PhD Student position in Immunology

Updated: about 2 hours ago

21.05.2024, Wissenschaftliches Personal

Topic: Dissecting the body-wide spatio-temporal organisation of human resident T helper cells Current immunomodulatory drugs act systemically, but lack tissue specificity. Despite progress in the temporary suppression of chronic inflammatory diseases, they still fail to be curative. This project aims to address this unmet medical need by generating fundamental insights into the dynamic distribution patterns of human tissue resident T helper cells across space and time.

Topic: Dissecting the body-wide spatio-temporal organisation of human resident T helper cells

T helper cells represent a heterogeneous population of immune cells that are critical for host defense and, if dysregulated, for pathologies such as autoimmunity and allergy. T cell responses take place in peripheral tissues. Yet, insights into their identity and regulation stem almost exclusively from investigations of circulating blood, which comprises only 2% of the total human T cell population. Accordingly, current immunomodulatory drugs act systemically, but lack tissue specificity. Despite progress in the temporary suppression of chronic inflammatory diseases, they still fail to be curative. This project aims to address this unmet medical need by generating fundamental insights into the dynamic compartmentalisation of human tissue resident T helper cells across space and time.

Our interdisciplinary team has established a surgical patient cohort for the collection of multi-organ tissue samples and a cohort of patients after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT) that enables tracking T cell tissue entry and exit over time in matched organs by single-cell chimerism analysis. Using multimodal state-of-the-art technologies and specialized high-throughput cell culture methodologies in these two unique patient cohorts, the project will dissect 1) the phenotypic, functional and transcriptional identity and molecular regulation of human resident T helper cells across tissues, 2) the compartmentalisation of their antigen specificities across tissues, 3) the dynamics of tissue entry, persistence and exit for distinct T helper cell types in space and time, and will then 4) exploit chimeric host/donor T cell-tracking to gain novel insights into the cellular and molecular pathways underlying graft-versus-host disease. Overall, this project will establish first-of-its-kind insights into the spatio-temporal dynamic organisation of human T cell immunity in tissues. This will bring the next generation of immunotherapies to the level of tissue specificity.

The department of Infection Immunology addresses fundamental questions about the mechanistic basis of the human immunological memory. We investigate T-cell communication with the local tissue microenvironment in settings of infections, autoimmunity and cancer. This research has unraveled several novel T-cell functions and immunomodulatory factors (de Almeida et al. Sci Immunol 2022, Chao et al. Nat Immunol 2023). We use novel cutting-edge technologies in the area of high-dimensional single-cell analysis and within the LPI network (scRNAseq, spectral flow cytometry) to translate fundamental insights into translational applications for human health and disease. We are seeking highly motivated candidates that are interested to investigate the regulation of human tissue resident T-cells and their crosstalk with the microenvironment.
Candidate´s profile:
• Doctoral degree in Life Sciences or in Computational Biology
• Experience in flow cytometry, cell culture and in high-dimensional single-cell data analysis and programming skills are a plus
• Organizational skills and meticulous experimentation practices
• Great enthusiasm for translational science
• Ability to perform team-oriented as well as independent work
• Very good communication and writing skills are necessary
We offer:
• A modern workplace in a brand-new building, with top equipment (Cytek Aurora Spectral Analyzer and Sorter, single-cell sequencing etc.)
• A cutting-edge highly funded research project in immunology
• A highly dynamic international young team in a thriving research environment in a Leibniz Institute with many large collaborative projects such as the Cluster of Excellence Balance of the Microverse and participation in six DFG-funded Collaborative Research Centers (SFB1054)
• Participation in structured mentoring programs
The successful candidate will be hosted in the department of Infection Immunology headed by Prof. Christina Zielinski. We offer a multifaceted scientific project with excellent technical facilities, a place in a dynamic, committed team, as well as strong local, national and international scientific collaborations.
The Leibniz-HKI is embedded in the outstanding scientific environment of the Beutenberg Campus, in particular the LPI, providing state-of-the-art research facilities and a highly integrative network of life science groups.
Salary is paid through the Excellence Strategy of the German federal and state governments according to German TV-L (salary agreement for public service employees). As an equal opportunity employer, the Leibniz-HKI is committed to increasing the percentage of female scientists and therefore especially encourages them to apply.
For further information:
Prof. Dr. Christina Zielinski | +49 3641 532 1251 | [email protected] | www.zielinskilab.com
Applications:
Complete applications in English should include a cover letter, a CV containing a complete list of publications, a brief statement of research experiences, the addresses of two possible referees, and should be submitted via email to Prof. Zielinski ([email protected])


The position is suitable for disabled persons. Disabled applicants will be given preference in case of generally equivalent suitability, aptitude and professional performance.


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Kontakt: [email protected]



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