Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
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Kraeusslich0119 - Scientist (f/m) / PhD position
Project no:

Project leader:

Project supervisor:
Kräusslich, Hans-Georg
Application deadline:
31. Aug 2019
Start of PhD project:
1. Oct 2019

Project description:

Cell-to-cell transfer of influenza A virus in cell culture and organoids
The Department of Infectious Diseases, Virology at the University Hospital Heidelberg, Germany offers positions for PhD students working on Cell-to-cell transfer of influenza A virus in cell culture and organoids in the group of Prof. Dr. Hans-Georg Kräusslich and within the framework of the DFG-funded collaborative research center 1129 (

Type A influenza viruses (IAV) bud from the apical surface of polarized epithelial cells. Different IAV strains exhibit spherical or filamentous morphology with clinical specimens mostly being filamentous. IAV enters its target cell mostly via clathrin-mediated endocytosis, but also by macropinocytosis. This is followed by fusion from acidic endosomes. Several host factors, including proteins and membrane sphingolipids, have been implicated in supporting and restricting IAV infection, but their mechanisms of action are only partly known, and the route of entry for filamentous IAV is largely unexplored. This project will apply state-of-the-art confocal and super-resolution microscopy as well as correlative light and electron microscopy (CLEM) to gain a better understanding on IAV entry and spread. Besides established cell culture systems for IAV, this work will also include infection of primary respiratory cells and of 3D lung organoids of human origin. This will be complemented by collaborations on structural analyses of IAV using cryo-EM and on physico-chemical parameters of the endocytic cell-virus machinery.

We offer interesting, interdisciplinary research topics with biomedical relevance in an interactive scientific environment, including collaborations with national and international partners, at an internationally competitive level.

We are looking forward to meet candidates motivated by true scientific curiosity, who enjoy working independently, but also love to interact, discuss and collaborate with scientists from different disciplines and nations.
Methods that will be used:
Virus preparation and characterization; tissue culture; organoid preparation and culture; fluorescence microscopy (confocal, SPIM, STED); cryoEM; correlative microscopy
Cooperation partners:
Petr Chlanda (Bioquant, Heidelberg); John Briggs (LMB Cambridge); Britta Brügger (BZH Heidelberg).
Personal qualifications:
Applicants should have a Master degree (biology, biochemistry, possibly biophysics or molecular medicine). They should be interested in addressing basic virological questions using different methods with a very strong focus on imaging techniques. A good background in standard molecular biological methods is expected. Ideal candidates would already have some experience in fluorescence microscopy and image analysis, together with a background in cell biology, biochemistry or biophysics.
Influenza virus, virus entry, fluorescence imaging, cell-cell transmission, organoid, virus assembly