PhD position: Developmental Mechanism Underlying Stress Resilience

IMB Mainz
October 09 2017
Life Sciences, Biology
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type
In the field of “Developmental Mechanism Underlying Stress Resilience” the research group of Prof. Soojin Ryu offers the following PhD project:


Developing a zebrafish model to identify novel molecular resilience mechanisms

The discovery and validation of molecular resilience mechanisms requires an animal model that has good genetic accessibility. While rodents are well-established model organisms for resilience research, a large-scale identification of potential resilience-promoting molecules in rodents can be both time consuming and costly. The zebrafish represents a newly established vertebrate animal model in stress research and exhibits a high degree of conservation of the stress response system when compared to mammals. Both acute and chronic stressor paradigms have been reported for zebrafish. However, as of yet, there is no established resilience model in zebrafish. Therefore the first goal of this project is to develop a zebrafish model for resilience by combining exposure to chronic ecologically relevant stressors with subsequent detection of behavioral alterations. After establishing a zebrafish resilience model, the second goal of the project is to identify new molecules that play an important role in promoting resilience. To this end, we will in a first step retrospectively compare newly synthesized protein expression patterns of resilient and non-resilient animals upon exposure to an acute stressor. Resilience involves much more than one molecule or one neuron, but presumably depends on distributed brain networks. Hence, resilience mechanisms will rely on coordinated changes in protein expression across interconnected areas. We will therefore employ the latest proteome technology, which permits the identification of newly synthesized proteins in vivo in the whole animal in a region-specific manner. Our hypothesis is that, when acutely stressed, resilient animals will switch on the expression of proteins that help them regulate their stress response in an optimal manner. These are candidates for an active molecular resilience mechanism. In a final step, the identified proteins will be functionally characterized using a battery of loss-of-function and gain-of-function approaches well established in zebrafish. Critically, this will also provide causal evidence for the role of the identified proteins in resilience.

We offer

• The possibility to work on a cutting-edge project using state-of-the-art technology in a highly motivated research team

• A stimulating, diverse and international research environment

• Advanced training opportunities

• A fully funded PhD position


Duration of stipend/salary: 3 years, with the possibility of extension

Starting date: 1 March 2018 or later

Deadline for registration (exclusively online via web form): 15 November 2017


For further questions and contact information please check our website:


Please apply exclusively via our online form at:


This job comes from a partnership with Science Magazine and Euraxess

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