PhD student position
Published: 21. Aug 2018
ScienceCampus Chronic Inflammation is an intimate cooperation between the Leibniz-Institute Deutsches Rheuma-Forschungszentrum (DRFZ) Berlin, one of the leading international institutes in the field of immunology, experimental rheumatology and rheumatism epidemiology, and the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, one of the largest university hospitals in Europe, with a rich history and a leading role in science, teaching and patient care. It is aimed at performing basic research on rheumatic diseases and its translation into clinical reality.
For research headed by Dr. Marina Babic Cac and Prof. Dr. Chiara Romagnani, we are looking for an outstanding candidate with genuine interest in applying various approaches to understand the role of innate receptors in the activation of T helper lymphocytes during chronic inflammation and autoimmunity. The initial funding period is three years, with an extension option.
Immune response is a result of a very delicate balance between activating and inhibitory signals provided by the molecules expressed on the surface of immune cells. While too little inflammation results in the increased susceptibility to pathogens and possible outgrowth of malignant cells, the consequence of too much inflammation is autoimmunity and immune pathology.
In the recent decade, cancer therapy was revolutionized by the development of drugs targeting immune checkpoints, receptors such as CTLA-4 and PD-1, thus interrupting the inhibitory signal and unleashing the T cell mediated anti-tumor response (2013 Breakthrough of the Year, Science).
Our group is interested in innate receptors that might serve as checkpoints of inflammation, both in innate and adaptive immune lymphocytes, during chronic inflammatory diseases and autoimmunity. Our previous work highlighted the role of an activating receptor NKp44 in human type 3 innate lymphoid cells (ILC3; Glatzer et al, Immunity, 2013), NKG2C in human adaptive NK cells (Hammer et al, Nature Immunol, 2018) and we are currently studying the role of a stress sensor NKG2D (Jonjic S, Babic M et al., Curr Opin Immunol, 2006; Babic M and Romagnani C., Front Immunol, 2018) in CD4+ T cell mediated immune responses, using mouse models of autoimmune diseases (Babic et al, manuscript in preparation).
The ideal candidate will perform and analyze experiments to address molecular mechanisms of NKG2D-mediated modulation of T helper cell effector functions in vitro, using cell culture and state-of-the art transcriptomic approach, and in vivo by using different mouse models of autoimmune diseases.
We are looking for a highly motivated, independent and committed student with a Master degree in biology, immunology, biotechnology, or a related discipline. Prior experience in mouse handling, T cell immunology, cell culture, flow cytometry would be highly appreciated. This position requires good communication, interpersonal skills and fluent English.
You can expect:
- To have access to state-of-the-art core facilities and to perform research in a renowned and multidisciplinary institute that is embedded in Berlin´s academic environment.
- To profit from the structured education program of the DRFZ, the graduate school “Leibniz Graduate School on chronic inflammation” and the “Leibniz postdoctoral college on chronic inflammatory diseases”.
- To obtain expert knowledge of immunology by attending clubs and seminars offered by the DRFZ, as well as by attending national/international conferences/courses.
Applications should include a cover letter with a statement of research interests and qualifications for the position, complete CV and the names of two academic references. Please send the application as a single PDF file to Dr. Marina Babic Cac, DRFZ Berlin (Marina.Babic_cac@drfz.de). Position is available from October 1st, 2018.
The DRFZ/Charité is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, committed to excellence through diversity, and strongly encourages applications and nominations of persons of color, women, and members of under-represented groups. Individuals with disabilities will be given priority, if qualified accordingly.