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Below you will find our current vacancies. We are looking forward to your application!

Please send your application including cover letter, CV and references to: Bewerbung@IUF-Duesseldorf.de or to the email address listed in the job posting. Unsolicited applications are also welcome.

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Cell biologist (f/m/d) (postdoc position)

As part of a joint DFG-funded project, the Genome Engineering and Model Development lab (GEMD) headed by Dr. Andrea Rossi and the research group AHR Signaling & Environmentally-induced Skin Damage led by PD Dr. Thomas Haarmann-Stemmann are offering a position for a Cell Biologist (f/m/d) (Postdoc position).

The project aims to understand the underlying mechanisms that control genetic compensation and modifier gene expression before and after exposure to environmental factors, including particulate matter, chemicals and non-ionizing radiation. The candidate will work on improving various aspects of existing techniques as well as developing novel models for the investigation of genetic compensation:

  1. Generation and characterization of human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC) knockout and knock-in mutants using genome engineering techniques (especially prime editing);
  2. Development and validation of 3D culture systems including organoids from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs);
  3. Exposure of cells and organoids to pollutants;
  4. qPCR, short- and long- reads sequencing to analyze mRNA degradation, gene expression and modifier gene expression.

Qualifications

We seek a highly motivated candidate (f/m/d) with a solid background in genetics and molecular biology. Profound expertise cell culture techniques and establishment and/or handling of organoid or ex-vivo models is critical. The candidate is required to have strong skills in English and proven abilities to publish in internationally renowned journals with at least one first author publication. Motivation to work independently and be responsible for the daily management of his/her research project in coordination with other members of the group is expected. The candidate will also be actively involved in the training and co-supervision of other group members and students.

Responsibilities

  • The individual should apply their significant expertise in cell biology, cell culture and organoids, molecular biology based techniques, along with their understanding such as plasmid cloning, gene editing, AAV vector production, electroporation, qPCR, RT-PCR, nucleic acid extraction and cloning, gel electrophoresis, macromolecule blotting and probing and mouse handling is highly desirable.
  • Participate in the development and improvement of assays. Independently analyze data and provide conclusions. Critically evaluate own and others results and offer insights based on process and product understanding to help solve problems.
  • Contribute to patents, regulatory documents or manuscripts as required.
  • Read scientific and technical literature in order to bring new and improved procedures to the laboratory, and to broaden understanding of disciplines outside area of training. Utilizes all appropriate experimental design methods needed for work in area of specialization. Conduct literature searches and apply knowledge to the approaches taken.
  • Participate in scientific discussion with colleagues through informal and formal scientific seminars and meetings.

Education and experience

  • Ph.D. in Molecular Biology, Biology, Physiology, Biochemistry, or a related discipline.
  • Experience with cell culture, iPSC cells, ex-vivo models, organoids is mandatory.
  • In depth understanding of molecular mechanisms such as mRNA degradation and transcription.
  • Demonstrated competency in immunohistochemistry, western blotting and DNA cloning.
  • Experience with sequence analysis using bioinformatics and genomics.
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills are required (English).

Desired key competences

  • Self-motivated, highly organized, meticulous hands-on habits, keen to accuracy, and attention to detail.
  • Positive can-do attitude, responsible and responsive, and maintain a high degree of ethical standard and trustworthiness.
  • Strong quantitative and analytical skills, able to reach rational conclusions through complex processing of information.
  • Energized by accomplishments and excellence in the workplace. Competent of high performance in independent work and coordinated efforts in implementing group projects.
  • Maintain timely documentation of laboratory work and keep well organized records.
  • Evaluate results, analyze and interpret data to prepare projects updates, meeting presentations and research reports for documentation and publication.

We offer

Based at the heart of North Rhine-Westphalia in Dusseldorf, within close vicinity to the Netherlands and Belgium, our institute hosts a vibrant community of international researchers with access to state-of-the-art technology (Illumina sequencers, Oxford Nanopore, 10x Genomics). The position is limited for 3 years. The weekly working time totals 39 hours and 50 minutes. Remuneration is given in accordance with the provisions of the collective agreement for the employees of the states (TV-L).

Please address your application (incl. letter of motivation, CV, references, qualification certificates), preferably electronically, to Bewerbung@IUF-duesseldorf.de

Dr. Andrea Rossi
IUF – Leibniz-Institut für umweltmedizinische Forschung
c/o Personalstelle
Auf’m Hennekamp 50
40225 Düsseldorf

Application documents submitted by post are not returned. Documents for applicants not considered are destroyed appropriately once the procedure is complete.

