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PhD position in Molecular Biology - DNA demethylation, reprogramming and differentiation

In the field of  “DNA demethylation, reprogramming and differentiation” the research group of Prof. Christof Niehrs offers the following PhD project:

The role of Gadd45 in reprogramming and embryonic stem cells


During development, DNA demethylation plays an important role in the context of two major concepts: cellular reprogramming and differentiation. First, DNA demethylation is required to reprogram the epigenetic signature to pave the way for pluripotency in the zygote and the primordial germ cells. Second, DNA demethylation of key differentiation factors is a prerequisite for efficient differentiation. There are indications that Gadd45 proteins may be involved in both processes.
We will comprehensively study the role of Gadd45 mediated DNA demethylation using induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells as model system combining genome-wide expression and methylation analysis. To this aim, we will reprogram mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) to generate iPS cells lacking either Gadd45a, -b, or -g or combinations of these three related proteins. The efficiency of the reprogramming procedure will reveal a possible role of Gadd45 in cellular reprogramming. We will differentiate the knockout iPS cells in vitro into different lineages e.g. muscle, adipocytes or neurons. Global expression profiling by microarrays and/or RNA-sequencing in combination with global methylation profiling using MeDIP and Gadd45 ChIP-Seq will lead to the identification of direct Gadd45 target genes in this differentiation process. These newly identified target genes can be used for further molecular analysis of Gadd45 mediated DNA demethylation.

We offer
•    The possibility to work on a cutting-edge project using state-of-the-art technology in a highly motivated research team
•    A stimulating, diverse and international research environment
•    Advanced training opportunities
•    A competitive stipend

Required qualifications
•    Master or Diploma
•    Motivation to solve complex biological problems
•    Excellent communication skills

Starting date: 1 March 2015 or later
Duration of stipend: 3 years, with the possibility of extension
Deadline for registration (exclusively online via web form):  8 November 2014

Contact detail

How to apply:
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Job profile

Working hours
Contract duration
Type of job
PhD Project
Work experience
job experience is not required
Germany (Rheinland-Pfalz)
Working place
55128 Mainz
Area of expertise
Biology & Life Sciences