PhD Student (m/f/d) Hamburg

By Deutsche Gesellschaft für Parasitologie


Dezember 1, 2020

The Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine ( is the largest Research Institute
for Tropical Medicine in Germany and is the National Reference Centre for Tropical Pathogens, a WHO
Collaborating Centre and member of the Leibniz Research Association.
The Arbeitsgruppe Breloer “Helminth Immunology” at BNITM in Hamburg studies the protective immune
response to parasitic nematodes in the mouse system.

In the frame of the DFG funded project: Role of the C-type lectin receptor MINCLE in Strongyloides
ratti recognition and anti-helminth immune responses we are looking for a highly motivated

PhD Student (m/f/d)
– 65% EG 13 TV-AVH –

Description of the project:

The mammalian immune system protects us against a plethora of different pathogenic
infections, which require a carefully balanced immune response to be efficiently
controlled. C-type lectin receptors (CLR) represent an ancient family of pattern recognition
receptors (PRR) and are involved in both, the recognition of pathogens and the initiation and
shaping of appropriate immune responses. Helminth parasites, which still infect ca. 2
billion humans worldwide, have evolved sophisticated mechanisms to avoid their
immune-driven elimination by active modulation of their host immune system. Here, we intend
to investigate the role of the Macrophage-inducible C-type lectin receptor (MINCLE) during
Strongyloides ratti infection, a model of human hookworm infection, focusing on
helminth-induced immune modulation. In preliminary experiments, we recorded binding
and activation of MINCLE by S. ratti lysate, thus indicating the presence of
agonistic MINCLE ligands. Binding of S. ratti-derived ligands to MINCLE was biologically
relevant since MINCLE-deficient mice displayed a decreased intestinal parasite burden accompanied
by an increased production of type 2 associated cytokines during S. ratti infection. While immune
modulating functions for MINCLE were shown by several groups during fungal and protist
parasite infection, there is a gap of knowledge regarding the role of MINCLE during helminth
infections. Employing the established S. ratti infection model, we aim to identify the immune
effectors that are modulated by MINLCE-mediated signalling. Analysing the stimulatory capacity
and the activation status of APC that will be activated in the presence of
helminth-derived MINCLE ligands in vitro, we intend to elucidate the underlying molecular
mechanisms. In summary, we expect to unravel a novel pathway of helminth-mediated
immune evasion via engagement of MINCLE.

Your profile:
• Very good Diploma/Master degree in Biology or life sciences
• Strong interest in pursuing a scientific career and obtaining a PhD at the University Hamburg
(Dr. rer. nat.)
• Excellent teamwork and communication skills
• Willing to perform infection experiments in the mouse system
• Good command of English (written and spoken)
• Able to work independently, creatively and to take responsibility for your work
• Practical experience in immunology, cell culture, Flow cytometry is an advantage

Our benefits:
• An interesting and challenging job in a modern research institution
• Integration into an open-minded and motivated team
• Opportunities for further education and training
• Integration into the structured PhD program of the BNITM
• A central location at the Landungsbrücken, which is easily accessible by public transport
• 30 days holidays per year
• Flexible and family-friendly working hours
• Subsidy for HVV-ProfiTicket
• Special conditions in selected sports and fitness clubs in Hamburg


Starting date will be beginning of March 2021 or later. The position is limited to 3 years and is
remunerated according to the rules of the public service under the TV-AVH (collective agreement of
the “Arbeitsrechtliche Vereinigung Hamburg“).
We support our employees in achieving a work-life balance and promote the professional equality of
women and men. We strive to assist women in their scientific career, increase the number of women
in research and reduce under-representation in all areas and positions in general. Applicants with
disabilities will be given preference when equally qualified.
Please apply by 15th of Feb 2021 preferably via our online form
mfd-65-EG-13-TV-AVH–eng-f126.html with the documents required: motivation letter, CV, high school
and university certificates and the name and contact information of two references.
Alternatively, you can submit your application referring to „PhD Breloer“ via postal mail to:
Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine, Mr. Carsten Schaible, HR Department,
Bernhard-Nocht-Str. 74, 20359 Hamburg, Germany.
If you have any questions regarding the application process or the selection procedure, please
contact Mr. Carsten Schaible from the Human Resources Department (
For further questions regarding the scientific project please contact Prof. Dr. Minka Breloer
(, Tel. +49 (0) 40 42818-830). 


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