Position: 2 Doctoral Students – Bioinformatics and Functional Genomics

Department: Applied Functional Genomics / Cancer Epigenetics

Code number: 2019-0033

The German Cancer Research Center is the largest biomedical research institution in Germany. With approximately 3,000 employees, we operate an extensive scientific program in the field of cancer research.

Job description:

We are seeking two exceptionally talented and highly motivated Doctoral Students in the Division of Applied Functional Genomics (Prof. Dr. Claudia Scholl) and in the Regulation of Cellular Differentiation Research Group (PD Dr. Daniel Lipka) in the Division of Cancer Epigenetics for a joint project that focuses on the elucidation of mutant KRAS-induced epigenetic changes and the associated vulnerabilities.

Mutations in signaling proteins and epigenetic regulators are key drivers of malignant transformation, but it is unclear how aberrant signaling induces epigenetic plasticity to mediate malignant transformation. One of the most important signaling molecules is KRAS, which is frequently mutated in pancreatic, colorectal and lung adenocarcinoma. KRAS mutations confer a poor prognosis and therapy resistance, indicating an unmet medical need. Although mutant KRAS-mediated cytoplasmic network changes have been extensively studied, their direct effects on the epigenome remain unclear.

Within this joint project, we will systematically investigate the effects of KRAS signaling on the epigenetic landscape in pancreatic and lung adenocarcinoma. The position in the Scholl laboratory mainly focuses on experimental “wet-lab” work, including the analysis of a previously identified link between mutant KRAS and a histone methyltransferase complex, and the generation and characterization of cellular models that enable the detection of epigenome remodeling upon KRAS activation in a pathway- and tissue-specific manner. These cellular models will also be investigated for the presence of mutant KRAS-induced histone modifications, chromatin architecture, gene expression and DNA methylation by using genome-wide technologies. The second position in the Lipka laboratory will involve the computational analysis of next-generation sequencing datasets and the development of novel strategies for the integrative analysis of multi-layered genome-wide epigenetic datasets. Overall, within this project, the PhD candidates have the opportunity to work on the frontier of cancer (epi-)genomics and to substantially enhance our understanding of KRAS-mediated tumorigenesis thereby working towards the development of innovative therapies for patients with KRAS-driven cancer.

We are international, friendly and enthusiastic teams that offer intensive support and mentoring. Technologies in our laboratories include functional genomics (RNAi, CRISPR/Cas9), structural genomics (single-cell RNA sequencing, single-cell DNA methylation, histone modifications, chromatin configuration), bioinformatics and diverse molecular/cell biological and biochemical approaches. Furthermore, we are closely connected to clinical aspects of cancer patient care, for example via the MASTER cancer genome sequencing program of the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) and the German Cancer Consortium (DKTK).


  • We are looking for brilliant early-career scientists who are highly motivated, ambitious and hard-working.
  • Applicants should hold a diploma/master’s degree in biology, biochemistry, genetics, bioinformatics or a related field.
  • Expertise in molecular and cellular cancer biology (first position), and experience in programming including bash, R and/or Python (second position) is advantageous.
  • Profound knowledge of cancer biology, excellent communication skills and proficiency in English are mandatory.

Applications must include a CV, cover letter, high school and university certificates, expected availability date, a complete list of publications, and 2-3 reference letters.

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: 15.04.2019

Duration: The position is limited to 3 years with the possibility of prolongation.

Application Deadline: 01.03.2019


Prof. Dr. Claudia Scholl
Phone +49 (0)6221/42-1636

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.