A student (f/m/d) for a Master Thesis

The working group “Alternative method development for environmental toxicity testing” led by Prof. Ellen Fritsche is looking for a student (f/m/d) for a Master Thesis with the title:

Development of animal-free in vitro test methods to identify chemicals that disturb human brain development by interfering in radial glia- and astrocyte-function.

The project:

Environmental chemicals that interfere in human brain development cause developmental neurotoxicity (DNT) leading to developmental disorders such as autism or ADHD. These chemicals are currently identified in animal studies that are time- and cost-intensive and raise severe ethical concerns. Therefore, alternative test methods have been developed that recapitulate key processes of human brain development in vitro. This project aims to close gaps within the available DNT in vitro test method portfolio by establishing novel test methods recapitulating the development of two crucial cell types within the human brain, radial glia (RG) and astrocytes, to improve the predictivity of in vitro DNT testing. The new RG and astrocyte test methods will be based on a multicellular model using human neural progenitor cells (hNPCs) that has been intensively characterized in the Fritsche working group and applied in test methods studying chemical effects on NPC proliferation and differentiation into neurons and oligodendrocytes. Within this project culture conditions have been modified to enrich either proliferative migrating RG or maturing astrocytes, allowing the establishment of new RG- and astrocyte-specific test methods. As part of the test method set up, DNT-relevant test method endpoints have to be selected and both positive and negative controls have to be established. The new test methods modelling key neurodevelopmental functions of RG and astrocytes will then be challenged with a set of environmental chemicals consisting of chemicals evidently causing DNT in humans (positives) and chemicals that are harmless for the developing brain (negatives). You will work with an advanced multicellular cell model and learn different cell culture techniques when handling the 3D neurospheres. Moreover, the project includes different biochemical assays, immunocytochemical stainings, high content image analyses and gene expression analyses. Finally, your work will contribute to the development of novel animal-free test methods and the improvement of in vitro DNT testing.

Your profile:

  • Our working group is looking for a motivated student with a high level of commitment, fun at work, motivation, communication skills and team spirit.
  • You have a bachelor degree in life science (biology, (bio)medical sciences, pharmaceutical sciences, bioengineering sciences, toxicology or equivalent).
  • You have a good knowledge of the English language both written and oral.
  • Experience with adherent and spheroid cell culture is desirable.
  • Experience in the cultivation of primary cells and stem cells is advantageous.

We offer:

Based at the heart of North Rhine-Westphalia in Düsseldorf, within close vicinity to the Netherlands and Belgium, our institute hosts a vibrant community of international researchers. Our group focuses on the development and application of new approach methods (NAMs) by using state-of-the-art technology for medium to high throughput (liquid handling system, high content imaging, multi electrode arrays). Results from NAMs are used as starting points for Adverse Outcome Pathway (AOP) development. Hence, the candidate will get the chance to work with innovative 21st century toxicological methods in the field of developmental neurotoxicity (DNT).

Start:

As early as possible.

Please address your application (short letter of motivation, CV, qualification certificates), preferably electronically to Bewerbung@IUF-Duesseldorf.de:

Prof. Ellen Fritsche
IUF – Leibniz-Institut für umweltmedizinische Forschung
c/o Personalstelle
Auf’m Hennekamp 50
40225 Düsseldorf

Application documents submitted by post are not returned. Documents for applicants not considered are destroyed appropriately once the procedure is complete.

A student (f/m/d) for a Master Thesis with the title:

The working group “Alternative method development for environmental toxicity testing” led by Prof. Ellen Fritsche is looking for a student (f/m/d) for a Master Thesis with the title:

Development of a new approach methodology (NAM) for cognitive function defects for regulatory application

The project:

Human brain development is a complex series of neurodevelopmental processes sensitive to harmful chemicals. In this project, you will be part of the current paradigm change in human toxicology by developing new approach methodologies for human risk assessment of chemicals. The created new approach methodology will contain a battery of animal-free in vitro but also in silico tests. The NAM will be able to predict the effects of chemicals on the developing brain, especially those leading to decreased cognition as manifested in intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorder, or learning disabilities. Your work will consist of both wet lab and computational work. First, you will optimize and use a novel in vitro assay measuring the electrical activity of neural networks. Second, you will characterize the used cell model to enable the quantitative in vitro to in vivo extrapolation that is necessary for the regulatory acceptance of the assay. Third, you will collect data from scientific publications to build a physiological map of the developing brain and develop adverse outcome pathways (AOPs). AOPs delineate the underlying mechanisms of how chemicals interact with a molecular target in the brain during its development and lead to the final outcome of decreased cognition in children. No computational skills are required for this master project because it will be carried out in the framework of the highly internationally cooperative European project called ONTOX which gathers experts from different domains.

