ESR4: Basic mechanisms and applications of lectin-triggered membrane fusion

Location: University of Freiburg, DE

Supervisor Prof Winfried Römer

As an Early Stage Researcher in Freiburg, you will elucidate the mechanism(s) of lectin-triggered membrane fusion and killing of cancer cells by fusion of liposomes with target cells.

All cells are covered with a coating of complex carbohydrates (the glycocalyx) and many viruses, bacteria and protein toxins produced by bacteria exploit this sugar coating as a means of binding to and entering their target cells. The glycocalyx on many living cells extends >100 nm from the cell membrane, and its outer portion is dominated by proteoglycans and mucins which have extended and highly glycosylated structures. Interactions of proteins with these glycosylated structures is important for cellular interactions and also may influence the ability of bacterial toxins to reach their primary receptors on the cell membrane.

The aim of this project is to incorporate glycoconjugates and lectins into the membrane of artificial cells (protocells) and employ them for diverse membrane fusion studies, i.e. for fusion of two protocells, but also of a protocell with a cancer cell.  Through this interdisciplinary project you will develop skills in cell biology, immunology, membrane biology, glycobiology, biochemistry, and advanced microscopy techniques. Appropriate training will be provided in all areas that are new to the researcher.

Applicants should meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Have a Diploma and/or a Master Degree in Biology, Biophysics and Biochemistry.
  • Experience in fluorescence microscopy and synthetic membrane systems are highly appreciated.
  • Have less than 4 years research experience at the signature of the contract (measured from the time the Master’s degree has been obtained).
  • Not have a PhD already.
  • Not have resided or carried out main activity in Germany for more than 12 months in the last 3 years immediately prior to the reference recruitment date.
  • Excellent knowledge of the English language (spoken and written / proficiency level)

The ESR will be contractually employed by Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg and will receive a Monthly Living Allowance plus a Mobility Allowance compliant with the applicable EC Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions-ITN general conditions.

 Application procedure:

Candidates should submit a CV, cover letter and the names and contact details of at least least 2 references and transcripts of your university record by e-mail to winfried.roemer@bioss.uni-freiburg.de indicating reference ESR4 in the subject.

The deadline for application is 07/01/2019.

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