PhD Position in Effects of thyroid hormone on adipocyte-brain-crosstalk

The Graduiertenkolleg 1957 “Adipocyte-Brain Crosstalk” was established in 2014 with the funding from the German Research Foundation. It aims at providing structured doctoral training at the interface of neuroscience, biology and translational medicine. The DFG-funded Graduiertenkolleg 1957 “Adipocyte-Brain Crosstalk” studies the effects of adipose tissue hormones on CNS function and, in turn, the control of adipose tissue physiology by the brain. We are looking for highly motivated candidates for the following PhD project (supervisors in brackets). Tentative start: May 2020. Earlier start date from January 2020 could be discussed with the PIs in the interview.

Activities and responsibilities

Supervisor: Prof. Jens Mittag / Dr. Alexander Iwen, Medical Clinic I, Molecular Endocrinology Group

Project Description:

Thyroid hormone is an important mediator of body temperature, as seen in hyperthyroid patients that are heat sensitive and have higher body temperature. Our recent study has revealed that the hormone has direct effects in the thermogenic brown and beige fat, but also acts in the brain to elevate the body temperature setpoint. In this project, we aim to dissect the actions of the hormone on brown fat thermogenesis to understand when the tissue specific actions are important and under which conditions the brain actions prevail for the regulation of body temperature. We will employ combinations of pharmacological experiments, genetically modified mice, alteration of gene expression in the brain using adeno-associated virus in combination with cold exposure and finally studies with human volunteers to better understand the mechanisms that govern body temperature regulation.

Experimental Methods:
  • Working with genetically modified mice (knock-out mice), including breeding strategies
  • Pharmacological induction of hypo- and hyperthyroidism in mice
  • Stereotaxic delivery of adeno-associated virus carrying transgenes to modulate thyroid hormone signaling in the brain
  • Phenotyping of mice including measurement of thermogenesis by e.g. infrared thermography, energy expenditure and body weight
  • Brown fat tissue explants cell culture
  • Studies with human volunteers and thyroid hormone administration (orally, intranasally) and recordings of sympathetic/parasympathetic activity, temperature measurements, energy expenditure, lipid profiling
  • RNA extraction, cDNA synthesis, qPCR, Western Blot, Chromatin Immunoprecipitation, luciferase assays

Qualification profile

  • Research-based master’s degree or equivalent (e.g. diploma) passed with an above-average grade in neuroscience, biology, biochemistry, molecular life science, nutrition & biomedicine, pharmacology or a related subject (if you are working on the master thesis and expect to graduate until end of 2019/beginning of 2020, you can still apply - please state it in your motivation letter and upload the transcript to date)
  • Excellent English language skills in speaking and writing
  • Pro-active attitude, good communication skills and ability to work independently in an interdisciplinary team

We offer

  • 3-year employment contract, salaries according to German civil service tariff (TV-L 13, 65%)
  • All research groups are located at the Center of Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM) with state-of-the-art lab facilities incl. MRT scanner, metabolic core unit, LC-MS, microscopy
  • Comprehensive academic support, e.g. project-specific courses, soft skills training, funding for research stays abroad and international conferences, individual career coaching
  • Relaxed life style in city of Lübeck among many UNESCO World Heritage sites and directly on the Baltic Sea coastline and part of the Metropolitan area of Hamburg, Germany's second largest city and home to a wide range of cultural and leisure attractions

Send application to

Application deadline: 30.10.2019

The complete application should include
  • a letter of motivation
  • a detailed CV
  • master's degree certificate AND transcript
  • a summary of the master thesis
  • bachelor's degree certificate AND transcript
  • two letters of recommendation (if you do not have the letters immediately available, please give us the contact details of two referees)
Documents issued in a language other than English or German must be translated into English AND certified by a public notary/German Consulate with an official seal.

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Über University of Lübeck

Welcome at the GRK1957 "Adipocyte-Brain Crosstalk"Our DFG funded  Graduiertenkolleg 1957  offers focused research projects and a structured training programme. In an interdisciplinary research approach we address the effects of hormones derived from adipose tissue (adipokines) on CNS function and, in turn, the control of adipose tissue and body weight by the brain. ...
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