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PhD Position (m/f)

PhD Position (m/f)

Project leaders:

Project supervisor: Alessia Ruggieri (Dept of Infectious Diseases, Molecular Virology, University of Heidelberg)

Project co-supervisor: Oliver Fackler (Dept of Infectious Diseases, Integrative Virology, University of Heidelberg)

Project description:

The Role of TREX1 for Innate Sensing of Human Endogenous Retroviruses

The human genome contains approximately 8% of sequences that originate from ancestral retrovirus infection and integration in the germ line. A significant fraction of human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) is still transcriptionally active and has maintained coding capacities, and therefore might have potential implications for host physiology. HERVs are suspected to contribute to the etiology of malignancies, autoimmune and neurologic diseases and cancer, however evidence for direct pathological roles is missing. In this project, we will address the potential of retroviral reverse transcription (RT) products of endogenous retroviruses and retroelements to trigger host pro-inflammatory responses and thereby constitute an important regulator of autoimmune inflammation. TREX1 is a cytoplasmic exonuclease that metabolizes cellular as well as HIV RT products thereby reducing their recognition by the innate immune system. The overall goal of this project is to assess whether TREX1 controls the abundance of HERV RT products in human cells, and to dissect mechanism and functional consequences of this process. Regulation of intracellular signaling factors induced by RT products will be investigated in parallel in the context of exogenous HIV infection.

Cooperation partners:
The successful applicant will have the opportunity to work in both Ruggieri and Fackler labs, and to collaborate actively with Carsten Schultz´s lab (EMBL, Heidelberg). The project is embedded within the SPP1923 “Innate Sensing and Restriction of Retroviruses“, funded by the DFG.

Personal qualifications

Applicants should hold a Master degree in Biomedical or Molecular Sciences, Biochemistry, or Biology. We are looking for a highly motivated, interactive and team-oriented candidate with a strong background in molecular biology and virology. Expertise in retrovirology and innate immunity is advantageous.

Contact & Application

Applicants should submit the following documents (only complete applications will be considered):
  • Detailed curriculum vitae
  • Motivation letter
  • Description of research experience including applied methodologies
  • List of two references with complete contact details (including Master thesis supervisor)
Applications should be sent per e-mail to:  

Application deadline: 13.11.2016

Publishing date: 10.10.2016

We stand for equal opportunities for women and men. Severely handicapped with the same eligibility will be given priority.

How to apply:
Applications should be sent per e-mail to:
Application deadline: 13.11.2016
Send application to
Alessia Ruggieri
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About Universitätsklinikum Heidelberg

Das Universitätsklinikum Heidelberg ist eines der bedeutendsten medizinischen Zentren in Deutschland und steht für die Entwicklung innovativer Diagnostik und Therapien sowie ihre rasche Umsetzung für den Patienten. Mit rund 10.000 Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeitern in mehr als 50 klinischen Fachabteilungen mit ca. 1.900 Betten werden jährlich rund 66.000 Patienten voll-...

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