PhD position - Institute of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology , Index number 79

Universität Ulm


The recently founded Institute of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology is searching to fill the following position as soon as possible

PhD position (50%) in molecular mechanisms of the neurodevelopmental PURA syndrome

PURA syndrome is a recently disordered rare disorder, characterized by neurodevelopmental delay and mental retardation. In 2014, heterozygous mutations in the PURA gene have been shown to cause the PURA syndrome. Since then a patient organization and an international research network has been established. Our group participates in these activities.

Although we have already contributed to the understanding of the PURA syndrome by solving X-ray structures of Pur-alpha, which is the protein product of the PURA gene, we still fail to understand which cellular pathways are affected by the PURA mutations. The announced PhD position will be closely embedded in a team of researchers aiming at elucidating the regulation of and by Pur-alpha.


Your responsibilities are:

  • Establishment and use of antibodies against Pur-alpha to observe differences in expression profiles and levels between wild-type and heterozygous PURA mutant cells. This work will be done in immortalized cell lines as well as in patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells.
  • Establishment of a reporter assay to study how Pur-alpha autoregulates itself and thus dissect differences in expression levels that might be observed.
  • Performing Chromatin Immunoprecipitation (ChIP) followed by DNA sequencing to identify the target genes of the transcription factor Pur-alpha.
  • Performance of qPCR and Western blot analysis to identify differences in downstream pathways between wild-type and PURA-mutant cells.
  • Verification of newly identified interactions between Pur-alpha and its binding partners by biochemical and biophysical approaches (Biacore, ITC, EMSA, pulldown & MS).
  • If time permits, structure determination by Pur-alpha with binding partners by X-ray crystallography

Your profile:

  • Appropriate studies (Master of Science / Diploma) in biochemistry, biology, biotechnology, or related disciplines
  • Expertise in human/mouse cell culture
  • Experience in biochemistry, including Western blotting
  • Substantial knowledge of molecular biology
  • Strong interest and ambition to learn about disease-related regulatory networks and related diseases
  • High motivation, flexibility and teamwork

We offer:

Working with a well-connected and dynamic team in an innovative research area.

Salary is based on the German public service level TV-L E13 (50%).
The position will be on a fixed-term contract.


Please send your application until August 22nd 2018 to Prof. Dr. Dierk Niessing, Institute of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, Ulm, Germany, mail.

The application should contain a motivation letter, CV, short description of the research of your Master’s thesis, and names of people who are willing to provide a recommendation for you.

More information can be found at or website.


Please quote the number 79 in your application.

Physically disabled applicants receive favourable consideration when equally qualified.

The appointment is made by the central university administration.