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Doctoral Researcher Position: Stepwise virulence regulation in Candida albicans

The Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology – Hans Knöll Institute – in cooperation with the Friedrich Schiller University and the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology are offering an international graduate training program.

The International Leibniz Research School (ILRS Jena) gives doctoral researchers the possibility to prepare for their PhD exam in an ambitious program providing excellent research conditions.

We invite applications for a Doctoral Researcher Position (Ref.No. ILRS_08/2015)

Stepwise virulence regulation in Candida albicans
Contrary to bacteria, virulence in some fungal pathogens is closely linked to morphogenetic transitions, i.e. a change in morphology. This is true for endemic fungal pathogens like Histoplasma capsulatum but also for the most common cause of invasive fungal infection in Europe, Candida albicans . Formation of filamentous forms in this pathogenic yeast is essential for pathogenesis and linked to tissue invasion and immune escape. During the change in morphology, differential expression of genes is tightly regulated. In previous work we have identified a core filamentation response network. Among those genes, some have been shown to be directly involved in virulence of C. albicans , including ALS3 and ECE1. We have started to dissect expression regulation for these genes and identified a stepwise process of upregulation mediated by several transcriptional regulators. However, for an in depth understanding of fungal virulence, a detailed characterization of these cascades will be essential. Within this project, we want to identify exact mechanisms for regulated expression of the core filamentation response. To further dissect the regulatory pathways, we will use protein-protein and protein-DNA interaction assays as well as novel CRISPR-Cas9 based abilities to introduce point mutations in C. albicans . Additionally, we address the functional relevance of stepwise gene regulation in host-pathogen interaction studies with cell lines and/or primary human innate immune cells using state of the art life cell imaging. Our aim is to define relevant regulatory cascades and key regulators that may serve as potential targets for therapeutic intervention.
We expect:
  • a Master’s degree (or equivalent allowing you to pursue a PhD degree) in Natural or Life Sciences. Research at ILRS is centred around “Microbial and Biomolecular Interactions”. Candidates about to earn their degree are welcome to apply.
  • high motivation and interest to join one of the research areas of ILRS
  • creativity and interest in shaping your own thesis project
  • an integrative and cooperative personality with enthusiasm for actively participating in our lively community
  • very good communication skills in English
  • experience in molecular biology, infection biology or cell biology are advantageous
We offer:
  • a top-level research environment
  • efficient supervision by a team of advisors
  • a comprehensive mentoring program (cf. Program of Study)
  • courses in state-of-the-art technologies and soft skills
  • strong communication and interaction between the involved institutions
  • Jena – City of Science: innovative business activities, successful scientific centres and a vibrant cultural scene around the famous Friedrich Schiller University
The three-year Doctoral Researcher position is available starting from February 2016. Salary will be paid according to TV-L (salary agreement for public service employees). HKI is an equal opportunity employer.

Further information:
Prof. Dr. Oliver Kurzai, PI, oliver.kurzai@leibniz-hki.de
Dr. Christine Vogler, ILRS Coordinator, ilrs@leibniz-hki.de

The application process is handled exclusively online. Please acquaint yourself with the scientific projects offered on our website and thoroughly follow the instructions for the online application process:

Deadline for application: November 17, 2015.

Successful applicants will be invited to attend a recruitment meeting in Jena (envisaged date: Jan 13-15, 2016).

Contact detail

How to apply:
Online application at https://www.uni-jena.de/jsmc_online_application/
Send application to
Dr. Christine Vogler, ilrs@leibniz-hki.de

Job profile

Working hours
Contract duration
Type of job
PhD Project
Work experience
job experience is not required
Germany (Th├╝ringen)
Working place
07745 Jena
Area of expertise
Biology & Life Sciences, Biotechnology