The Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association (MDC) is one of the world’s leading biomedical research institutions. At the locations in Berlin-Buch and Mitte, researchers from some 60 countries analyze the human system – investigating the biological foundations of life from its most elementary building blocks to systems-wide mechanisms. Patients should benefit as soon as possible from our basic research discoveries. The MDC therefore supports spin-off creation and participates in collaborative networks. It works in close partnership with Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin in the jointly run Experimental and Clinical Research Center (ECRC), the Berlin Institute of Health at Charité, and the German Center for Cardiovascular Research. The MDC today employs 1,600 people and is funded 90 percent by the German federal government and 10 percent by the State of Berlin.
The research group “Proteome Research and Molecular Mechanisms of Neurodegenerative Diseases” of Prof. Erich Wanker at the Max Delbrück Center in Berlin, is currently offering the position of Postdoctoral Researcher (m/f) with a focus on protein-protein-interaction research in Huntington’s disease.
The main objective of our work is to understand the pathomechanisms of neurodegenerative disorders such as Huntington's and Alzheimer’s disease. One focus of our work lies in the analysis of protein-protein interactions and their relevance to disease. To advance the possibilities of interactomics, we are constantly developing new detection approaches for binary interactions. After seminal studies using the Yeast-2-Hybrid system (Stelzl et al. 2005, Cell, doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2005.08.029), we have established innovative methods to detect PPIs in mammalian cells with quantitative readouts, like the LuTHy assay (Trepte et al. 2018, Molecular Systems Biology, doi: https://doi.org/10.15252/msb.20178071), or a FRET-based aggregate seeding assay (Ast et al. 2018, Molecular Cell, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.molcel.2018.07.032).
Postdoctoral Position Interactomics of Huntington's Disease
We are looking for a highly motivated, highly skilled junior scientist with a keen interest in protein-protein-interaction studies and the molecular mechanisms of Huntington's disease.
Currently, we are working on a detailed, quantitative interaction map for the full-length huntingtin protein that will contain information on binding domains, affinities, and the impact of the mutation leading to Huntington’s disease. We are developing approaches to measure interactions endogenously in the cell and employ CRISPR-based genome editing to advance binary interactomics and unravel new disease biology. In particular, we want to answer questions like: Which known or newly detected PPIs of huntingtin can be confirmed in the cellular environment? Which interactors might be relevant targets for therapy? Does new quantitative and mechanistic information fundamentally change our view of huntingtin function?
Working in a highly motivated team of scientists and technicians, the successful candidate’s task will be to investigate the specific molecular function of selected huntingtin protein complexes. Gaining a clear picture of the functional connections with huntingtin will be the main aim. Individual, highly promising interactions will be investigated for their role in the disease and their value as targets for therapy. Understanding the effects of mutations on interactome networks and cellular processes will also be a central endeavor. Interaction screenings, partly with automated systems, are a relevant technical aspect of the project.
Your tasks will include:
- Comprehensive characterization of protein interactions and complexes with a variety of biochemical, cellular and molecular biology approaches
- Mammalian-cell-based interaction screening using various methods like FRET/BRET, co-IPs
- Interaction testing with the yeast-2-hybrid system
- Classical and Gateway cloning
- Yeast and mammalian cell culture
- Genome engineering using CRISPR
- Analysis of the composition of mutant huntingtin aggregates
- Data analysis using bioinformatics tools
- Managing collaborations
- Visiting and presenting at project meetings and conferences
- Writing reports, grant proposals, and peer-reviewed publications
- Mentoring junior scientists, students, and technicians
- Managing milestone-driven projects
- Doctoral degree in molecular biology, biochemistry, cell biology, or other relevant disciplines with a solid theoretical and experimental skills base in molecular biology, biochemistry, and cell culture, proven by first-author publications
- Bioinformatics skills
- Experience with automated high-throughput screening technologies is not essential but advantageous
- High motivation to acquire and develop new techniques and workflows
- High ambition to achieve, also with regard to writing papers and grant proposals; resilience, flexibility
- Leadership skills and ability to work in a team
- Independent, well-organized, and reliable work style.
- International working environment with communication in English and German
- Interesting career opportunities and a comprehensive range of qualification and further training opportunities
- Compatibility of family and career certified by the berufundfamilie audit
- Varied support for "New Berliners" (Welcome & Family Office)
- Company health management with fitness center
You will benefit from:
- A stimulating, ambitious, and nurturing academic environment in an internationally leading research group in network biology and Huntington’s disease
- Comprehensive opportunities for your scientific and personal development at an internationally competitive and highly visible research center in Berlin
- State-of-the-art research facilities, including semi-automated and automated robotic systems for yeast-, DNA- and cell culture-based interaction studies
- Collaboration with basic and clinical researchers locally, nationally, and internationally
- Travel to prestigious conferences
- Remuneration in accordance with the collective agreement for the federal public service (TVöD-Bund), with public and company pension schemes
- Flexible working hours and childcare support
- A green campus, easily accessible by bicycle, public transport, or car
- Subsidy for public transport card, discount in the campus canteen
- Additional health benefits
- The possibility of mobile working - also independent of the Corona situation
- Free use of Nextbike from the city train station to campus