Additional information about the project:

Your profile:

  • Our working group is looking for a motivated student with a high level of commitment, fun at work, motivation, communication skills, and team spirit.
  • You are enthusiastic, curious, and wish to move science forward.
  • You have a bachelor degree in life/environmental sciences (biology, (bio)medical sciences, pharmaceutical sciences, bioengineering sciences, (eco)toxicology, environmental health, or equivalent).
  • You have good written and oral knowledge of the English language.
  • Experience with adherent cell culture is desirable.

We offer:

  • Educational courses about in vitro, in silico, and regulatory topics organized by the consortium.
  • Master thesis project focused on the current needs of the European risk assessment.
  • Implementation of your work into tools for regulatory application.
  • Being part of a big international consortium to build your professional network.
  • Help the world in the transition to animal-free methods.
  • Pleasant working atmosphere and friendly team.

Start:

As early as possible.

Please address your application (short letter of motivation, CV, qualification certificates), preferably electronically to Bewerbung@IUF-Duesseldorf.de:

Prof. Ellen Fritsche & Dr. Eliska Kuchovska
IUF – Leibniz-Institut für umweltmedizinische Forschung
c/o Personalstelle
Auf’m Hennekamp 50
40225 Düsseldorf

Application documents submitted by post are not returned. Documents for applicants not considered are destroyed appropriately once the procedure is complete.

Student (f/m/d) for a Master Thesis (DNT)

The working group of “Alternative method development for environmental toxicity testing” led by Prof. Ellen Fritsche is looking for a student (f/m/d) for a Master Thesis with the title:

Refinement of in vitro assays for the identification of chemicals causing endocrine disruption (ED)-induced developmental neurotoxicity (DNT)

The project: Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) have been intensively studied regarding their harmful effects on human health. More and more studies report that early developmental exposure to EDCs causes developmental neurotoxicity (DNT). However, systematic testing for DNT is not included in the state‑of‑the‑art risk evaluation of potential EDCs. Therefore, an adjustment of the EDC risk assessment adding testing strategies for DNT is urgently required.

This project focuses on the screening of known and unknown EDCs for their potential to cause endocrine disruption (ED)-induced DNT. The applied test systems are based on our established DNT in vitro testing battery modelling neurodevelopmental endpoints including migration, proliferation, and targeted differentiation in human- and rodent-derived neural progenitor cells (NPCs) and human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) grown as neurospheres.

In this master project, previously established test systems for hormone-dependent DNT will be refined, validated and screened with a defined library of EDCs. The validation of the ED-DNT test systems will contribute to their readiness for regulatory acceptance. Furthermore, our portfolio of new approach methodologies detecting ED-induced DNT will be expanded by developing new methods to identify putative EDCs. Moreover, additional focus will be put on elucidating interactions of different hormonal pathways as well as modes of action affecting key neurodevelopmental processes.

Additional information on the project: https://endpoints.eu/

Your profile:

  • You are a motivated student
  • You have fun at work, good communication skills, and team spirit.
  • You are enthusiastic, curious, and wish to move science forward.
  • You have a bachelor degree in life/environmental sciences (biology, (bio)medical sciences, pharmaceutical sciences, bioengineering sciences, (eco)toxicology, environmental health, or equivalent). Experience in endocrinology and neuroscience is a plus.
  • You have good written and oral knowledge of the English language.
  • Experience with cell culture is desirable.

We offer:

  • Master thesis project focused on the current needs of the European risk assessment.
  • Implementation of your work into tools for regulatory application.
  • Being part of a big international consortium to build your professional network.
  • Help the world in the transition to animal-free methods.
  • Pleasant working atmosphere and friendly team.

Start: March/April 2023

Please address your application (short letter of motivation, CV, qualification certificates) with the reference „DNT“ in the subject line as one summarized document in PDF format by e-mail to bewerbung@iuf-duesseldorf.de:

Prof. Ellen Fritsche and Dr. Katharina Koch
IUF – Leibniz-Institut für umweltmedizinische Forschung
c/o Personalstelle
Auf’m Hennekamp 50
40225 Düsseldorf

Application documents submitted by post are not returned. Documents for applicants not considered are destroyed appropriately once the procedure is complete.

