Position: Postdoc Position in Preclinical Research

Department: Pediatric Neurooncology at DKFZ and KiTZ

Code number: 2024-0174

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.

Survival rates for children with solid tumours, including brain tumours, have largely stagnated over the past 30 years. Although the unique biology of childhood solid tumours offers distinct vulnerabilities, many oncogenic driver events were previously considered ‘undruggable’. With advances in targeted protein degradation and chemical interventions to inhibit protein-protein interactions, it has recently become feasible to target such oncogenes, providing the basis for novel innovative interventions.

The project "PROTECT" (Harnessing protein degradation for advanced childhood tumours) involves 9 research institutions around the globe and is part of the Cancer Grand Challenge, funded by the Cancer Research UK, the National Cancer Institute, the Scientific Foundation of the Spanish Association Against Cancer and KiKa (Children Cancer Free Foundation) providing more than 25 million dollars over five years. To fuel the next wave of improvements in childhood cancer outcomes, the consortium aims at utilizing innovative compounds such as protein degraders and molecular glues to target unique drivers of childhood cancers. These comprise, but are not limited to, genetic fusion events that act as key drives across various different paediatric cancer entities and therefore pose ideal targets of high, unmet clinical need.

The applicant will accompany the development of multiple compounds at various stages of development and team up with experts in medicinal chemistry, cancer biology, paediatric preclinical research, and clinical trials. As a last step of this pipeline, the advertised project focusses on prioritizing most promising compounds to conduct preclinical validation both in house and through our collaboration partner ITCC-P4 (www.itccp4.com). To this end, the applicant will be able to leverage an existing array of in vivo models to evaluate dosing, scheduling, toxicity, and potential combination therapies.

For more info:


Job description:

We are in search of a highly motivated postdoctoral researcher responsible for preclinical testing of new compounds for treating paediatric cancers. This is an exciting opportunity to work closely with international experts in medicinal chemistry, paediatric cancer biology and preclinical research to develop novel degraders targeting paediatric cancer drivers. The applicant will be responsible for mirroring clinical phase I and II studies in a preclinical setting, including dose-finding, toxicity assessments and PK/PD studies across various models. The applicant will study the mechanisms of action of specific paediatric targets using cell- and animal-based systems as well as analyse RNA expression datasets from paediatric cancer tissues.


Applicants must hold a PhD (or equivalent) in biology, genomics, medicinal biology or a related field. They must possess hands-on experience working with mice, coupled with expertise in preclinical research utilizing both cell and mouse models. Experience in analysing RNASeq data and a background in oncology research would be advantageous. The ideal candidate should have a strong interest in developing advanced therapeutic approaches for paediatric cancers. Excellent communication and organization skills and proficiency in English are mandatory.

Applicants should be highly motivated, hard-working team players who enjoy working in an international team and are passionate about making a difference through cancer research. Close interdisciplinary cooperation with global project partners is expected from the postholder.

We offer:

  • Interesting, versatile workplace
  • Excellent framework conditions: state-of-the-art equipment and opportunity for international networking at the highest level
  • Remuneration according to TV-L incl. occupational pension plan for the public service and capital-forming payments
  • 30 days of vacation per year
  • Flexible working hours
  • Possibility of mobile work and part-time work
  • Family-friendly working environment, including parent-child room, counseling services, e.g. on Elder Care
  • Sustainable travel to work: subsidized Germany job ticket
  • Develop your full potential: access to the DKFZ International Postdoc Program and DKFZ Career Service with targeted offers for your personal development to further develop your talents
  • Our Corporate Health Management Program offers a holistic approach to your well-being

Important notice:

The DKFZ is subject to the regulations of the Infection Protection Act (IfSG). As a consequence, only persons who present proof of immunity against measles may work at the DKFZ.

Earliest possible start date: as soon as possible

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

Application deadline: 28.06.2024


Dr. Marc Zuckermann
Phone +49 6221 42 4637

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.