PhD position (Genome Stability & DNA Repair): Co-transcriptional repair and transcriptional bypass of DNA damage

Thinking of doing your PhD in Molecular Biology? The International PhD Programme (IPP) on “Epigenetics, Gene Regulation & Genome Stability” is offering talented, young scientists the chance to work at the cutting edge of research. The IPP has a community of exceptional scientists working on diverse topics. These range from how organisms age or how our DNA is repaired, to how epigenetics regulates cellular identity or neural memory. This means that no matter where your PhD project takes you, there is always someone to go to for advice or collaborations.
As part of the IPP, you will be given advanced training, covering skills needed for both research and industry. Access to our state-of-the-art Core Facilities and their technical expertise ensures that you are supported no matter how challenging or expansive your project becomes. Importantly, as an IPP student, you are offered a fully funded position with financing until the completion of your thesis. To help you integrate and settle in Mainz, IPP students organise and run a lively social programme with activities to suit everyone.
The IPP is coordinated by the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB) — a modern research centre located on the bustling campus of Mainz University in Germany. The IPP currently has over 120 energetic students from 30 countries working on innovative research at IMB, Mainz University and its University Medical Centre.
Are you an ambitious, young scientist looking to push back the boundaries of science while interacting with colleagues from multiple disciplines and cultures? Then the IPP is your opportunity to give your scientific career a flying start!

Activities and responsibilities

In the field of “Repair and adverse outcomes of damage in transcribed DNA”, the IPP research group of Dr Andriy Khobta offers the following PhD project:

Co-transcriptional repair and transcriptional bypass of DNA damage

Deficient or aberrant transcriptional bypass of various types of damage in DNA can lead to cytotoxic responses, emerging as a causal factor of degenerative diseases and accelerated ageing. The Khobta lab is combining chemical biology with genetic tools to identify critical repair intermediates and functional overlaps between the repair pathways for specific DNA lesions in human cells.

The scope of this project is the straightforward characterization of molecular events critical for nucleotide excision repair of transcribed genes (TC-NER). To underpin key molecular events of TC-NER, you will induce stalling of elongating transcription complexes at the defined damage site in repair deficient cells, and monitor their remodelling/displacement by mapping their components (Pol II, RNA:DNA hybrid) and characterising the associated proteins by quantitative mass spectrometry (in collaboration with the lab of Falk Butter, IMB, Mainz). Next, you will address roles of the TC-NER pathway components (CSB, CSA, UVSSA, XAB2) in the recognition and processing of transcription complexes arrested at the damage site. Further (in collaboration with Thomas Carell lab, University of Munich), you will compare molecular responses to structurally different DNA lesions in transcribed DNA in order to identify determinants for their processing by the global genome (GG-) versus TC-NER pathways. In parallel, you will investigate the accuracy and efficiency of bypass of these lesions during RNA synthesis in cells. The results will contribute to understanding the links between the TC-NER defects and the associated degenerative diseases.

Qualification profile

Required qualifications
  • Master or equivalent
  • Motivation to work at the forefront of science
  • Interactive personality & good command of English
  • 2 letters of reference


We offer
  • The possibility to work on exciting, multidisciplinary projects using state-of-the-art technology in highly motivated research teams
  • To be part of a lively and international community of about 120 IPP students from 30 countries
  • Numerous opportunities for advanced professional training in scientific knowledge, techniques and professional skills
  • Fully funded positions until completion of thesis
Starting date: 1 August 2019 – 1 February 2020
Duration of stipend/salary: 3 years, with the possibility of extension

Deadline for registration (exclusively online via web form): 22 May 2019

Send application to

Please find all relevant information on the application process at:

Bitte beziehen Sie sich bei Ihrer Bewerbung auf jobvector und geben Sie die folgende Referenznummer an: JV-C17-AK

Über Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH

Our International PhD Programme on the “Gene Regulation, Epigenetics and DNA Damage Response” gives talented and enthusiastic students the opportunity to undertake PhD research at the cutting edge of modern biology. Our groups cover a broad range of expertise and include leading biochemists, geneticists, cell and developmental biologists who study the molecular mechanisms of embryonic...
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