PhD position: Determinants of hepatitis C virus (HCV) resistance to interferon and their relevance for broad resistance to directly acting antivirals

Code: 62/2018



The Institute of Experimental Virology at the TWINCORE - Centre for Experimental and Clinical Infection Research in Hannover, Germany is offering a PhD position. Research Field: Molecular Virology, Supervisor: Professor Thomas Pietschmann /Dr Julie Sheldon.


Project:  HCV triggers type I and type III IFN production in the liver as well as strong induction of interferon stimulated genes. Nevertheless, the virus establishes a chronic infection in most patients, most likely by viral evasion from IFN-mediated antiviral effector mechanisms. We have recently developed an HCV variant with partial resistance to interferon alpha. Our previous results indicate that IFN-resistance is coupled to and increased PKR activation by the virus. In turn, PKR-dependent host translational shut off may cause decreased production of antiviral effectors thereby facilitating virus infection (Perales et al, J.Virol, 2013). The aim of this project is to identify individual viral adaptive changes that confer increased IFN-resistance and which mediate manipulation of PKR function. This work will shed light on key viral innate immune evasion mechanisms and the role of PKR in controlling HCV infection.

The institute:  TWINCORE is a translational centre, which closely links basic and clinical research. Our international and interdisciplinary research group searches for new strategies for the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of viral infectious diseases. We explore basic replication principles of human pathogenic RNA viruses and aim to translate this knowledge into improvements for prevention or treatment of RNA viral infectious diseases.


Candidate:  We are looking for a highly motivated candidate with a strong interest in virus-host interactions. Experience in basic virology, innate immunity and molecular biology and the ability to work independently and rigorously on a complex task will be of advantage. The position is scheduled for 3 years and the successful candidate can be enrolled into a structured PhD program at the Medizinische Hochschule Hannover (MHH).

The hiring is carried out at the Helmholtz Center for Infection Research GmbH in Braunschweig, the place of employment is Hannover.


Twincore Hannover

Research Group

The Handicapped

Qualified applicants with a disability will be given preference.

Special preference toward women


Starting date

This position is available immediately

Contract time limit

Initial contract for 3 years

Probation period

6 months


alike TVöD E13 (65%)

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Applications accepted until  30.09.2018

Applicants are required to complete the online application form here:

Please refer to the job number 62/2018.

For more details regarding the PhD project, please contact Dr Julie Sheldon via e-mail: 

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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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