Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
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Hecker_Ullrich0119 - Scientist (f/m) / PhD position
Project no:

Project leader:

Project supervisor:
Hecker, Markus
Application deadline:
30. Apr 2019
Start of PhD project:
1. Jun 2019

Project description:

Structural and functional maturation of stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes
The team of Dr. Nina Ullrich, group head in the Department of Cardiovascular Physiology (Prof. Dr. Markus Hecker) works on the identification of specific environmental cues and molecular processes that regulate the maturation of stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes. Special stem cell culturing procedures and conditions, cutting-edge electrophysiology recording, imaging and molecular biology techniques carried out with state-of-the-art equipment form the methodological basis of the investigations.
Aim of the PhD research project is the development of novel strategies for stem cell-derived cardiomyocyte differentiation and in vitro maturation. The main focus will be on the identification and modulation of cell-environment interactions and further analysis of the structural adaptations of the cardiogenic phenotype by modern imaging methods. Furthermore, the remodeling processes will be analysed at the molecular and functional level. Cellular mechanisms of contraction, in particular calcium signaling pathways and cell-cell communication of these newly generated cardiac cells, will be investigated. At this level, subcellular mechanisms underlying cardiac excitation-contraction coupling will be studied, with the long-term perspective of using these cells to develop novel biomedical strategies for the prevention of heart failure in the future.
Marcu I. et al., Stem Cells 2015;
Kucera J.P. et al., Front Cell Dev Biol 2015
Sottas V. et al., J Mol Cell Cardiol 2018
Methods that will be used:
• special cell culture techniques for primary/established animal and human cell lines (incl. single cells and multi-cellular preparations for tissue engineering)
• electrophysiological methods (patch clamp technique)
• confocal microscopy and imaging techniques (live-cell imaging, immunocytochemistry)
• molecular biology and biochemistry (PCR, Western blot)

Cooperation partners:
• Prof. Dr. Martin Bastmeyer, KIT, Karlsruhe
• PD Dr. Patrick Schweizer, University Hospital Heidelberg
• PD Dr. Dierk Thomas, University Hospital Heidelberg
Personal qualifications:
• Master or diploma in biology, biophysics or related life science discipline
• Strong background in cell biology and/or electrophysiology and optics and willingness to acquire new necessary skills
• Strong background in statistical methods
• Experience in data analysis and basic programming skills
• Excellent communication, writing and organizational skills, team-minded
stem cells, cardiac cell physiology, development, excitation-contraction coupling, gap junctions, electrophysiology, Ca2+ imaging