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If there is no suitable offer and you have a strong interest, you may send an application including cover letter, CV and certificates to:

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PhD students (f/m/d)

At the IUF, several research groups are working on how environmental and nutritional factors affect the pathophysiology of different organs and of whole organism.  The working group “Mitochondrial adaptive responses in environmentally induced neuronal aging” primarily exploits the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans as a model organism and use state-of-the-art genetic, biochemical and behavioural approaches to address a very exciting and fundamental question:  How environmental and dietary factors influence mitochondrial-associated disorders and aging?

The laboratory of Dr. med Natascia Ventura at the Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine in Düsseldorf is looking for two highly motivated PhD students (f/m/d). The position is to be filled at IUF and can start as early as of October 1st, 2019.

Position and projects

Both projects will primarily (but not only) exploit the nematode C. elegans, an elective model organism for aging and toxicology studies. One of the conserved mechanisms regulating the aging process is partial reduction of mitochondrial function and it is deeply investigated in our laboratory (Schiavi et al., Curr Biol, 2015; Torgovnick*, Schiavi* et al., EMBO Reports, 2018; Maglioni et al. Aging, 2019). We also discovered that reduced expression of a transcription factor - the Aryl-hydrocarbon-Receptor (AhR) - which mediates the toxic effects of high affinity ligands such as xenobiotics, also provides evolutionarily conserved anti-aging effects (Eckers*, Jacob* et al., Sci Rep, 2016). Toxic materials and nutritional interventions may have respectively detrimental or beneficial effects on healthy aging, and both can in principle influence mitochondria activity. The two distinct projects will be addressing (i) the beneficial effects of dietary nutrients or (ii) the toxic effects of pollutant related nanomaterials (e.g. nanoplastics) on mitochondria-regulated aging and associated neuronal pathologies.

The Lab

We are a friendly and international team belonging to the Heinrich Heine University (HHU) and the Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine (IUF) of Duesseldorf. Thanks to the close cooperation between the different groups at the IUF as well as at the HHU and Hospital, we have access to different infrastructures and state-of-the-art facilities and combine cross-disciplinary basic research with applied and translational research. Duesseldorf is a modern international city on the Rhine and the capital of the NRW, with an excellent scientific and cultural environments thanks also to the close vicinity to other vibrant cities (e.g. Cologne and Frankfurt) and states (e.g. France, Nederland, Belgium). Duesseldorf is located in the core of Europe with a big international airport connected daily to all EU and non-EU countries.

Candidate Profile and Responsibilities

The optimal candidate should display:

  • Previous experience with mammalian cell culture biochemistry and molecular techniques;
  • Previous experience with C. elegans genetics and behaviors is a plus (but not mandatory);
  • Excellent social and scientific English communication’ skills (knowledge of German is a plus);
  • Eagerness to work independently by developing novel assays and approaches, as well as part of a team by constructively providing intellectual and technical inputs to the other ongoing laboratory projects.

The positions can start as early as October 2019 and are for 3 years. The weekly working time totals 25 hours and 54 minutes. Remuneration is given in accordance with the provisions of the collective agreement for the employees of the states (TV-L). Salary will be according to TV-L (E13).

Please address your application (incl. letter of motivation, CV, references, qualification certificates), preferably electronically, to:

Natascia Ventura, MD, PhD
IUF – Leibniz-Institut für umweltmedizinische Forschung
c/o Personalstelle
Auf’m Hennekamp 50
40225 Düsseldorf

For more information you can reach us at:
Office: +49 (0)211-3389-203
Lab: +49 (0)211-3389237

Application documents submitted by post are not returned. Documents for applicants not considered are destroyed appropriately once the procedure is complete.

Master student (f/m/d)

The IUF-LIMES liaison group “innate immunity and extrinsic skin aging” offers a position for a Master student (f/m/d).

The position is suitable for a master student in the field of life sciences (biology, toxicology, molecular biomedicine, biochemistry, or similar) who aims to prepare a master’s thesis on immunology of the skin.

You will work on a DFG-funded project dealing with the impact of UV irradiation on the immune response in non-infectious inflammatory skin disorders. Specifically, we are interested in the functions of the transcription factor HIF-1a within the epidermis in a context of allergic skin disease.

Tasks include conventional PCR, primary cell isolation and culture, flow cytometry, histology, qPCR, Western blot, ELISA and related skills. Experience in any of these methods and their analysis will be a benefit. You are curious for doing basic research and are able to work as a responsible team member.

We offer a friendly and supportive working environment in close collaboration with other research groups within the interdisciplinary infrastructure of the IUF.

Please address your application (as one single pdf file) and any questions you may have, preferably via E-mail, to

Dr. rer. nat. Sonja Faßbender
IUF – Leibniz-Institut für umweltmedizinische Forschung
Auf’m Hennekamp 50
40225 Düsseldorf

Application documents submitted by post are not returned. Documents for applicants not considered are destroyed appropriately once the procedure is complete.

Master Thesis position

The research group of Prof. Dr. Ellen Fritsche offers a Master Thesis position. Topic: 3D Bioprinting for Substance Development.

Toxicological screening is crucial for safety assessment of compounds, i.e. chemicals and pharmaceuticals. In line with the paradigm shift in toxicology, in vitro tests based on human cells are thought to be a predictive alternative to the apical animal testing that is currently still the gold standard for hazard assessment. To produce human cell-based neural in vitro systems for neurotoxicity testing is a challenge, especially due to the complexity of the human brain. One issue that needs tackling is the generation of neuronal networks for compound testing that can be produced stably and reproducibly in a relative short period of time in a multi-well format. The so far established networks using e.g. embryonic or induced pluripotent stem cells have a high variability and take a very long time to establish.

Therefore, in an interdisciplinary approach, the 3D bioprinting technology shall be used to fabricate hydrogel-based neuronal networks based on human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived neurons and glia cells for neurotoxicity in vitro testing. These organoid structures are thought to mimic human in vivo neuronal functions and are thus of interest for industrial medium-throughput applications.

For this challenging project, we seek for a highly motivated individual who has experience either with hydrogel preparation/characterization, stem cells, tissue engineering, 3D cell culture, or molecule crosslinking techniques. Ideally students of Biochemistry or Biomedical Engineering, or others with expertise in the mentioned research fields are welcome. Knowledge in Neurosciences, fluorescence imaging, IT affinity, and previous working experiences with cell cultures is a plus. We expect a team player with an outstanding commitment and fun at work. We offer an interdisciplinary and industrially funded project in Applied Science, an intensive on-the-job training, and a stimulating working atmosphere. Starting date is from December 2018.

Please send your application as one PDF file incl. cover/motivation letter and your CV to:


IUF – Leibniz-Institut für umweltmedizinische Forschung gGmbH

Dr. rer. nat. Ines Lauria

Auf’m Hennekamp 50

40225 Düsseldorf

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