Position: PhD Student

Department: NCT Dresden - Translationale Medizinische Onkologie

Code number: 2020-0294

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 National Center of Tumor Diseases (NCT) Dresden is a joint institution of the German Cancer Research Center, the University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus Dresden, the Faculty of Medicine at TU Dresden, and the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR). The NCT with sites in Heidelberg and Dresden is the leading oncological center in Germany and shall be expanded to an international center of excellence regarding point-of-care and individualized cancer medicine.

The department „Translational Medical Oncology“ of the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) at the National Center for Tumor Diseases Dresden (NCT/UCC) and the “Translational Functional Cancer Genomics” group of the DKFZ at the NCT Heidelberg, headed by Prof. Hanno Glimm, focus on the functional and molecular characterization of malignant cell regulation and metastasis formation. Therefore, biobanks of patient-derived in vivo and in vitro cancer models have been established and extensively characterized. These models are utilized to assess clonal dynamics and regulation of tumor-initiating cell (TIC) activity in gastrointestinal cancers (e.g. Cell Stem cell 2011; Cancer Letters 2016; EMBO MolMed 2017; IJC 2017 and 2020; JEM 2017; Nature Genetics 2017, Cells 2019, Cancer Discovery 2018). Our goal is to mechanistically understand the regulation of tumor-initiating cell (TIC) activity as a prerequisite to eradicate cells with TIC activity in human cancer and to develop safe and efficient therapeutic strategies.
For specific targeting of TIC activity, we have evaluated the impact of novel therapeutic approaches on primary patient derived tumor models. Global insertional mutagenesis gene activation and pooled shRNA knock down screens allowed identification of candidate genes potentially critical for proliferation, tumor and metastasis formation. In addition, the department drives a precision oncology program for genomic analysis of patient cancers as a basis for interventional clinical trials (NCT MASTER). This program has demonstrated that whole-exome/genome and RNA sequencing in a clinical setting provides relevant diagnostic information and creates opportunities for pharmacologic intervention.



Job description:

We seek a talented and highly motivated PhD student with relevant education in biological sciences, ideally in the field of cancer research. Based on our previous research, successful PhD candidates will utilize state-of-the-art single cell technologies on patient derived tumor models and patient tumors to further understand the prevalence of inherent drug resistance prior to treatment. Based on this, the candidate will develop and validate innovative personalized molecular strategies aimed at overcoming drug resistance in human cancers.


Applicants are expected to hold a master’s degree or an equivalent in biology/life sciences with an excellent background and experience in cellular and molecular biology as well as cancer biology. High (self-)motivation, creativity and ability to work on research projects independently and as part of a diverse collaborations are essential for this position. The post-holder is expected to possess an excellent written and oral command of English.

Applications should include a CV, cover letter, certificates, expected availability date, a complete list of publications and 2-3 references.

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: 26.11.2020


Julia Dorok
Phone 0351-4585527

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 (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.