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PhD Position (m/f)

The University Hospital Heidelberg is one of the major healthcare centers in Germany. Our objective is the development of innovative diagnostics and therapies as well as their quick implementation for the patient. With about 10,000 employees in more than 50 specialized clinical departments with roughly 1,900 beds, about 66,000 patients in part-time and full-time inpatient treatment as well as 1,000,000 patients in ambulant treatment are medicated each year.

The Department of Dermatology is offering one

PhD Position (m/f)

Project supervisor:
Schäkel, Knut

Application deadline: 15 April 2016

Start of PhD project: 01 May 2016

Title: Immune complex mediated and IgG Fc receptor dependent recruitment of leukocytes into the skin

Summary: The rapid and coordinated recruitment of leukocytes to the skin is a prerequisite for the initiation of antimicrobial immune defense and autoimmune inflammatory responses. The interaction of immune complexes (IC) with corresponding FcRs, primarily expressed on effector immune cells, is a crucial step in IC-triggered activation of immune responses and contributes to the development and severity of autoimmune diseases such as glomerulonephritis, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erytematosus, autoimmune vasculitis and autoimmune blistering diseases.

We have previously reported that immobilized ICs mediate the capture of 6-Sulfo LacNAc dendritic cells (slanDC) under physiological vascular flow. slanDC are a distinct subset of blood dendritic cells (DC) that are equipped with two IC receptors FcgRIIIa and FcgRII. Our data showed that the capture of slanDC by IC is mediated by FcgRIIIa. Moreover, we have evidence that activated slanDC are present in IC-mediated diseases like cutaneous vasculitis and lupus nephritis. Therefore the goal this project is to unravel the role of IC/FcgR-mediated processes in the modulation of leukocyte migration into inflamed skin.

Thus the PhD candidate will characterize relevant parameters of IC that induce migration of FcgRIII expressing cells, the signal transduction via FcgR that induces dynamic cytoskeletal reorganization involved in leukocyte locomotion. Mouse models for IC-mediated skin inflammation and antibody-mediated blistering diseases will help to unravel the pathophysiologic relevance of our findings in autoimmunity.

For more information on our group, see: https://www.klinikum.uni-heidelberg.de/Labor-Prof-Schaekel.138141.0.html

References: Döbel T, Kunze A, Babatz J, Tränkner K, Ludwig A, Schmitz M, Enk A, Schäkel K: FcγRIII (CD16) equips immature 6-sulfo LacNAc-expressing dendritic cells (slanDCs) with a unique capacity to handle IgG-complexed antigens. Blood. 2013 (18) 3609-18.

Methods that will be used: Isolation of human blood cells and murine cells, migration assay, cell culture, transfection, FACS, protein biochemistry, western blotting, immunofluorescence, ELISA, animal models etc.

Cooperation partners: The project is a part of the Collaborative Research Center/ SFB Transregio156 “The skin as sensor and effector organ, orchestrating local and systemic immunity” and will involve collaborations with members of this SFB from Universities Heidelberg, Mainz and Tübingen.


Keywords: immune complex, FcgR, signalling pathway, leukocyte migration

Personal qualifications: Successful candidates are expected to be highly motivated and passionate for pursuing academic careers, have a diploma/master's degree in life sciences. Candidates must have a strong background in immunology. Prior experience with human cells and animal handling is desirable but not indispensable. The ideal candidate should be willing to learn and establish novel techniques. He/she should be able to work independently as well as in a team, be well organized and have excellent written and spoken English skills. PhD student will be encouraged to present data at internal and external meetings.

More information for application: http://www.hbigs.uni-heidelberg.de/main_application.html

Universitätsklinikum Heidelberg
Prof. Dr. med. Knut Schäkel 

We stand for equal opportunities for women and men. Severely handicapped with the same eligibility will be given priority.

How to apply:
More information for application: http://www.hbigs.uni-heidelberg.de/main_application.html
Kontakt für Bewerbungen
Universitätsklinikum Heidelberg
Prof. Dr. med. Knut Schäkel
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Über Universitätsklinikum Heidelberg

Das Universitätsklinikum Heidelberg ist eines der bedeutendsten medizinischen Zentren in Deutschland und steht für die Entwicklung innovativer Diagnostik und Therapien sowie ihre rasche Umsetzung für den Patienten. Mit rund 10.000 Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeitern in mehr als 50 klinischen Fachabteilungen mit ca. 1.900 Betten werden jährlich rund 66.000 Patienten voll-...

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