Position: Postdoc in Early Detection of Liver Cancer

Department: Systems Biology of Signal Transduction

Code number: 2021-0210

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.

Job description:

Deciphering the interlink of alterations in signaling and metabolism for early detection of liver cancer

Liver cancer with its predominant form hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is expected to rise dramatically over the next decade as due to the dramatic rise in obesity an alarming increase in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is observed. Lifestyle factors such as a high glucose/high fat diet contribute to NAFLD, which can progress to liver fibrosis/cirrhosis and HCC. Surgical resection at early stages of the tumor remains the only curative option. Therefore, means for early detection and improved surveillance are urgently needed. In a longitudinal feeding series of an animal model we uncovered by mass spectrometry in combination with histological analysis and correlations studies that the order of events is unexpected and major changes in the abundance of metabolic enzymes are indicative of early stages. Therefore, the aim of this project is to employ state-of-the-art mass spectrometry and develop a targeted mass spectrometry approach to quantify metabolic enzymes and signaling components including the determination of the degree of phosphorylation in primary hepatocytes and tissues samples from patients at different disease stages. A key focus will be to determine markers for disease progression in the blood and exploit machine learning as well as dynamic pathway modelling to predict progression towards HCC.



We are looking for a candidate with a PhD degree in biology or a related field. The successful candidate should have a background in biochemistry/cell biology, an understanding of signal transduction and metabolism and be interested in mass spectrometry. Experience with R is of advantage. Furthermore, communication skills and the readiness to work in an interdisciplinary project together with mathematical modeling partners and clinicians are key.

We offer:

  • Interesting, versatile workplace
  • International, attractive working environment
  • Campus with modern state-of-the-art infrastructure
  • Salary according to TV-L including social benefits
  • Possibility to work part-time
  • Flexible working hours
  • Comprehensive further training program
  • Access to the DKFZ  International Postdoc Program

Earliest possible start date: as soon as possible

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

The position can in principle be part-time.

Application deadline: 31.07.2021


Prof. Dr. Ursula Klingmüller
Phone +49 (0)6221/42-4481

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.