University of Würzburg

PhD student (m/f/d) to investigate the role of Dicer and double-stranded RNA for tumourigenesis

Mildred Scheel Early Career Center (MSNZ) for Cancer Research

Würzburg, Germany

The Mildred Scheel Early Career Center (MSNZ) for Cancer Research at the University of Würzburg is funded by the German Cancer Aid and brings together life scientists and medical doctors to understand mechanisms of tumour formation and to develop new therapeutic strategies.

The research group ‘Non-coding RNA in Health and Disease’ of Kaspar Burger is seeking for a

PhD student (m/f/d)

job code NG1-1019, to investigate the role of Dicer and double-stranded RNA for tumourigenesis.

The RNA interference factor Dicer is a central component of the microRNA biogenesis pathway in the cytoplasm. In addition, Dicer processes a number of non-canonical, double-stranded RNA substrates to modulate gene expression in the nucleus. For example, nuclear Dicer regulates alternative cleavage and polyadenylation at a subset of protein-coding genes. In damaged nuclei, nuclear Dicer promotes the RNA-dependent recognition of DNA double-strand beaks. Interestingly, heterozygous mutations of the DICER1 gene lead to a haploinsufficiency phenotype, which is associated with genomic instability and increased formation of tumours.

We aim to understand how the accumulation of aberrant RNA species becomes pathogenic. The successful candidate will analyse the impact of non-processed double-stranded RNA on gene expression in context of the innate immune response by using state-of-the-art biochemical and cell biological assays.

Our offer
The newly established research group is located at the Biocenter of the University of Würzburg, a well-renowned, interdisciplinary research facility that offers a supportive and stimulating environment. For further information visit:

  • Full-time appointment, competitive salary (TV-L E13, 65%), fixed-term, extension possible
  • 3-year PhD program, hands-on supervision, intellectual support
  • Modern lab space and access to core facilities
  • Enrolment in the Graduate School of Life Sciences with broad training in methods and skills
  • Close collaborations with the Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Helmholtz Institute for RNA-based Infection Research, and the Virchow Center for Experimental Biomedicine
  • Würzburg is a thriving university town with many bars, local recreation areas and travel links

Apply if you have

  • M.Sc. or an equivalent qualification in Biology, Biochemistry, or a related field
  • Strong interest in RNA biology, innate immunity, and genome maintenance
  • Experience with tissue culture and standard molecular biology techniques
  • Experience in next-generation sequencing or CLIP experiments are advantageous
  • The working language is English, knowledge of the German language is not required

To apply, please submit your CV with references and a 1-page letter of motivation as single
.pdf file via email. Prior publications or international experience are welcome, but no prerequisite.

The deadline for the application is 2019-11-20. Interviews will be held as soon as possible thereafter.

The University of Würzburg is an equal opportunities employer. We encourage women to apply. Applications of people with special needs are particularly welcome.

Please contact:
Dr. Martin Czolbe, MSNZ
Josef-Schneider-Str. 2, 97080 Würzburg, Germany
Phone: +49 931 201-56439

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PhD student (m/f/d) to investigate the role of Dicer and double-stranded RNA for tumourigenesis