PhD Student on the topic “Ex vivo biomarker assays for personalized radiotherapy"

Reference number: 2024-0199

  • Dresden
  • Full-time
  • DKTK partner site Dresden - Translational Radiooncology and Clinical Radiotherapy (OncoRay)

“Research for a life without cancer" is our mission at the German Cancer Research Center. We investigate how cancer develops, identify cancer risk factors and look for new cancer prevention strategies. We develop new methods with which tumors can be diagnosed more precisely and cancer patients can be treated more successfully. Every contribution counts – whether in research, administration or infrastructure. This is what makes our daily work so meaningful and exciting.

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

To support our OncoRay team (Translational Radiooncology and Clinical Radiotherapy) at the DKTK partner site in Dresden, we are looking for a motivated

The group "Translational Radiooncology and Clinical Radiotherapy" represents the liaison between basic science in the laboratories and the research within the group Clinical Radiation Oncology. Within the framework of the German Cancer Consortium (DKTK) this group was newly established. Together with the Clinical Radiation Oncology group on site and in cooperation with all further DKTK partner sites (Heidelberg, Berlin, Essen/Düsseldorf, Frankfurt/Mainz, Freiburg, München and Tübingen) the focus is on high-precision technologies, including particle therapy and biological-driven individualization of radiotherapy.

A main topic is the identification of certain biological tumor factors – so-called biomarkers – which can be used to predict and individually adapt the effectiveness of radiation therapy in patients. One example are DNA double-strand breaks (DSB), which can be measured in histological slices after irradiation. Also other markers from microscopic and medical imaging are investigated and currently integrated with results from genomics and proteomics approaches. In addition, the group is investigating the effects of new substances and approved drugs in combination with radiation therapy. Another focus is on (pre-)clinical investigation of the radiobiology of proton irradiation.


Your Tasks

  • Work on the development of a clinical assay to predict therapy response for personalized radiooncology
  • Perform preclinical experiments using ex vivo models of tumor radiosensitivity (vital tissue slices, organoids), applying photon and proton irradiation in combination with chemo- and targeted therapies
  • Perform metabolic assays, prepare and evaluate immune-histological sections to assess treatment response and discover biomarkers for outcome prediction
  • Investigate temporal and spatial dynamics of selected biomarkers using advanced image analyses methods and innovative omics-technologies (e.g. spatial transcriptomics, MALDI imaging)
  • Translation into clinical application: validate established assays/ promising biomarkers using fresh patient surgical and biopsy specimen
  • Work in an interdisciplinary team with strong expertise in translational research and collaborate with clinical scientists: Radiation Oncology, (Digital) Pathology, Surgery

Your Profile

  • Master / Diploma in biology, biotechnology, biomedicine or related fields
  • Knowledge in tumor / cell biology is desirable
  • Basic skills in mammalian cell culture, molecular biology and histological techniques would be advantageous
  • Strong interest in translational studies on experimental tumors including readiness to perform in vivo experiments in mice (FELASA B is a plus)
  • Experience or willingness to learn to use image analysis software (e.g., Fiji ImageJ, QuPath) as well as programming languages (e.g., Python)
  • Good communication skills, strong commitment, motivation and discipline to work independently and efficiently
  • Strong team player with affinity to work in highly interdisciplinary and dynamic international environment
  • Proficiency in written and spoken English

We Offer

  Excellent framework conditions: state-of-the-art equipment and opportunities for international networking at the highest level

  Access to international research networks

  Doctoral salary with the usual social benefits

  30 days of vacation per year

  Flexible working hours

  Possibility of part-time work

  Family-friendly working environment

  Sustainable travel to work: subsidized Germany job ticket

  Unleash your full potential: targeted training and mentoring through the DKFZ International PhD Program and DKFZ Career Service

  Our Corporate Health Management Program offers a holistic approach to your well-being

Are you interested?

Then become part of the DKFZ and join us in contributing to a life without cancer!


 Tobias Emmerich
Telefon: +49 (0)6221/42-1653

Duration: The position is initially limited to 3 years.
Application Deadline: 26.07.2024
Applications by e-mail cannot be accepted.

We are convinced that an innovative research and working environment thrives on the diversity of its employees. Therefore, we welcome applications from talented people, regardless of gender, cultural background, nationality, ethnicity, sexual identity, physical ability, religion and age. People with severe disabilities are given preference if they have the same aptitude.

Notice: We are subject to the regulations of the Infection Protection Act (IfSG). Therefore, all our employees must provide proof of immunity against measles.

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