Student (f/m/d) for a Master Thesis (RTG 2578)

The working group of “Alternative method development for environmental toxicity testing” led by Prof. Ellen Fritsche is looking for a student (f/m/d) for a Master Thesis with the title:

Impact of genotoxins on human neurodevelopmental processes in vitro

The project: The development of the human brain is based on a variety of strictly regulated and time-dependent processes up to young adulthood. Early stages of brain development are characterized by extensive proliferation of human neural stem- and progenitor cells (NSPCs), which later on differentiate into neurons, oligodendrocytes and astrocytes. Furthermore, apoptosis is a key hallmark of human brain development as a large proportion of generated cells die during development. DNA-damaging substances can potentially disturb the balance of these processes by causing mutations that induce apoptosis, disturb differentiation or inhibit cell proliferation.

The type of DNA damage and therefore also the necessary DNA repair mechanism can thereby differ depending on the substance. However, the extent to which human NSPCs can be damaged by genotoxic substances and how their vulnerability changes during development have not been well studied. Since the developing cell types of the brain are of high longevity and their self-renewal capacity is limited during adulthood, it is particularly important that DNA repair is error-free. Exposure of pregnant women to cigarette smoke for example can lead to an increased rate of DNA adducts in umbilical cord blood and to impaired cognitive development of exposed children.

Within the ‘Neurosphere Assay’, a primary in vitro cell culture model based on human neural progenitor cells, which mimics a variety of neurodevelopmental processes, e.g. NSPC proliferation, migration and differentiation into neural effector cells (astrocytes, neurons and OL), we already identified distinct effects of four different genotoxins. The quality and magnitude of effects thereby differ depending on the substance, treatment time point and the affected cell types.

To gain a better understanding of the different susceptibility toward genotoxins, this project is orientated to unravel their underlying molecular mechanisms. Therefore, immunocytochemical staining and gene expression analyses of DNA damage response and DNA repair proteins will be performed. Moreover, human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC) derived NSPCs will be used to also study the effects during an earlier developmental time point (e.g. embryonic development). The results of these studies will contribute to a deeper understanding of developmental stage and cell type-specific susceptibility towards genotoxins during human brain development.

Your profile: Our working group is looking for a motivated employee with a high level of commitment, fun at work, motivation, communication skills and team spirit. The applicant should have a completed bachelor's degree in life sciences. An additional (master) training in the field of toxicology or pharmacology is a plus. Hands on experience in cell culture is desirable. Furthermore, good knowledge of English is mandatory.

We offer: We are an interdisciplinary, international team with a pleasant working atmosphere. We offer thorough training in a highly topical, challenging area of research. The project is part of the RTG2578 “Impact of genotoxins on the differentiation efficacy of murine and human stem and progenitor cells and functional competence of thereof derived differentiated progeny”, for more information go to: https://www.grk2578.hhu.de/en/.

Start: As early as possible.

Please address your application (short letter of motivation, CV, qualification certificates) with the reference number "RTG2578" in the subject line as one summarized document in PDF format by e-mail to bewerbung@iuf-duesseldorf.de:

Prof. Ellen Fritsche
IUF – Leibniz-Institut für umweltmedizinische Forschung
c/o Personalstelle
Auf’m Hennekamp 50
40225 Düsseldorf

Application documents submitted by post are not returned. Documents for applicants not considered are destroyed appropriately once the procedure is complete.

Student (f/m/d) for a Master Thesis (hiPSC)

The working group of “Alternative method development for environmental toxicity testing” led by Prof. Ellen Fritsche is looking for a student (f/m/d) for a Master Thesis with the title:

Establishment of a protocol and test method for primitive hematopoiesis based on human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC) for developmental immunotoxicity testing in vitro.

The project: The mammalian immune system is a highly complex, interactive network of cells that facilitates innate and adaptive immune responses. The neonatal immune system may be more susceptible to chemical perturbations than that of the adult and hence the effects of immunotoxicants during development may not be fully detected in toxicity studies performed on adult animals. Furthermore, the majority of regulatory agencies worldwide do not routinely require developmental immunotoxicity (DIT) testing for chemicals and pharmaceuticals. DIT studies are resource-intensive as they take almost one year, produce high costs and use a large number of animals. Moreover, developmental differences in immune system development are evident among species compared to humans, making extrapolation from rodents to humans difficult. Therefore, the aim of this thesis is to take a first step on the road to the development of a human cell based in vitro DIT battery using hiPSC-based development of the different immune cells covering the first critical developmental step of primitive hematopoiesis. The newly established assays will then be used to test compounds for their DIT potential. In addition, parallel work will be done to establish a physiological map of the developing immune system based on the critical developmental steps. This requires intensive literature research and the results will then be visualized using an adequate software. The project therefore includes both laboratory work and literature research.

