Research Group Leader (m/f) - Intestinal Epithelial Barrier in Autoimmune Diseases

Heidelberg, Baden-W├╝rttemberg (DE)
$ 72,000 -$ 95,000 per annum + benefits
February 12 2019
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

Research Group Leader (m/f) - Intestinal Epithelial Barrier in Autoimmune Diseases


BioMed X Innovation Center, Im Neuenheimer Feld 515, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany

About BioMed X

The BioMed X Innovation Center is an exciting collaboration model at the interface between academia and industry. At our center, distinguished early career scientists recruited from all over the world are working jointly on novel pre-clinical research projects in the fields of biomedicine, molecular biology, cell biology, and diagnostics. These interdisciplinary project teams are conducting groundbreaking biomedical research in an open innovation lab facility on the campus of the University of Heidelberg, under the guidance of experienced mentors from academia and industry while expanding their scientific network.

Each BioMed X project team is sponsored by an industry partner. The sponsor of this call for application is Merck.

What we are looking for

Applications are welcome from early career scientists with an outstanding track record or strong interest in the field of:

Intestinal Epithelial Barrier in Autoimmune Diseases

The intestinal epithelial barrier is an interface that maintains mucosal homeostasis by preventing underregulated exposure of the gut microbiota and antigens present in the lumen to the host internal microenvironment, avoiding subsequent abnormal inflammatory responses. Integrity of this barrier function should also shape normal microbiota. Changes in gut microbiome have been shown in systemic inflammatory diseases like systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), multiple sclerosis (MS) and other autoimmune disorders. Are these changes indicating a primary epithelial barrier defect in patients with these autoimmune disorders or are they only an effect of chronic inflammation over the intestinal barrier function? This question represents a unique opportunity to develop novel therapeutic concepts and innovative treatments for SLE and other autoimmune diseases.

Applicants should focus their project proposals on the following objectives:

  • Investigation of the etiology and/or pathophysiology related to microbiome changes in human autoimmune diseases, including the potential role of the intestinal epithelial barrier and associated mucosal immune system;
  • Identification and validation of potential new therapeutic target molecules for protection and/or repair of epithelial barrier function and mechanisms of intestinal immune tolerance in human autoimmune diseases;
  • Development of biomarkers to screen for intestinal epithelial barrier damage and/or repair as well as mucosal immune activation or microbiota changes that could be used to monitor patients with autoimmune diseases.

Proposals building on very original ideas supported by first experimental findings are particularly encouraged.

Group leader positions are intended to suit candidates who would like to develop themselves towards a leadership career path either in academia or industry and have typically between four and eight years of relevant postdoctoral research experience.

What we offer

The posts are offered for an initial term of two years, with the possibility of prolongation for up to two additional years.

The research group in the above-mentioned field consists of 1 group leader, 3 postdoctoral researchers and 2 research assistants. The funding package covers personal salary, consumables, services, travels, as well as access to the core facilities of neighboring research institutions and biotechnology companies in Heidelberg.

There is flexibility over starting dates, but successful applicants are welcome to take up post starting August 1, 2019.

Application & Selection Process

Applications are to be made online at

Only applications received before April 7, 2019 will be considered. As part of the online application procedure, candidates will be required to enter detailed information about their previous work and submit a competitive project proposal.

After a first selection round, candidates will be invited to a five-day innovation boot camp in Heidelberg. The invitation includes full coverage of travel expenses, accommodation, sightseeing, and food for the entire workshop which will take place from June 3 to 7, 2019. With guidance of experienced mentors, candidates will jointly work on their project proposals and present them in front of a jury on the final day. Successful candidates will be offered a position at the BioMed X Innovation Center.


BioMed X Innovation Center
Im Neuenheimer Feld 515
69120 Heidelberg