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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 Xenopus embryonic development


Our studies have indicated a role for Gadd45 in Xenopus development. On one hand, active DNA demethylation and reprogramming of the Oct4 pluripotency gene in Xenopus frog oocytes requires Gadd45a (Barreto et al.,2007). On the other hand, Gadd45a and g are required for embryonic patterning and exit from pluripotency (Kaufmann and Niehrs, 2011). Xenopus embryos are a powerful model system to study embryonic patterning and differentiation. Tools such as mRNA overexpression and antisense Morpholino injection yield facile access to functional analysis of gene function. These studies have raised interesting question. What are the Gadd45 target genes in Xenopus? How do they contribute to the observed phenotypes in Gadd45 knock down embryos? How is Gadd45 recruited to its target genes? Does Gadd45 demethylation in Xenopus involve oxidized cytosine intermediates? 
In this project we will study the role of Gadd45 mediated DNA demethylation using induced Xenopus as model system. We will combing genome-wide expression and methylation analysis. 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:
Please apply exclusively via our online form at:
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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