PhD position: Control of immunological synapse formation and responses in regulatory and conventional T cells

Code: 67/2018



The research group Cellular Proteomics of the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) in Braunschweig is offering a PhD position: Control of immunological synapse formation and responses in regulatory and conventional T cells.


The research group Cellular Proteomics focuses on the identification of novel mechanisms that control immune responses. We have long-term expertise in molecular phenotyping of primary immune cell subsets including NK cells, MAIT cells and regulatory T cells (Treg) and are particularly interested in the molecular organization of immunological synapses (IS). Our studies encompass accurate mass spectrometry and proteome techniques, e.g. for investigations of signalling pathways, but also flow cytometry, molecular biology (CRISPR/Cas9) and advanced microscopy for functional studies of identified candidates (for details see The planned PhD thesis project is part of a collaborative research centre (; project B16) funded by the German Research Foundation, in which we study T cell receptor (TCR) signaling and responses at the IS. We recently discovered the TCR-dependent regulation of molecular transport at the Treg-specific IS and are now characterizing how the identified regulators control immune responses (van Ham et al., Eur. J. Immunol. 47:2043).

The PhD candidate will analyze the transport of signaling components towards the IS and in particular will characterize newly identified effector microvesicles (MVs) that are transexocytosed at the IS from T cells to antigen-presenting cells. State-of-the-art-proteomics (SILAC, BONCAT) as well as high resolution microscopy (3D-EM) will allow you to determine the inventory of these MVs and you will interfere their transport (e.g. by mutants & selective transport inhibitors) to alter immune responses and potentially Tregs’ suppressive capacity. In cooperation with the Department Experimental Immunology at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, the relevance of these mechanisms will be determined both in vitro and in vivo by using established mouse models. The overall aim of this project is to understand and to target vesicle transport at the T cell IS in order to control immunity.


We seek a highly motivated PhD candidate for our team having a strong background in molecular immunology. She or he should be fascinated by T cell biology and proteomics, experienced in or willing to learn protein analytics by mass spectrometry and interested to work in an interdisciplinary team. Existing expertise in molecular biology (e.g. CRISPR-Cas9, imaging techniques, multi-colour flow cytometry or mouse models) will be valued.


Headquarter Braunschweig

Research Group

The Handicapped

Qualified applicants with a disability will be given preference.

Starting date

1st December 2018 or later

Contract time limit

Initial contract for 3 years

Probation period

6 months


alike TVöD E13 (65%)

Published on


Applications accepted until  08.11.2018

Applicants are required to complete the online application form here: (Please select Job No. 67/2018).

For more details regarding the position, please contact Prof. Dr. Lothar Jänsch via email:, or by phone: +49 531 6181-3030.

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HZI International Graduate School

The HZI International Graduate School for Infection Research (GS-FIRE) provides an innovative structured PhD programme within the field of Infection Research.

PhD programme “Epidemiology”

The PhD programme “Epidemiology” is a three-year doctoral programme in the area of epidemiological research and is coordinated by the Department of Epidemiology of the HZI.

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