PhD position (E13 TV-L, 65%) – Host-pathogen interactions and cell biomechanics

Updated: 2 months ago
Location: Germany,
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 20 Dec 2021

The Cluster of Excellence “Controlling Microbes to Fight Infections” (CMFI) in the Interfaculty

Institute of Microbiology & Infection Medicine (IMIT) at the University of Tübingen is

looking to fill one PhD position (E13 TV-L, 65%) as part of Junior Group Leader Dr. Effie Bastounis’

research group. The earliest starting date for this position will be on 01.02.2022. The

position is funded for a period of 3 years at least. The available position focuses on exploring

the role of intra- and extra-cellular physical forces in driving intracellular bacterial spread

through infected epithelia.

During infection with the food-borne intracellular bacterial pathogen L. monocytogenes, large

infected domains in epithelial cell monolayers are forced to extrude to form 3D mounds due

to the collective and cooperative onslaught triggered by their uninfected neighbors. This mechanical

competition between uninfected and bacterially-infected cells is driven by innate immunity

signals and appears to limit pathogen dissemination through the epithelium (Bastounis

et al, Developmental Cell, 2021). The project seeks to investigate how signaling and cytoskeletal dynamics

correlate with changes in host cell mechanics during intracellular bacterial spread through

epithelial monolayers. We also want to understand the contribution of extracellular mechanical

cues (extracellular matrix stiffness) in promoting or obstructing this biomechanical battle

in favor of the host.

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