PhD Position: Activation of T helper lymphocytes during chronic inflammation and autoimmunity

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  • Published date: August 25, 2018
    • Berlin, Berlin, Germany

We are looking for a highly motivated, independent and committed student with a Master degree in biology, immunology, biotechnology, or a related discipline. Prior experience in mouse handling, T cell immunology, cell culture, flow cytometry would be highly appreciated. This position requires good communication, interpersonal skills and fluent English.

Applications should include a cover letter with a statement of research interests and qualifications for the position, complete CV and the names of two academic references. Please send the application as a single PDF file to Dr. Marina Babic Cac, DRFZ Berlin ( Position is available from October 1st, 2018.

Project decription:
Immune response is a result of a very delicate balance between activating and inhibitory signals provided by the molecules expressed on the surface of immune cells. While too little inflammation results in the increased susceptibility to pathogens and possible outgrowth of malignant cells, the consequence of too much inflammation is autoimmunity and immune pathology.
In the recent decade, cancer therapy was revolutionized by the development of drugs targeting immune checkpoints, receptors such as CTLA-4 and PD-1, thus interrupting the inhibitory signal and unleashing the T cell mediated anti-tumor response (2013 Breakthrough of the Year, Science).
Our group is interested in innate receptors that might serve as checkpoints of inflammation, both in innate and adaptive immune lymphocytes, during chronic inflammatory diseases and autoimmunity. Our previous work highlighted the role of an activating receptor NKp44 in human type3 innate lymphoid cells (ILC3; Glatzer et al, Immunity, 2013), NKG2C in human adaptive NK cells (Hammer et al, Nature Immunol, 2018) and we are currently studying the role of a stress sensor NKG2D (Jonjic S, Babic M et al., Curr Opin Immunol, 2006; Babic M and Romagnani C., Front Immunol, 2018) in CD4+ T cell mediated immune responses, using mouse models of autoimmune diseases (Babic et al, manuscript in preparation).
The ideal candidate will perform and analyze experiments to address molecular mechanisms of NKG2D mediated modulation of T helper cell effector functions in vitro, using cell culture and state of the art transcriptomic approach, and in vivo by using different mouse models of autoimmune diseases.

You can expect:
• To have access to state-of-the-art core facilities and to perform research in a renowned and multidisciplinary institute that is embedded in Berlin´s academic environment.
• To profit from the structured education program of the DRFZ, the graduate school “Leibniz Graduate School on chronic inflammation” and the “Leibniz postdoctoral college on chronic inflammatory diseases”.
• To obtain expert knowledge of immunology by attending clubs and seminars offered by the DRFZ, as well as by attending national/international conferences/courses.

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