Your profile: Our working group is looking for a motivated employee with a high level of commitment, fun at work, motivation, communication skills and team spirit. The applicant should have a completed bachelor's degree in life sciences, ideally in the field of immunology. An additional (master) training in the field of immunology is a plus, hands on experience with stem cells and the safe handling of standard immunological methods such as FACS and immunocytochemistry is desirable. Furthermore, good knowledge of English is mandatory.

We offer: We are an interdisciplinary, international team with a pleasant working atmosphere. We offer thorough training in a highly topical, challenging area of research. The project takes place in a team with other scientists, in part from industry, with whom there will be an intensive exchange of content on project-relevant results.

Start: As soon as possible

Please address your application (short letter of motivation, CV, qualification certificates) with the reference "hiPSC" in the subject line as one summarized document in PDF format by e-mail to bewerbung@iuf-duesseldorf.de:

Prof. Ellen Fritsche
IUF – Leibniz-Institut für umweltmedizinische Forschung
c/o Personalstelle
Auf’m Hennekamp 50
40225 Düsseldorf

Application documents submitted by post are not returned. Documents for applicants not considered are destroyed appropriately once the procedure is complete.

A student (f/m/d) for a Master Thesis

The working group “Alternative method development for environmental toxicity testing” led by Prof. Ellen Fritsche is looking for a student (f/m/d) for a Master Thesis with the title:

Development of animal-free in vitro test methods to identify chemicals that disturb human brain development by interfering in radial glia- and astrocyte-function.

The project:

Environmental chemicals that interfere in human brain development cause developmental neurotoxicity (DNT) leading to developmental disorders such as autism or ADHD. These chemicals are currently identified in animal studies that are time- and cost-intensive and raise severe ethical concerns. Therefore, alternative test methods have been developed that recapitulate key processes of human brain development in vitro. This project aims to close gaps within the available DNT in vitro test method portfolio by establishing novel test methods recapitulating the development of two crucial cell types within the human brain, radial glia (RG) and astrocytes, to improve the predictivity of in vitro DNT testing. The new RG and astrocyte test methods will be based on a multicellular model using human neural progenitor cells (hNPCs) that has been intensively characterized in the Fritsche working group and applied in test methods studying chemical effects on NPC proliferation and differentiation into neurons and oligodendrocytes. Within this project culture conditions have been modified to enrich either proliferative migrating RG or maturing astrocytes, allowing the establishment of new RG- and astrocyte-specific test methods. As part of the test method set up, DNT-relevant test method endpoints have to be selected and both positive and negative controls have to be established. The new test methods modelling key neurodevelopmental functions of RG and astrocytes will then be challenged with a set of environmental chemicals consisting of chemicals evidently causing DNT in humans (positives) and chemicals that are harmless for the developing brain (negatives). You will work with an advanced multicellular cell model and learn different cell culture techniques when handling the 3D neurospheres. Moreover, the project includes different biochemical assays, immunocytochemical stainings, high content image analyses and gene expression analyses. Finally, your work will contribute to the development of novel animal-free test methods and the improvement of in vitro DNT testing.

Your profile:

  • Our working group is looking for a motivated student with a high level of commitment, fun at work, motivation, communication skills and team spirit.
  • You have a bachelor degree in life science (biology, (bio)medical sciences, pharmaceutical sciences, bioengineering sciences, toxicology or equivalent).
  • You have a good knowledge of the English language both written and oral.
  • Experience with adherent and spheroid cell culture is desirable.
  • Experience in the cultivation of primary cells and stem cells is advantageous.

We offer:

Based at the heart of North Rhine-Westphalia in Düsseldorf, within close vicinity to the Netherlands and Belgium, our institute hosts a vibrant community of international researchers. Our group focuses on the development and application of new approach methods (NAMs) by using state-of-the-art technology for medium to high throughput (liquid handling system, high content imaging, multi electrode arrays). Results from NAMs are used as starting points for Adverse Outcome Pathway (AOP) development. Hence, the candidate will get the chance to work with innovative 21st century toxicological methods in the field of developmental neurotoxicity (DNT).

Start:

As early as possible.

Please address your application (short letter of motivation, CV, qualification certificates), preferably electronically to Bewerbung@IUF-Duesseldorf.de:

Prof. Ellen Fritsche
IUF – Leibniz-Institut für umweltmedizinische Forschung
c/o Personalstelle
Auf’m Hennekamp 50
40225 Düsseldorf

Application documents submitted by post are not returned. Documents for applicants not considered are destroyed appropriately once the procedure is complete.

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