German Cancer Research Center in the Helmholtz Association (DKFZ)

Postdoc Position

German Research Center (DKFZ)

Heidelberg, Germany

The German Cancer Research Center is the largest biomedical research institution in Germany. With approximately 3,000 employees, we operate an extensive scientific program in the field of cancer research.

The Division of Pediatric Neurooncology is seeking to fill a

Postdoc Position
(Ref-No. 2019-0167)

Brain tumors represent an extremely heterogeneous group of more than 100 different molecularly distinct diseases, many of which are still almost uniformly lethal despite five decades of clinical trials. In contrast to hematologic malignancies and carcinomas, the cell-of-origin for the vast majority of these entities is unknown. This knowledge gap currently precludes a comprehensive understanding of tumor biology and also limits translational exploitation (e. g. utilizing lineage targets for novel therapies and circulating brain tumor cells for liquid biopsies).

The BRAIN-MATCH project represents an ambitious program to address this challenge and unmet medical need by taking an approach that (i) extensively utilizes existing molecular profiles of more than 30,000 brain tumor samples covering more than 100 different entities, publicly available single-cell sequencing data of normal brain regions, and bulk normal tissue data at different times of development across different species; (ii) generates unprecedented maps of normal human CNS development by using state-of-the-art novel technologies; (iii) matches these molecular portraits of normal cell types with tumor datasets in order to identify specific cell-of-origin populations for individual tumor entities; and (iv) validates the most promising cell-of-origin populations and tumor-specific lineage and/or surface markers in vivo.

The expected outputs of BRAIN-MATCH are four-fold: (i) delivery of an unprecedented atlas of human normal CNS development, which will also be of great relevance for diverse fields other than cancer; (ii) functional validation of at least three lineage targets; (iii) isolation and molecular characterization of circulating brain tumor cells from patients´ blood for at least five tumor entities; and (iv) generation of at least three novel mouse models of brain tumor entities for which currently no faithful models exist.

Capper D*, Jones DTW*, Sill M*, Hovestadt V* et al.,…and von Deimling A*, Pfister SM* (2018). DNA methylation-based classification of human central nervous system tumors. Nature, 555(7697):469-474
Gröbner S*, Worst B* et al., …and Chavez L*, Zapatka M*, Pfister SM* (2018). The landscape of genomic alterations and drug targets across childhood cancers. Nature 555(7696):321-327
Northcott PA et al, …and Pfister SM*, Taylor MD*, Lichter P* (2017). The whole-genome landscape of medulloblastoma subtypes. Nature 19;547(7663):311-317.
Lin CY*, Erkek S* et al., …and Pfister SM*, Bradner JE*, Northcott PA* (2016). Active medulloblastoma enhancers reveal subgroup-specific cellular origins. Nature 530(7588):57-62
Pajtler KW*, Witt H*, Sill M* et al., …and Kool M*, Pfister SM* (2015). Molecular Classification of Ependymal Tumors across All CNS Compart ments, Histopathological Grades, and Age Groups. Cancer Cell 27(5):728-43

For more info:

Your profile:
For this project we are looking for a postdoc who will be responsible for (a) the generation of an atlas of human normal CNS development and its analysis together with an experienced data scientist and other members of the team, (b) the mapping of normal brain development data onto our rich set of brain tumor data and © the establishment of a single nucleus DNA methylation analysis protocol.

Applicants should be highly motivated, hard-working team players who enjoy working in an international team and are passionate about making a difference through cancer research. They should hold a university as well as a doctoral degree in biology or a related field, have expertise in analysis and integration of next-generation sequencing and other multi-omics data, ideally including single-cell or single nucleus analysis, have a strong interest in neurodevelopment and pediatric neurooncology, are highly self-motivated, and able to pursue research projects independently. Excellent communication and organization skills and proficiency in English are mandatory.

The position is limited to 2 years.

The position can in principle be part-time.

For further information please contact
Dr. Iris Oezen, phone 06221 42-4612.

The German Cancer Research Center is committed to increase the percentage of female scientists and encourages female applicants to apply. Among candidates of equal aptitude and qualifications, a person with disabilities will be given preference.

To apply for a position please use our online application portal (

We ask for your understanding that we cannot return application documents that are sent to us by post (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, Personalabteilung, Im Neuenheimer Feld 280, 69120 Heidelberg) and that we do not accept applications submitted via email. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Please apply via recruiter’s website.