Position: Postdoctoral Researcher - Translational Oncology / Immunotherapy / Genetic Engineering

Department: Junior Research Group "Pediatric Neuro-Immuno-Oncology"

Code number: 2024-0052

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.

We are looking for a highly motivated postdoctoral researcher to join our growing Junior Research Group "Pediatric Neuro-Immuno-Oncology" led by Franziska Blaeschke. Our research group will launch in March this year and will use advanced genetic engineering to improve immunotherapy of solid tumors. While treatment with chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells has shown great success in pediatric leukemia, CAR T cells are still inefficient in most solid tumors. We have recently pioneered the use of CRISPR-based Modular Pooled Knockin Screens to study which (synthetic or natural) gene products can be overexpressed in primary human T cells to enhance the efficacy and fitness of CARs (Blaeschke et al., Cell, 2023).


Job description:

The postdoctoral researcher will use and advance cutting-edge technologies in the field of gene editing (e.g., CRISPR knockin, knockout, CRISPRa, base editing, prime editing) to study the interactions of CAR T cells with tumor cells and improve T cell efficacy in the context of solid tumors. The position will include a large variety of experimental methods and models, both in vitro and in vivo. Moreover, the postdoctoral researcher will closely collaborate with other experts in the field (within the DKFZ/KiTZ, but also on a national and international level) and mentor students and technicians.

Your responsibilities:

  • Designing and performing complex experiments involving a large number of methods (e.g., cloning, CRISPR/Cas9, viral transduction, AAVs, flow cytometry, next-generation sequencing, xenograft and syngeneic models, primary cell culture, functional analyses such as cytokine release, proliferation, cytotoxicity etc.)
  • Establishing new experimental protocols and helping us build a great lab community
  • Mentoring of students and technicians
  • Staying up to date with scientific literature
  • Presenting your research on a regular basis within the group, the DKFZ/KiTZ and externally
  • Preparing grants and publications


  • PhD or equivalent qualification in biology, bioengineering, biochemistry or other relevant fields
  • Excellent communication skills and social competence
  • Team player who is motivated to mentor students and technicians and closely work with collaboration partners within the institute and beyond
  • Strong laboratory and writing skills
  • Willingness to lead and perform in vivo studies
  • Previous experience in cloning, CRISPR/Cas gene engineering, coding, CAR T cells, primary cell culture and in vivo models is helpful but not mandatory
  • Proficiency in English (written and spoken)
  • High level of enthusiasm, motivation and responsibility
  • Deep interest in planning, conducting and analyzing experiments in a systematic and independent way
  • Effective time management and organizational skills

Please submit a motivation letter (1-2 pages), CV (including a publication list and contact information of two references), and a short description of your prior research experience (1-2 pages) in one single PDF.

We offer:

  • Interesting, versatile workplace
  • Excellent framework conditions: state-of-the-art equipment and opportunity for international networking at the highest level
  • Remuneration according to TV-L incl. occupational pension plan for the public service and capital-forming payments
  • 30 days of vacation per year
  • Flexible working hours
  • Possibility of part-time work
  • Family-friendly working environment, including parent-child room, counseling services, e.g. on Elder Care
  • Sustainable travel to work: subsidized Germany job ticket
  • Develop your full potential: access to the DKFZ International Postdoc Program and DKFZ Career Service with targeted offers for your personal development to further develop your talents
  • Our Corporate Health Management Program offers a holistic approach to your well-being

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: 01.04.2024

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

Application deadline: 06.03.2024


Dr. Franziska Blaeschke
Phone +49 (0)6221/42-2965

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.