We are looking for a strongly motivated and talented student who would like to do his/her Master thesis in our lab. It is also possible to first complete a practical (if needed) and then move on to pursue the Master thesis.

Project: The Unfolded Protein Response (UPR) in Gliomas

The UPR is a mechanism by which a cell tries to cope with stress generated by the accumulation of unfolded proteins within the Endoplasmic Reticulum (ER). The UPR is essential for several cell-types, i.e. for cells secreting proteins like antibodies, hormones (insulin), etc. The UPR increases the overall potential to fold the newly synthesized polypeptide chains into their native and active conformation. Inositol-requiring enzyme-1 (IRE1α), RNA-like ER kinase (PERK) and activating transcription factor 6 (ATF6) are the main transducers of the UPR. Under chronic stress conditions, activation of the UPR leads to cell death. Unfortunately, cancer cells also utilize the UPR machinery to enhance their aggressive nature. They modulate the UPR in order to enhance their ER protein folding capacity and secrete various matricellular proteins which help them to survive, invade and proliferate.

Project Outline:

Hypoxia is a physiological inducer of UPR in glioma cells. The candidate will utilize molecular and cell culture techniques to determine and validate clinically relevant key target proteins. The project will include various cellular assays and biochemical techniques to validate UPR-dependent regulations of pathologically relevant secretory proteins under hypoxic and artificial stress conditions.

Your background

A molecular and cell biology background is required for this position. Experience in cell culture and molecular biology techniques are of advantage.

Please contact Dr. Björn Tews (b.tews@dkfz.de).