Position: PhD Student – Unraveling the Crosstalk of AHR and Oncogenic KIT in KIT-driven Cancers

Department: DKTK partner site Essen / Düsseldorf – Translational Sarcoma Research Group

Code number: 2023-0089

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.

Together with university partners at seven renowned partner sites, we have established the German Cancer Consortium (DKTK).

For the partner site of DKTK Essen / Düsseldorf (workplace Essen) the German Cancer Research Center is seeking a PhD student to work on a sub-project within the PREDICTAHR DKTK Joint Funding Program. PREDICTAHR aims to comprehensively investigate the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) with regard to its role as predictive biomarker and exploit its potential use as therapeutic target. There is growing evidence that tumors heavily relying on oncogenic kinases exhibit multiple signaling connections. This project will focus on understanding the crosstalk of AHR and oncogenic KIT in KIT-driven cancers.

The position is located in the Translational Sarcoma Research Group. We are one of the leading translational research labs for gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST, https://tumorforschung.uk-essen.de/index.php?id=3222) and are embedded in the Sarcoma Center at the West German Cancer Center in Essen, Germany (www.sarcoma.eu). Our lab has an unique collection of GIST models that represent the full spectrum of genomic heterogeneity of resistance.


Job description:

  • Cell culture: thaw, culture, split, freeze cells; functional in vitro analyses
  • Human cell culture and possibly in vivo experiments
  • A broad spectrum of molecular techniques including molecular biology, PCR, qRT-PCR, DNA and RNA isolation, protein isolation and western blot, CRISPR/CAS9, apoptosis assays
  • Molecular and flow cytometric study of tumors
  • Planning and execution of metabolomics and lipidomics measurements in cell line models
  • Development of new methods for the characterization of metabolites and lipids
  • Statistical evaluation of results
  • Assisted planning and implementation of the project
  • Documentation and evaluation of research results as well as preparation of publications, lectures, posters
  • Preparation of the dissertation within the PhD project



  • University degree (Master) in biology, medical biology or related subjects of at least 8 semesters
  • Background in cancer research, metabolomics and/or related methods
  • Experience with lab animals is beneficial
  • Knowledge of basic immunological and molecular biology techniques
  • Knowledge of metabolite and lipid analysis as well as bioinformatics is desirable
  • High degree of independence, team spirit, motivation and interest in the development of modern methods and their application in cancer research

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

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 3 years.

Application Deadline: 06.04.2023


Sabine Kaul
Phone +49(0)201/723-2044

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.