PhD studentships (natural and engineering sciences) – Interdisciplinary Graduate School "Innovative Technologies in Cancer Diagnostics and Therapy"

University Cancer Center Hamburg (UCCH) Hamburg-Eppendorf in cooperation with the Hamburg University of Technology

We are based at the University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE), a vibrant academic healthcare provider right in the heart of Hamburg. There is a real buzz of energy here, as progress sets the pace and every day offers fresh experiences. Around 13,000 members of staff with a huge diversity of roles are united in the pursuit of a single aim: human wellbeing.

With more than 140 different professions, we are the ideal place for anyone who loves to work in a flexible environment, for anyone ambitious to advance their own personal development and that of healthcare as a whole.

We can provide a working environment that offers equal opportunities regardless of age, gender, sexual identity, disability, origin or religion. We uphold this by our adherence to the Diversity Charter. Specifically, we are aiming to increase the proportion of women in positions of leadership, in particular academic personnel in research and teaching. Priority consideration will be given to women in the event of equal qualification. The same applies in the event of one gender being underrepresented in the recruiting department. People with a severe disability will be given priority where they have equal aptitude, qualifications and professional expertise.

Activities and responsibilities

From 1st October 2020, positions are available at 50% E13 in the first year of doctoral studies and 65% in the second and third year of doctoral studies.

Five doctoral positions are currently advertised within the Graduate School \\"Innovative Technologies in Cancer Diagnostics and Therapy\\" funded by the State Research Fund Hamburg. The Graduate School consists of a total of 7 interdisciplinary projects involving scientists from the UKE and the Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH). The aim of all projects is to apply and develop the latest key technologies to address important questions in cancer research and interconnect tumour biology and treatment at the University Cancer Center Hamburg with the engineering and technical disciplines at the Hamburg University of Technology.

All PhD studentships are supervised by two complementary disciplines and are based on existing projects and collaborations.

In addition to the individual, project-specific research activities, a joint qualification programme includes key skill seminars, exercises and events to provide a comprehensive, scientific education in this interdisciplinary field.

The Graduate School is located at the UCCH of the UKE, one of 13 German oncology centers of excellence. It also benefits from close interactions with the Mildred-Scheel Cancer Careers Center Hamburg, which was founded in 2019. Against this background and through close cooperation with the TUHH, the Graduate School offers an excellent research environment, which enables doctoral theses to be carried out at the highest international level.

Doctoral degrees are awarded on the following topics. More detailed information can be found on the websites of the institutes involved.

1. Topic (PhD in engineering)
  • Title of PhD:
    Innovative methods of artificial intelligence for improved tumor diagnosis using optical methods
  • Supervisor: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Alexander Schlaefer: (TUHH, Institute for Medical Technology Systems),
    Dr. rer. nat. Dennis Eggert: (UHH, UKE, Clinic for Otorhinolaryngology)
  • Aim: The aim of the project is to improve the diagnosis of tumors of the upper throat by using modern optical methods (such as optical coherence tomography, hyperspectral imaging, fluorescence techniques) and evaluation of the image data using methods of artificial intelligence and machine learning.
2. Topic (PhD in natural sciences)
  • Title of PhD:
    High-resolution single cell analysis to determine tumor cell heterogeneity in advanced prostate cancer: development of resistance, trans- and dedifferentiation
  • Supervisor: Prof. Dr. med. Gunhild von Amsberg: (UHH, UKE, II. Medical Clinic),
    Prof. Dr. med. Klaus Pantel: (UHH, UKE, Institute for Tumor Biology)
  • Aim: The aim of this project is to establish a genomic and transcriptional signature for prostate cancer with the help of circulating tumor cells for the early identification of patients with resistance to standard therapy and aggressive disease progression.
3. Topic (PhD in natural sciences)
  • Title of PhD:
    Molecular analysis of circulating biomarkers associated with resistance to immunotherapy
  • Supervisor: Dr. med. Melanie Janning: (UHH, UKE, II. Medical Clinic and Polyclinic),
    Dr. med. Franz Ricklefs: (UHH, UKE, Clinic for Neurosurgery)
  • Aim: The aim of this project is the detection of new resistance mechanisms against an immune checkpoint inhibitor in bronchial carcinoma and glioblastoma by analysis of the genome, transcriptome and proteome. For this purpose, circulating tumor cells and extracellular vesicles are to be examined.
4. Topic (PhD in natural sciences)
  • Title of PhD:
    Identification of predictive proteome profiles in prostate cancer using a functional ex vivo assay
  • Supervisor: Dr. rer. nat. Sabrina Köcher: (UHH, UKE, Laboratory for Radiation Biology & Exp. Radiooncology),
    Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Hartmut Schlüter: (UHH, UKE, Institute for Clinical Chemistry)
  • Aim: The aim of this project is to establish proteome profiles as predictive markers for therapy response. This should be investigated using the example of prostate cancer, especially after PARP inhibition in combination with radiation.
5. Topic (PhD in natural sciences)
  • Title of PhD:
    Epigenetic and kinome-specific patterns for predicting the response of glioblastoma to X-rays and temozolomide
  • Supervisor: PD Dr. rer. nat. Malte Kriegs: (UHH, UKE, Laboratory for Radiation Biology & Exp. Radiation Oncology),
    Prof. Dr. med. Ulrich Schüller: (UHH, UKE, Institute for Neuropathology & Childhood Cancer Center Hamburg)
  • Aim: The aim of this project is to identify patterns in the methylome and kinome of glioblastoma cells (brain tumor cells) that are associated with the radiation and chemo-sensitivity of the tumors.
In addition, the following projects are involved in the Graduate School (these positions are excluded from the tender):
  • Development of a phantom with integrated tumor samples for automated analysis in imaging processes (Ing .; Krause, TUHH & Gargioni, UKE)
  • Tumor characterization with impedance spectroscopy (Nat .; Kuhl, TUHH & Schumacher, UKE)

Qualification profile

  • Completed university degree in natural sciences (departments of biology, biochemistry, molecular life science, human biology, physics, biophysics) or engineering (departments of medical technology and (bio) process engineering) or other, otherwise equivalent skills and experiences
  • On excellent and committed doctoral students, with great willingness to actively contribute to the research training group
  • Depending on the project, different orientations and experiences can be relevant. Please ask for this separately.

We offer

  • An innovative, family-friendly working environment right in the middle of Hamburg (day nursery, free child care during the school holidays)
  • Opportunity to participate in a wide range of vocational training, continuing and further education courses at the UKE Academy for Education and Careers, as well as a broad spectrum of introductory events
  • An attractive company pension scheme and the use of diverse and multiple award-winning health and illness-prevention offers

Send application to

The contact persons for the individual projects are listed in the project listing.
The Graduate School vice spokesperson is available for general questions: PD Dr. rer. nat. Malte Kriegs; phone: 040 / 7410-53594;

We look forward to receiving your completed application by 6th July 2020 stating reference code 2020-272 via e-mail:

While applying for the job please refer to jobvector and use the following reference number: 2020-272

About Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf

Über uns Fortschritt prägen. Völlig neu denken. Uns neu erfinden. Wir sind das UKE. Die pulsierende Gesundheitsstadt inmitten von Hamburg. Wo so viel Energie in der Luft liegt und der Fortschritt den Takt angibt, ist kein Tag wie der andere. Über 11.000 Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeiter mit sehr unterschiedlichen Aufgaben eint hier das gleiche Ziel: das Wohl des Menschen. Für dieses...
More about Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf