Positions for PhD students
The interaction of human immunodeficiency virus with its host cell involves numerous highly dynamic steps that are difficult or impossible to investigate by classical bulk measurement approaches. Therefore, our groups apply advanced fluorescence imaging in order to study dynamic events in the HIV-1 replication cycle. We specifically focus on the essential steps of HIV-1 maturation, which prepares the virus for entry into a new host cell, and on the enigmatic events which follow cytosolic delivery of the mature virus capsid. Both steps are complex on the molecular level and apparently require tight regulation in space and time. Even subtle disturbances in their dynamics may block HIV-1 replication. Furthermore, numerous host cell dependency and restriction factors and the innate immune response affect HIV-1 post-entry events in a host cell dependent manner. The sequence of events and the mechanisms of regulation are currently unclear. Some of the open questions are surprisingly basic, for example “Where, when and how is HIV-1 maturation initiated?”, or “What is the function of the viral capsid after cell entry?”
To answer these questions, we combine virological and biochemical methods (culture of cell lines and primary cells, virus preparation and characterization, infectivity assays, enzyme assays, immunoblot, fluorescence measurements) with advanced fluorescence labeling and imaging techniques. Work with infectious virus under BSL3 conditions is possible, but not essential.
In the context of a structured international PhD graduate program we offer an interesting, interdisciplinary research topic with biomedical relevance in a stimulating and interactive scientific environment at an internationally competitive level. Parts of the projects are carried out in close collaboration with national and international partners.
Applicants should have a masters degree in biology, biochemistry (or possibly biophysics) and should be interested in addressing basic questions in virology using different methods. A good background in standard molecular biological methods is expected. Beyond that, candidates should have a strong background in either cell biology, biochemistry, fluorescence imaging and image analysis, or biophysics. Our ideal candidate is motivated by a high degree of scientific curiosity. He or she is able to work independently, but also enjoys interacting, discussing and collaborating with scientists from different disciplines.
J. Schimer et al. (2015). Triggering HIV polyprotein processing inside virions by rapid photodegradation of a tight-binding photodestructable protease Inhibitor. Nature Communications 6:6461
K. Peng et al. (2014) Quantitative microscopy of functional HIV post-entry complexes reveals association of replication with the viral capsid. eLife 2014 10.7554/eLife.04114
S. Mattei et al. (2014) Induced maturation of human immunodeficiency virus. J Virol. 88:13722-31.
V. Baumgärtel et al. (2011). Live-cell visualization of dynamics of HIV budding site interactions with an ESCRT component. Nature cell biology 13, 469-474.
J. Chojnacki et al. (2012). Maturation-dependent HIV-1 surface protein redistribution revealed by fluorescence nanoscopy. Science 338, 524-528.
J. Chojnacki and B. Müller (2012) Investigation of HIV-1 assembly and release using modern fluorescence imaging techniques. Traffic 14, 15-24.
B. Müller and M. Heilemann (2013). Shedding new light on viruses: super-resolution microscopy for studying human immunodeficiency virus. Trends in microbiology 21, 522-533
Positions are open immediately, deadline for applications is September 30, 2015.
Please submit your application through the HBIGS international graduate school at Heidelberg University ( http://www.hbigs.uni-heidelberg.de ).
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