Job advertisement from January 4th, 2018   vacancy from: January 4th, 2018
Institute of Human Genetics

The Institute of Human Genetics currently offers a

PhD-student position
initially for 2 years, with a possibility for extension, part time 65 % | salary according to TV-L

The PhD-student will work on the project The role of WNT5A and ß-Catenin-independent WNT signaling pathways in rhabdomyosarcoma”. The project is funded by the Wilhelm Sander-Stiftung and can be started in April or May 2018.

Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is the most common pediatric soft tissue sarcoma. RMS are divided by histology and molecular biology in embryonal RMS (ERMS) and in the more aggressive alveolar RMS (ARMS) subtype. We recently showed that the ß-Catenin-interaction partner LEF1 is overexpressed in approximately 50% of RMS and reduces aggressiveness of both ERMS and ARMS. This however does not involve canonical WNT/ß-catenin signaling but upregulation of WNT5A, which is the major ligand of ß-Catenin-independent, noncanonical WNT signaling and which is known for its antagonistic effect on canonical WNT signaling. Since WNT5A is significantly overexpressed in the less aggressive ERMS when compared to ARMS, noncanonical WNT signaling seems to be associated with a more favorable RMS phenotype. Key objectives of the project are to analyze which noncanonical WNT signaling pathways and receptors are activated by WNT5A in RMS. In addition, we will elucidate the role of WNT5A in RMS pathology both in vitro and in vivo. Finally, we will analyze the potential reciprocal influence of tumor-derived WNT5A on the RMS stroma and will analyze, whether WNT5A expressing and activated tumor cells are better or worse eliminated by cytotoxic immune cells. In dependency of the experimental outcome, we will start a preclinical approach using either WNT5A mimetics or RMS-specific chimeric T-cells.

Qualifications and experience:

  • you hold a master or diploma degree in natural science
  • you have experience with cell culture techniques and with methods used in molecular biology
  • experience with murine tumor models will be advantageous
  • you are interested in aspects of signal transduction, tumor genetics and the development of new tumor therapies
  • you have good IT and communication skills in English
  • you are team and goal-oriented

Please send an electronic form of your application including CV; certificate of school education, diploma, master etc.; description of your lab experience; short abstract of your master or diploma work and contact details of two references until the 11th of March 2018 to Prof. Dr. med. Heidi Hahn (, Section Molecular Developmental Genetics (

Women are especially encouraged to apply. Applicants with disabilities and equal qualifications will be given preferential treatment.

We look forward to receiving your application by March 11th, 2018

University Medical Center Göttingen
Institute of Human Genetics
Prof. Dr. med. Heidi Hahn
Section Molecular Developmental Genetics
37099 Göttingen
Tel.: 0551/39-14010
Fax: 0551/39-66580

Please send your application only via e-mail as a PDF-file.

Travel and application fees cannot be refunded or transferred.