Position: PhD Stipend in Tumor Immunology

Department: Molecular Oncology of Gastrointestinal Cancers

Code number: 2019-0178

Job description:

Offered is a PhD stipend position in a research project co-funded by the Israeli Ministry of Science & Technology and by the German Cancer Research Center with the title: Exploring the immunogenicity of DNA damage repair deficient pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (DDR-deficient PDA).

The overall objective of this project is to develop T cell based immunotherapeutic strategies for the treatment of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA). Previous work at German Cancer Research Center has provided evidence for an anti-tumor T cell response in samples from resected human tumors, while findings at Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv indicated that DDR-deficient tumors exhibit a more favorable prognosis and increased T cell infiltration. We hypothesize that DDR-deficient PDA will demonstrate increased immunogenicity and thereby greater responsiveness to (immuno)therapy.

This collaborative project supports a PhD student position in each of the aforementioned institutes. The work in Tel Aviv will focus on implementing next generation sequencing, single cell sequencing and T cell receptor cloning/screening technology, as developed and validated in Heidelberg, on clinical tumor samples. The aim is to analyze the antigen-specificity of the T cell response in DDR-PDA and thereby to create a basis for the development of Tcell therapy for this cancer type. Research in Heidelberg will focus on developing a genetic mouse model for DDR-deficient PDA, which is based on an already established platform for in vivo electroporation of gene constructs into the mouse pancreas. The aim is to study the antigen-specificity of the T cell response in this model and to test anti-tumor efficacy and mechanism of action of therapeutic interventions. The project will involve exchange visits, as well as close interactions with the Weizmann Institute in Jerusalem and the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research.


  • Excellent academic qualifications, including a master´s  degree in life sciences
  • Hands on experience in immunology research
  • Genuine motivation for translational cancer research

We offer:

  • Interesting, versatile workplace
  • International, attractive working environment
  • Campus with modern state-of-the-art infrastructure
  • Flexible working hours
  • Comprehensive further training program

Earliest Possible Start Date: as soon as possible

Duration: The position is limited to 3 years.

Application Deadline: 13.07.2019


Jennifer Schmidt
Phone +49 (0)6221/42-3144

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.