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Phd Student (m/f/d)

part-time, 65% - JobID: P0025V365

searched from April 2021 (earliest starting date) for the Center of Infectious Diseases, Integrative Virology to work on molecular interactions of the HIV-1 pathogenesis factor Nef in innate and adaptive immune evasion.

The position is funded by a grant from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft within the priority program “Innate Sensing and Restriction of Retroviruses” (SPP1923; https://spp1923.de/). Remuneration is in accordance with TV-L.

Project description
HIV-1 has to overcome potent physical barriers of the innate immune system (so called restriction, factors) to infect human cells. The virus achieves this by expression of accessory gene products that specifically antagonize such restriction factors. SERINC5 poses such a restriction that limits the infectivity of HIV-1 particles and is antagonized by the viral pathogenesis factor Nef (Rosa et al., 2015, Nature; Usami et al., 2015, Nature). In addition, we recently found that SERINC5 also enhances innate sensing of HIV-1 particles and defined a novel molecular surface in Nef required for SERINC5 antagonism but also other Nef functions such as disruption of humoral immune responses (Ananth et al., 2019, J. Virol.; Kaw et al., 2020 Embo J., Pierini et al., 2021 J. Virol.). In search of the mechanisms of action of these Nef activities, we identified several host cell factors that interact with Nef via this novel protein interaction motif. The goal of the PhD student to be recruited will be to identify the specific host cell factor(s) involved in Nef activity and dissect mechanism and physiological relevance of this activity. These analyses will depend on work with primary human cells and replication competent HIV-1 (BSL3) as well as a mouse model to study Nef function (Kaw et al. 2020, Embo J.).
  • Successful candidates require a strong background in virology, immunology and biochemistry

We are searching for highly motivated candidates with genuine curiosity, passion for science, and motivation to develop into an independent scientist in the course of a PhD thesis.

What we offer
  • Target-oriented individual further education and training opportunities
  • Targeted training on the job
  • Ticket for public transport
  • Possibility of child care (crèche and kindergarten) as well as subsidy for holiday care for school children
  • Active health promotion
  • Company pension scheme
  • Access to the university library and other university facilities (e.g. university sports)
Kontakt & Bewerbung
For further information please contact Kathrin Bajak via e-mail: kathrin.bajak@med.uni-heidelberg.de or by phone: ++49 6221 56 5061.


Applications will be accepted until 15.03.2021.

Universitätsklinikum Heidelberg
Zentrum für Infektiologie
Kathrin Bajak 
Im Neuenheimer Feld 344
69120 Heidelberg
Phone: ++49 – (0 )6221-56-5061

published: 8th february 2021

Wir stehen für Chancengleichheit. Schwerbehinderte werden bei gleicher Eignung vorrangig eingestellt. Das Universitätsklinikum strebt eine generelle Erhöhung des Frauenanteils in allen Bereichen und Positionen an, in denen Frauen unterrepräsentiert sind. Qualifizierte Frauen sind daher besonders aufgefordert, sich zu bewerben. Vollzeitstellen sind grundsätzlich teilbar, soweit dienstliche oder rechtliche Gründe nicht entgegenstehen.

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