Doctoral Researcher Position (Ref. No. ILRS_01/2017)

Jena, Thüringen (DE)
March 20 2017
Position Type
Full Time

The Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology – Hans Knöll Institute – in cooperation with the Friedrich Schiller University, the University Hospital Jena and the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology are offering an international graduate training programme. The

International Leibniz Research School (ILRS Jena)

gives doctoral researchers the possibility to prepare for their PhD exam in an ambitious program providing excellent research conditions. We invite applications for a

Doctoral Researcher Position (Ref. No. ILRS_01/2017)

Immune evasion of Streptococcus pneumoniae in patients with kidney disease

The Department of Infection Biology at the Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology is interested to understand the immune evasions strategies of human pathogenic microbes, in particular how microbial pathogens control the innate immune system and how they modulate inflammation. Such evasion strategies are characterized by multiplicity and redundancy. In this project, we want to understand the immune evasion strategies of Streptococcus pneumoniae, a human respiratory pathogen that causes invasive and mucosal diseases and is also associated with hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a severe human kidney disease.

In order to define the immune evasion strategies of this pathogenic Gram positive bacterium in detail, we characterize the pneumococcal moonlighting proteins PspC (pneumococcal surface protein C) and Tuf (translation elongation factor Tu). We are interested in identifying the repertoire of host proteins that are bound by the two pneumococcal proteins, in identifying new ligands and in defining how host regulators attached to the bacterial surface assist the bacterium in immune evasion. By characterizing clinical pneumococcal isolates derived from infant HUS patients we aim to define how the microbial pathogens contribute to disease pathogenesis and to endothelial damage in the microvasculature. We postulate that these clinical isolates express unique PspC and Tuf variants and therefore plan to clone the corresponding proteins and analyze how such new variants control virulence and bacterial immune evasion and how they lead to disease pathology and ultimately to kidney damage.

We expect:

- a Master’s degree (or equivalent allowing you to pursue a PhD degree) in Natural or Life Sciences. Research at ILRS is centred around “Microbial and Biomolecular Interactions”. Candidates about to earn their degree are welcome to apply.


- high motivation and interest to join one of the research areas of ILRS


- creativity and interest in shaping your own thesis project


- an integrative and cooperative personality with enthusiasm for actively participating in our lively community


- very good communication skills in English


- experience in microbiology, immunobiology and molecular biology is required


We offer:

- a top-level research environment


- efficient supervision by a team of advisors


- a comprehensive mentoring programme


- courses in state-of-the-art technologies and soft skills


- strong communication and interaction between the involved institutions


- Jena – City of Science: innovative business activities, successful scientific centres and a vibrant cultural scene around the famous Friedrich Schiller University


The three-year Doctoral Researcher project is available starting from May 2017 and is part of the Graduate School Scholarship Program of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). HKI is an equal opportunity employer.

Further information:

Prof. Dr. Peter F. Zipfel, PI                 

Dr. Christine Vogler, ILRS Coordinator

The application process is handled exclusively online. Please acquaint yourself with the scientific projects offered on our website and thoroughly follow the instructions for the online application process:

Deadline for application: April 21, 2017.