PhD Position - Autophagy in Motor Neuron Disease

Within the project “Validation and Optimization of an iPSC-based Cell Culture System for Studying Presynaptic Autophagy in Motor Neuron Disease“, the Institute for Clinical Neurobiology (University Hospital Würzburg) invites applications for a PhD student. 
We are interested in the molecular mechanisms of motoneuron disease, with a focus on signaling pathways regulating cytoskeletal dynamics, presynaptic function, and axonal autophagy.

Activities and responsibilities

As part of this research project, we aim to establish and optimize an iPSC-based cell culture system for the study of altered autophagy in axon terminals. Channelrhodopsin expressing iPSC-derived motoneurons will be co-cultured with muscle cells to generate functional endplates in vitro, which can optogenetically activated. The establishment and validation of such a cell culture system allows us to model activity-dependent pathogenic mechanisms in motor neuron disease. Using this model system we would like to study the autophagy of synaptic vesicles in iPSCs derived motoneurons from ALS patients. 

For further information, see publications from our group:

Qualification profile

We are looking for a highly motivated PhD student with knowledge in cell- and/or neurobiology and a technical background in cell- and molecular biology (qRT PCR, cloning, ICC and cell culture techniques). The candidate will learn to culture and differentiate iPSCs, apply CRISPR/Cas9-based genome-editing, and use Optogenetics and live-cell imaging to investigate autophagy in motor neurons.


We provide a creative and international enviroment to perform cutting edge research. The PhD candidate will have access to a modern and well-equipped research facility, will work with already available iPSC lines, and will be supported by technical assistance. The project profits from a strong cooperation and knowledge transfer between partner groups and is well embedded in the research focus of the institute.

Applications including the usual documents (CV, certificates, brief statement of research interest, two references) should be sent as a single pdf file to

Send application to

Patrick Lüningschrör
Institute of Clinical Neurobiology
University Hospital Würzburg
Versbacher Str. 5
97078 Würzburg

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Über Institut für Klinische Neurobiologie

The Institute of Clinical Neurobiology provides an attractive and international environment for clinical relevant cutting edge research. We are interested in the molecular mechanisms of motor neuron disease, with a focus on signaling pathways controlling cytoskeletal dynamics, presynaptic function, and the regulation of axonal autophagy.

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