Position: Postdoctoral Position in Cell Fate Plasticity and Cancer

Department: Junior Research Group "Cell Fate Engineering and Disease Modeling"

Code number: 2023-0074

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

The Junior Research Group "Cell Fate Engineering and Disease Modeling" (headed by Dr. Moritz Mall) combines animal models, pluripotent stem cells, and genetic engineering to reconstruct and investigate human development and disease (Mall and Wernig, JMM 2017). Our mission is to understand the mechanisms that determine and maintain cell fate with the goal to treat diseases associated with loss of cell identity such as cancer (Mall, Nature 2017; Lee and Mall, Nature Cell Bio 2020; Weigel, Molecular Psychiatry 2023). Embedded within the Hector Institute of Translational Brain Research (HITBR) at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg, our lab offers the unique opportunity to be part of our energetic and ERC-funded research team to work at the interface of stem cell biology, cancer and neuroscience. 

Please visit https://www.dkfz.de/en/cell-fate-engineering for more information on our lab.


Job description:

The project aims to investigate the transcriptional and epigenetic mechanisms that allow cell fate induction and maintenance, with the goal of understanding new principles of cell fate biology. We believe that combining cell fate engineering and stem cell technologies has great potential to better understand complex human disorders such as cancer and to identify strategies to treat these diseases in the future. The goal of this project is to understand the principles of cell fate plasticity in cancer, specifically the role of transcription factors during de- and transdifferentiation in liver and brain cancers.

The successful candidate will develop the research project using cutting-edge technologies such as cellular reprogramming and single-cell genomics. The tasks include cell culture, animal models, biochemical as well as functional genomic screens using a wide range of innovative techniques and research infrastructure. The major goals are outlined below:

  • Design and develop cutting-edge research projects
  • Characterize new transcriptional and epigenetic cell fate regulators
  • Analyze in vitro and in vivo liver cancer models
  • Develop novel 2D and 3D disease models using human stem cells
  • Generate and analyze next-generation single-cell functional genomics data



We are looking for a highly motivated, recently graduated top-level PhD student, holding a M.Sc. (biology or molecular biology), with strong training in molecular or cell biology. Research experience in transcription regulation and functional genomics using animal and/or human pluripotent stem cells is desired. Hands-on skills in epigenetic techniques such as ATAC-seq, ChIP-seq, or CUT&RUN and analysis of liver cancer or hepatocyte biology is meriting. The ambitious candidate should be driven to develop a research project using cutting-edge technologies, be a reliable team player and have:

  • Demonstrated scientific productivity
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Very good organization skills
  • Functional genomics data generation and analysis skills
  • Hands-on transcriptional regulation experience
  • Extensive cell culture practice

Applications should include a cover letter and a CV with a complete list of publications as well as contact details of 3 references.

We offer:

  • Interesting, versatile workplace
  • International, attractive working environment
  • Campus with modern state-of-the-art infrastructure
  • Salary according to TV-L including social benefits
  • Possibility to work part-time
  • Flexible working hours
  • Comprehensive further training program
  • Access to the DKFZ  International Postdoc Program

Important notice:

The DKFZ is subject to the regulations of the Infection Protection Act (IfSG). As a consequence, only persons who present proof of immunity against measles may work at the DKFZ.

Earliest possible start date: as soon as possible

Duration: The position is limited to 2 years with the possibility of prolongation. ‚Äč

The position can in principle be part-time.

Application deadline: 11.04.2023


Dr. Moritz Mall
Phone +49(0)6221/42-3195

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

The DKFZ is committed to increase the proportion of women in all areas and positions in which women are underrepresented. Qualified female applicants are therefore particularly encouraged 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 (https://www.dkfz.de/en/stellenangebote/index.php).

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.