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Positions for Doctoral Dissertations in the field of Medicine (Internal Medicine, Neurology), Biochemistry, Physiology, Biology, Chemistry and Physical Chemistry

 Universitätsklinikum Düsseldorf  Düsseldorf
The Collaborative Research Center SFB 974 “Communication and System Relevance in Liver Injury and Regeneration” (Spokesman: Prof. Dr. D. Häussinger) announces open positions for Doctoral Dissertations in the field of Medicine (Internal Medicine, Neurology), Biochemistry, Physiology, Biology, Chemistry and Physical Chemistry.
4 MD Scholarships and 2 PhD Scholarships
in the Integrated Research Training Group of the Collaborative Research Center SFB 974
The SFB 974 is a research initative at the Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf. The aim of our Research Center is to gain insights into mechanisms, communication- and decision-processes that govern liver regeneration and injury at a basic research level and to understand the retroactive effects on other organ systems in terms of systems relevance and the long-term objective of the systems analysis of organ network.
We offer
  • 4 MD scholarships for medical students (6 month scholarship in order to perform an experimental doctoral dissertation).
  • 2 PhD scholarships for international students of natural sciences (Master of Science degree) who want to start their scientific career within this program (up to 12 months).
  • All students performing their doctoral thesis within the SFB 974 will participate in the Integrated Research Training Group which offers an additional and international training in key methods and theory of Molecular Medicine in the field of “Experimental Hepatology”. For detailed information including major topics of the collaborative research center, participating institutions and their scientific projects, please visit our website
Selected projects
  • A02: Stellate cells and liver regeneration
Recently, our research group identified hepatic stellate cells as mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) of the liver. MSC play an important role in regenerative processes of diverse organs as observed in numerous studies, but the functions of stellate cells and extrahepatic MSC in liver regeneration are largely unknown. It is also unclear, why stellate cells/MSC lose their positive effects in chronic diseases and start contributing to fibrogenesis. In addition to these topics, the project aims to unravel molecular mechanisms controlling developmental fate decisions of stellate cells/MSC.
  • A16: Role of platelets in liver injury and regeneration
In a functional analysis of platelet activation and thrombus formation after partial hepatectomy, the influence of liver injury on hemostasis should be analyzed. In a second aspect we will follow the objective to disclose the impact of platelets in inflammatory processes after liver injury. The third aspect includes processes of liver regeneration, especially the survival of hepatocytes and the recruitment and differentiation of stem cells from the bone marrow, which are significantly affected by platelets.
  • B04: Oxidative stress, osmoregulation and microglia activation in hepatic encephalopathy
Hepatic encephalopathy is a severe neuropsychiatric syndrome frequently accompanying acute or chronic liver failure. Ammonia-induced glutamine synthesis in astrocytes plays an important role in the pathogenesis of the disease but the underlying mechanisms are still incompletely understood. The current project aims to analyze effects of ammonia on signal transduction pathways regulating the activity of kidney-type glutaminase in rat astrocytes in vitro.
  • B05: Molecular analysis of glutamatergic neurotransmission in hepatic encephalopathy
In hepatic encephalopathy (HE), chronic exposure of the brain to ammonia leads to deficits in glutamatergic synaptic plasticity. Using a neuroglial co-culture model of HE we have recently demonstrated that the expression of the excitatory ionotropic AMPA subtype glutamate receptors (AMPARs) were significantly reduced and that synaptic plasticity was severely constrained with basal glutamatergic neurotransmission, however, being fully maintained (Schroeter et al., 2015, Mol Cell Neurosci). We hypothesize that neurons retain basal transmission at the expense of the extrasynaptic reserve pool of AMPARs, which we plan to test here by means of cutting-edge super-resolution imaging techniques including stimulated-emission-depletion (STED) microscopy.
  • B09: Mitochondrial genome maintenance in a cellular model of hepatic encephalopathy
The pathogenesis of hepatic encephalopathy is linked to hyperammonia-induced mitochondrial dysfunction in astrocytes. In this subproject we aim to focus on the question what effect hyperammonia and modulation of mitochondrial quality control has on the amount, quality, and organization of mitochondrial DNA in astrocytes.
  • B10: Modulation of hepatic and systemic manifestations of chronic liver disease by the signaling molecule Reelin
The large secreted glycoprotein Reelin fulfills an essential role during neurodevelopment, where it regulates the migration and differentiation of postmitotic neurons. Reelin is also present in the plasma and various non-neuronal tissues, where its physiogical functions are largely unknown. In the liver, Reelin is secreted by hepatic stellate cells. We have found that hepatic Reelin expression  is reciprocally regulated in animal models of liver regeneration versus models of chronic liver damage. In our project, we investigate the role of hepatic Reelin and the signaling pathways activated by Reelin during liver damage and regeneration using cell culture and animal models of Reelin deficiency. Moreover, we found evidence that the regulation of neurotransmission at glutamatergic synapses by Reelin in the adult brain modulates the course of hepatic encephalopathy, a neurological complication of chronic liver disease.
  • We are looking for motivated applicants with an excellent academic background and an interest in liver research.
  • Applicants for 12 month scholarships should hold an excellent M. Sc. degree or an equivalent degree in biology, biochemistry, biophysics or related areas.
  • Applicants for 6 month MD scholarships should hold their “Physikum" (preliminary medical examination). We encourage a 6 month sabbatical for the experimental part of the MD thesis.

If you are interested in one of our Research Groups, please apply online:
Applications from women are highly encouraged. Women with comparable qualifications will receive particular consideration, unless another applicant displays compelling reasons to prefer this person. Applications from suitably qualified severely disabled persons or disabled persons regarded as being of equal status according to Book IX of the German Social Legal Code (SGB – Soziales Gesetzbuch) are encouraged. Disabled persons with equal qualifications will be given priority.
If you have any questions regarding the application process, please contact our coordinator Dr. Radmila Feldmann via phone (0211 81 17443) or E-Mail (
How to apply:
When applying, please use our online application form.
Send application to
For further information please contact:
Dr. Radmila Feldmann
phone: 0211 81 17443
While applying for the job please refer to jobvector and use the following reference number: #iGK974

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