmann - Molecular Infection Biology

Benedikt Beckmann joined us in April 2014 to establish the first junior group at IRI Life Sciences funded by the Excellence Initiative. His research focus is on RNA-protein interactions during infection; in particular, the research group wants to identify and characterize bacterial non-coding RNAs and RNA-binding proteins that modify post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression of the host cell and thus contribute to the pathogenicity of the pathogen. 


  • Principal Investigator at the DFG funded graduate programme IRTG 2290


  • Urdaneta E., Beckmann BM. Fast and unbiased purification of RNA-protein complexes after UV cross-linking. BioRxiv.
  • Bressin A, Schulte-Sasse R, Figini D, Urdaneta EC, Beckmann BM*, Marsico A*. TriPepSVM: de novo prediction of RNA-binding proteins based on short amino acid motifs. Nucleic Acids Res. 2019 Mar 29. pii: gkz203
  • Beckmann BM. RNA interactome capture in yeast. Methods. 2017 Apr 15;118-119:82-92. doi: 10.1016/j.ymeth.2016.12.008
  • Beckmann BM, Castello A, Medenbach J. The expanding universe of ribonucleoproteins: of novel RNA-binding proteins and unconventional interactions. Pflugers Arch. 2016 Jun;468(6):1029-40. doi: 10.1007/s00424-016-1819-4.


Dr. David Garfield - Evolutionary Biology

David Garfield joined us in November 2016 to establish a junior group at IRI Life Sciences in collaboration with the Department of Biology at HU. His work uses population genetics and comparisons between closely related species to understand the mechanisms by which natural selection shapes embryonic development and, ultimately, gives rise to the diversity of animal forms we see all around us.


  • Principal Investigator at the DFG funded graduate programme IRTG 2403
  • ERC Starting Grant 2019 - 2024


Former Junior Group Leaders:

Prof. Dr. Simone Reber - Quantitative Biology

Simone Reber joined us in October 2014 to establish a junior group at IRI Life Sciences funded by the Excellence Initiative and maintains her research group at IRI Life sciences beyond her appointment as professor in 2018. Her research aims to elucidate the biochemical and biophysical principles that underlie the self-organization and scaling of subcellular organelles.


  • Principal Investigator at the DFG funded graduate programme IRTG 2290
  • DFG grant "Spindle Forces"
  • Since October 2018 promoted to a W2-professorship at the Beuth Hochschule Berlin 


  • Camargo Ortega G, Falk S, Johansson PA, Peyre E, Broix L, Sanjeeb, Sahu K,  Hirst W, Schlichthaerle T, Romero CJ, Draganova K, Vinopal S, Chinnappa K, Gavranovic A, Karakaya T, Steininger T, Merl-Pham J, Feederle R, Shao W, Shi SH, Hauck SM, Jungmann R,  Bradke F, Borrell V, Geerlof A, Reber STiwari VK, Huttner WB, Wilsch-Bräuninger M, Nguyen L and Götz M. The centrosome protein AKNA regulates neurogenesis via microtubule organization. Nature (2019)