PhD position in leukemia research

The Clinic of Pediatric Oncology, Hematology, and Clinical Immunology (director: Prof. A. Borkhardt) is a leading center for leukemia research in childhood and offers an innovative, well equipped, and scientifically stimulating surrounding.

The Laboratory of in the Clinic of Pediatric Oncology, Hematology, and Clinical Immunology seeks to recruit a highly motivated PhD student. The position is immediately available for a period of three years, granted by the DFG.

Activities and responsibilities

Our research focuses on the pathogenesis of childhood B cell precursor leukemia. In 5% of all newborns a covert pre-leukemic clone carrying the oncogenic ETV6/RUNX gene fusion can be identified (GIPFEL screening, Schäfer et al., Blood 2018), but only 1% of those children finally develop leukemia by postnatal acquisition of secondary genetic hits. Epidemiological data supports the hypothesis that this second step in the pathogenesis of leukemia may be triggered by infection. Indeed, recent studies of our department provided mechanistic proof for this hypotheses: In the preclinical Sca1 ETV6-RUNX1 transgenic mouse model mice developed leukemia only after exposure to common pathogens (Rodriguez-Hernandez et al., Cancer Research 2017).

The aim of the PhD project is to analyze the underlying mechanisms leading to the progression of a pre-leukemic clone towards a full leukemic cell. Preliminary data suggest an underlying aberrant immune response after exposure to common pathogens. The immune profile in primary patients’ cells in association with a certain genetic background shall be studied. Validation of the immunological phenotype on the leukemogensis will be performed in vivo using the preclinical transgenic mouse model as well as cell culture of leukemic cell lines.

The candidate will be part of a highly motivated research group that aims to identify new options for prevention and treatment of leukemia. Basic cellular biology methods (cell culture, PCR, ELISA, flow cytometry, NGS etc.) as well as state-of-the-art techniques, such as CRISPR/Cas iPS cell technology will be employed to characterize and study the functional impact of the immune system on leukemogenesis. Single cell sequencing of patient samples will be used to gain insights into gene expression of preleukemic and leukemic states with unprecedented resolution.

Qualification profile

Candidates must hold a diploma/master degree in biology, biochemistry or a closely related field and should have a solid background in molecular and cellular biology, preferably immunology. Additional experience in bioinformatics or stem cell research is a plus. We offer a modern and challenging scientific environment with internationally competitive projects.

We offer

The contract will be concluded with the Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf. Salaries will be based on TV-L guidelines (65% TV-L E13). Handicapped applicants with equal qualifications will be given preferential treatment. The Heinrich-Heine-University explicitly encourages women to apply. Women with equal qualifications, capabilities and professional performance will be engaged preferentially, unless reasons based on the person of the competing applicant prevail.

Candidates should send their written application including the usual application documents indicating the reference number 001 by E-mail to: katharina.goessling@med.uni-duesseldorf.de

Send application to

Dr. med. Katharina Gößling, PhD
Klinik für Kinder-Onkologie, -Hämatologie und Klinische Immunologie
Moorenstraße 5
40225 Düsseldorf
katharina.goessling@med.uni-duesseldorf.de

While applying for the job please refer to jobvector and use the following reference number: 001

About Universitätsklinikum Düsseldorf AöR

The Clinic of Pediatric Oncology, Hematology, and Clinical Immunology (director: Prof. A. Borkhardt) is a leading center for leukemia research and offers an innovative, well equipped, and scientifically stimulating surrounding.  
More about Universitätsklinikum Düsseldorf AöR