PhD Position in Zebrafish Metabolism and Development, Institute of Toxicology and Genetics/KIT, Karlsruhe, Germany

Publish Date: Nov 30, 2015

Deadline: Jan 10, 2016

PhD Position in  Zebrafish Metabolism and Development

A PhD position is available within the Emerging Collaborative Topic (EcTop) 6 “Metabolism and Development” within the Cluster of Excellence Cellular Networks – CellNetworks – of the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg. The position will be based at the Institute of Toxicology and Genetics (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology - Campus Nord) in the group of Thomas Dickmeis. The project will be carried out in close cooperation with the group of Alexander Aulehla, EMBL Heidelberg.

Work in the Dickmeis laboratory explores the zebrafish as a model organism to study the interplay between hormonal signalling and metabolism in development and disease. To this end, we develop biosensors to measure hormonal and metabolic signalling activity in the living animal. We apply these sensors in chemical in vivo screens with zebrafish larvae in order to monitor environmental pollutants and to identify novel lead compounds for drug development.

In the proposed thesis project, we will examine glucose signalling in early vertebrate embryos by combining the unique advantages of two model systems: culture of organogenesis stage mouse embryos (Aulehla group) in chemically defined medium allows for precise manipulation of metabolic activities and metabolite levels, without confounding input from yolk or placenta, whereas the zebrafish (Dickmeis group) is an excellent system for bioimaging and rapid testing of gene function. We will adapt fluorescent biosensors developed in the Aulehla laboratory to examine changes occurring in glucose metabolism in early embryos, and explore the function of transcriptional targets of glucose signalling in the zebrafish exploiting the rapid transient overexpression and loss-of-function approaches (morpholinos, CRISPR-Cas9) available in this model system. Previous experience with fluorescence microscopy and data analysis or with the zebrafish model organism is an advantage, but not required.

The ITG at KIT is one of the major centers for zebrafish research in Germany. Notably, the ITG houses the largest experimental fish facility in Europe and is home to the European Zebrafish Resource Center (EZRC). A screening facility provides a variety of instruments for chemical screening approaches, including bioluminescence plate readers and automated microscope systems. The ITG also provides a wide range of imaging equipment, including digital scanned light-sheet microscopy (DSLM) for high resolution in vivo microscopy. The cosmopolitan make- up of the institute is reflected by the fact that staff members represent 15 different nationalities from around the world and English is the lingua franca.

The position is limited to 3 years and is available from March/April. Remuneration will be based on the TvL (Collective Agreement for the Public Service Sector). KIT prefers to balance the number of female and male employees. We therefore kindly ask female applicants to apply. If qualified, handicapped applicants will be preferred.

Candidates should send a CV and letter of interest until the 10th of January via e-mail to:

Interviews will start in the second half of January 2016.

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