Position: PhD Student

Department: Neural Stem Cell Genome Integrity in Brain Development and Diseases

Code number: 2020-0252

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.

Neural progenitor cells undergo tens of thousands of cell divisions to generate the 80 billion neurons in a human brain. Neurons work together in a network system; therefore, mild gene malfunction occurring to a low number of cells is sufficient to impair brain function. In neural progenitor cells, replication stress can lead to recurrent DNA break clusters. The DNA break clusters all occur in genes. When disrupted, the vast majority of the break-containing genes are linked to brain diseases, including cancer. Joining excessive recurrent DNA breaks resulting in unbalanced somatic mosaicism in the genome of neural progenitor cells. On the other hand, joining of two basal level DNA breaks may introduce unique genomic barcodes into the genome of the neural progenitor. These barcodes may contribute, at least in part, to the neuron genome heterogeneity in our brain.


Job description:

Our mission is to investigate the contribution of DNA breaks in making genome diversity and how replication stress interferes with the balance of genomic heterogeneity. We will address whether early exposure to replication stress enhances DNA breaks, leading to postzygotic, non-inheritable DNA lesion formation in the embryonic brain.


  • M.Sc. in biology or equivalent
  • Fluent in English
  • Good practice in mammalian cell culture, gene editing, and basic molecular biology techniques
  • Independent, ambitious, dedicated, responsible and motivated
  • Open to a collaborative environment

Please submit your undergraduate transcripts, master thesis abstract, curriculum vitae, contact information of two referees and a motivation letter.

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

Earliest Possible Start Date: as soon as possible

Duration: The position is limited to 3 years.

Application Deadline: 12.11.2020


Dr. Pei-Chi Wei
Phone +49 6221/42-3251

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.