Thinking of doing your PhD in the Life Sciences? The Science of Healthy Ageing Research Programme (SHARP) is offering talented, young scientists the chance to work on cutting edge research projects and join a community of exceptional, international scientists. SHARP is a newly established research initiative between the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB), Johannes Gutenberg-University (JGU) and JGU’s University Medical Centre (UMC) in Mainz. SHARP combines clinical and basic research to promote strategies towards healthy ageing, thereby further enforcing healthy ageing as a research focus in Mainz. As a SHARP PhD student you will be affiliated with both IMB’s International PhD Programme (IPP) and UMC’s Mainz Research School of Translational Biomedicine (TransMed) to ensure complementary training in both basic and translational research.
Activities and responsibilities:
In the fields of “Ageing & Disease”, the research group of Dr Claudia Keller Valsecchi, Dr Felicia Basilicata, Prof Susann Schweiger and Prof Benedikt Berninger jointly offer the following PhD project:
On average lifespan is about 7 years longer for women than men worldwide and overall women show less age-associated cognitive decline than men during aging. Many of these differences have been historically attributed to the changes in physiology that follows male development. However, male and female individuals differ in their chromosome complements, as males only contain a single X, whereas females have two
Aneuploidy and haploinsufficiency are two forms of gene-dosage alteration, where transcriptional and cellular changes ultimately result in a diseased state. Chromosome copy number alterations are for example observed during ageing, where older individuals display an increased rate of chromosome losses that most frequently affect the sex chromosomes. Cellular hallmarks of ageing include genomic instability, epigenome alterations, a breakdown in tissue homeostasis, stem cell dysfunction and increased susceptibility to diseases.
PhD project: Cellular dynamics upon sex chromosome elimination
Because chromosome losses arise spontaneously, current experimental analyses of this phenomenon are scarce and limited to a static “snapshot” of rare cells among a population of diploids. Therefore, the prevalence, physiological relevance and dynamic cellular response mechanisms associated with spontaneous chromosome loss and its association with neuronal function and degenerative disease remain largely unclear.
In this project, the PhD student will develop a novel cellular tool allowing the inducible loss of a specific chromosome. For this, the selected candidate will establish a proof of principle in mouse embryonic stem cells and use 2D and 3D cellular models / organoids. We are looking for a student that is excited about CRISPR engineering, cutting-edge genomics, 3D genome architecture, single-cell approaches and allele-specific analyses. During your PhD, you will dissect the cellular responses upon chromosome losses in stem cells and in terminally differentiated neuronal tissues. In collaboration with the University Medical Center (UMC) Mainz, the project will involve translational work, where cells and samples from healthy and diseased human individuals will be analyzed. Ultimately, the studies are aimed at generating complex murine study models.
We are looking for a student with a strong interest in mechanisms of gene regulation, epigenetics and developmental cell biology. Our ideal candidate would like to combine wet lab and computation approaches (pre-existing training is not necessary). Your passion to work at the bench is driven by an “engineering” mindset and the curiosity to unravel molecular mechanisms relevant to human physiology and disease. You will be mentored by and working in a collaborative team (Dr. Claudia Keller Valsecchi and Dr. M. Felicia Basilicata at the IMB, Prof. Susann Schweiger and Prof. Benedikt Berninger at the University Medical Center Mainz), which requires enthusiasm to move your project forward in a multidisciplinary environment. If you are a team player and show a high degree of motivation and excitement for science, you will be the right person to join our group.
If you are interested in this project, please select Claudia Keller-Valsecchi as your group preference in the IPP application platform.
What we offer:
Are you an ambitious, young scientist looking to push the boundaries of research while interacting with colleagues from multiple disciplines and cultures? Then joining SHARP is your opportunity to give your scientific career a flying start!
We seek enthusiastic applicants with a special interest in pursuing ageing research projects from bench-to-bedside.
All you need is:
For more details on the projects offered and how to apply via our online form, please visit https://www.imb.de/phd
The deadline for registration is 26 November 2021. Interviews will take place online 17-19 January 2022.
Starting date: 1 March 2022 – 1 September 2022
Tagged as: Life Sciences