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PhD position (Genome Stability & DNA Repair): Dissecting Mechanisms of Tumorigenic Chromosome Translocations

In the field of “Dissecting Mechanisms of Tumorigenic Chromosome Translocations”, the research group of Dr Vassilis Roukos offers the following PhD project:

Elucidating Mechanisms of Oncogenic Therapy-Related Translocations


A major problem in chemotherapy today is the occurrence of second primary cancers which arise as response to treatment for a primary tumor. Therapy-induced acute myeloid leukemias (t-AML) develop after treatment of primary cancers with topoisomerase-inhibitors and are often characterized by only one chromosome abnormality involving a translocation of the mixed lineage leukemia locus (MLL). Recurrent MLL translocation hot spots fuse with several different genes and patients carrying these translocations develop acute myeloid leukemia (AML) with very short latency and poor prognosis.
Due to difficulties in modeling the formation of these translocations in vivo very little is known about the molecular mechanisms governing the formation of these cancerous translocations. We have recently established in the lab an imaging-based approach to probe and quantify the formation of these rare events in response to treatment with topoisomerase inhibitors. We are currently using this methodology in combination with high-throughput sequencing techniques to shed light to the molecular pathways that contribute to the formation of these translocations in vivo. We would like to understand (1) what determines the localization of the recurrent breakpoints found in patients with t-AML, (2) which is the molecular basis of the different localization compared to de novo, non-therapy related MLL translocations, (3) which is the role of the various topoisomerase isoforms as well as the potential role of transcription & replication in MLL susceptibility to breakage and translocation formation and (4) which DNA repair pathways are involved in the formation of these translocations. Understanding the molecular mechanisms that facilitate the formation of these specific translocations has a great potential for identification of drugs that minimize their occurrence.
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 fully funded PhD position
Required qualifications
  • Master or Diploma
  • Motivation to solve complex biological problems
  • Excellent communication skills
Further requirement
  • 2 letters of reference
Duration of stipend/salary: 3 years, with the possibility of extension
Starting date: 1 August 2017 or later
Deadline for registration (exclusively online via web form): 24 March 2017

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While applying for the job please refer to jobvector and use the following reference number: JV-C12-VR

About Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH

Our International PhD Programme on the “Gene Regulation, Epigenetics and DNA Damage Response” gives talented and enthusiastic students the opportunity to undertake PhD research at the cutting edge of modern biology. Our groups cover a broad range of expertise and include leading biochemists, geneticists, cell and developmental biologists who study the molecular mechanisms of...

More about Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH

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