PhD Position in Zebrafish Molecular Ecotoxicology, Institute of Toxicology and Genetics/KIT, Karlsruhe, Germany

Publish Date: Nov 30, 2015

Deadline: Jan 10, 2016

PhD Position in  Zebrafish Molecular Ecotoxicology, Institute of Toxicology and Genetics/KIT, Karlsruhe

A PhD position is available within the project "Eff-Net: A multi-scale effect network for hazard identification and risk evaluation of high consumption chemicals in aquatic ecosystems", funded by the Water Research Network of the State of Baden-Württemberg, at the Institute of Toxicology and Genetics (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology- Campus Nord) in the group of Thomas Dickmeis.

Work in our 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, zebrafish embryos/larvae will be used as an in vivo test model to identify the effects of several classes of emerging water pollutants, including artificial sweeteners, antidiabetics and neuroactive drugs, on endocrine and metabolic signalling processes as well as on feeding and locomotor behaviour. Methods applied include the generation and application of transgenic luciferase reporter fish for measuring glucocorticoid stress hormone and metabolic signalling activity in the living animal, such as our recently developed GRIZLY assay (for Glucocorticoid Responsive In vivo Zebrafish Luciferase activitY assay). These assays will be complemented by fluorescence based feeding assays and automated locomotion measurements in response to light pulses for the evaluation of compound effects on the nervous system. Previous experience with chemical screening procedures and their 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 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 data obtained within the Eff-Net researcher network will be exploited to meet the overarching aim of providing a comprehensive risk evaluation for the newly emerging pollutants at multiple levels, encompassing molecular interactions, cells, organisms and ecosystems. Tight interactions between the members of this transdisciplinary network across the three universities of Heidelberg, Tübingen and Karlsruhe will ensure efficient information transfer and integrated planning of experiments. In close collaboration with social scientists, the scientific results will be used to inform political and educational processes in response to the detected risks for water resources.

The position is limited to 3 years and is available from March/April 2016. 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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