Position: PhD Student in Pediatric Oncology

Department: NCT Dresden - Department of Pediatrics

Code number: 2019-0158

The German Cancer Research Center is the largest biomedical research institution in Germany. With approximately 3,000 employees, we operate an extensive scientific program in the field of cancer research.

The National Center of Tumor Diseases (NCT) Dresden is a joint institution of the German Cancer Research Center, the University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus Dresden, the Faculty of Medicine at TU Dresden, and the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR). The NCT with sites in Heidelberg and Dresden is the leading oncological center in Germany and shall be expanded to an international center of excellence regarding point-of-care and individualized cancer medicine.

The German Cancer Research Center is seeking for the partner site Dresden of the National Center of Tumor Diseases a PhD Student. 

Job description:

We are a newly established NCT Junior Research Group on “Genetic Predisposition” that is located in the Department of Pediatrics at the University Clinic Dresden (Leader: Prof. Dr. Julia Hauer). The research focus of our team is oncology/immunology with a special interest in inherited predispositions to pediatric cancer with a particular attention on childhood B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemias (B-ALL) and its potential link to infection exposure.

In our previous work we established and characterized mouse models, which harbor germline predispositions (e.g. Pax5+/-, ETV6-RUNX1) and we showed that leukemia development in these models is only initiated when the mice are housed in a conventional animal facility (while the mice stay healthy in a specific pathogen free environment). These results are highly relevant for the human scenario, since in children, B-ALL development peaks between 2-6 years, which coincides with the first immune system challenges through infection exposures encountered for example in daycare, kindergarten or pre-school.

Building on our previous studies the here offered PhD project focuses on elucidating the mechanistic link between infection and B-cell leukemia development in in vitro and in vivo mouse models. Based on a screen of more than 100 unpublished parent-child trio-sequencing datasets of children with cancer, we compiled a gene list of inherited mutations that affect major players involved in interferon signaling. While the project starts off with the characterization of these target variants functionally in vitro to confirm their role in leukemia predisposition, as a second step, the most promising mutations will be modeled in vivo in the setting of our previously established in-vivo predisposition mouse models. The project is highly multifaceted, with a broad range of techniques being used, including cell based assays of cell lines and primary cell cultures, molecular biological methods (cloning, transfection, transduction, CRISPR-Cas9), protein-based assays, in-vivo murine models, as well as next generation sequencing techniques and the corresponding data analysis.

Since we believe that collaborations are the key to successful research, our team is well-connected to other research groups within Germany and internationally. The here addressed project will be carried out in close collaborations with the Department of Pediatric Oncology in Düsseldorf, Germany, as well as the University of Salamanca, Spain.        


We are looking for a PhD student that is highly motivated, energetic and friendly with a strong interest in science and cancer immunology. The ideal candidate is eager to learn new techniques, while being able to work diligently, independently and structured. Since we are a newly established junior group the applicant must be a team player that is flexible, open-minded and willing to be a part of a newly formed lab. The PhD student will work closely with an experienced post-doc to train new techniques and to get help with the data analysis.  


  • Master’s degree, diploma or equivalent in biology or a similar life science/bioscience
  • Basic laboratory experience preferred but not needed
  • Willingness to work with murine in-vivo models
  • Good English writing and communication skills, German knowledge advantageous but not necessary

We offer:

  • Interesting, versatile workplace
  • International, attractive working environment
  • Campus with modern state-of-the-art infrastructure
  • Access to international research networks
  • Doctoral student payment including social benefits
  • Flexible working hours
  • Comprehensive training and mentoring program through the Helmholtz International Graduate School

Earliest Possible Start Date: as soon as possible

Duration: The position is limited to 3 years.

Application Deadline: 29.05.2019


Heidrun Groß
Phone +49 (0) 351 458 5239

Please note that we do not accept applications submitted via email.

The German Cancer Research Center is committed to increase the percentage of female scientists and encourages female applicants to apply. Among candidates of equal aptitude and qualifications, a person with disabilities will be given preference.                           

To apply for a position please use our online application portal (www.dkfz.de/jobs).

We ask for your understanding that we cannot return application documents that are sent to us by post (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, Personalabteilung, Im Neuenheimer Feld 280, 69120 Heidelberg) and that we do not accept applications submitted via email. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.