Two PhDs (f/m/d) -Deciphering the Function and Regulation of the B Cell Intrinsic α2,6-Sialylation Network

The Chair of Genetics, Department of Biology at Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg looks for

Das Aufgabengebiet umfasst

Applicants are invited for two PhD positions in the working group of Prof. Dr. Falk Nimmerjahn and junior scientist Dr. Anja Werner at the Chair of Genetics. The two PhD positions will be part of the second funding period of the DFG-Research Unit FOR2953 “Sialic Acid as Regulator in Development and Immunity”. Glycosylation is an essential post-translational modification and plays a critical role for the stability and function of many proteins. In the first funding period the project focused on the impact of α2,6-linked sialic acid residues on mouse B cell development and function during steady state and activation. This was studied by an in vivo model for a B cell specific knockout of ST6Gal1, the enzyme that adds terminal α2,6-linked sialic acid residues to sugar structures present on antibodies and other cell surface receptors. Using this mouse model allowed to establish that α2,6 sialic acid modulates B cell development and function, that sialylation of IgG antibodies occurs within B cells and not post IgG secretion (as suggested more recently), and that differential effects on IgG class switching during steady state and activation can be observed.

In the second funding period we would like to build on the results of the first funding period and study on a B cell subpopulation and single cell level where and when enzymes determining the level of α2,6-linked protein sialyation are expressed and how different signalling pathways critical for B cell activation and class-switching are affected by a lack of α2,6-linked sialic acid residues (Werner group). The second PhD student will investigate how the phenotypes observed in inbred mouse models can be translated to the human immune system via the generation of humanized mice with a knockdown or knockout of ST6Gal1 in human B cells (Nimmerjahn group).


Notwendige Qualifikationen:

Master degree in biology, molecular medicine, integrated life sciences, etc.

Excellent English skills

High levels of enthusiasm and curiosity

Ability to independently take responsibility over the project

Knowledge in immunology

Wünschenswerte Qualifikationen:

Experience with mice

Practical experience in molecular methods like cell isolation, flow cytometry, cell culture and ELISA

Expertise in next generation sequencing

Ergänzende Beschreibung

Befristetes Forschungsvorhaben


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Veröffentlichungsdatum: 04.01.2023