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Cha­rité, Uni­ver­si­täts­me­di­zin Ber­lin

12 PhD pos­i­tions in the Research Train­ing Group “TJ-Train” (GRK2318)

“TJ-Train” offers 10 PhD pos­i­tions at Char­ité, 1 PhD pos­i­tion at Max Del­brück Cen­ter for Molecu­lar Medi­cine (MDC) Ber­lin, and 1 PhD pos­i­tion at Leib­niz-Insti­tute for Molecu­lar Phar­ma­co­logy (FMP) Ber­lin

Work­ing field:

The Research Train­ing Group TJ-Train aims at ana­lyz­ing dif­fer­ent aspects of tight junc­tions in 3 dis­tinct pro­ject areas.

The tight junc­tion (TJ) con­nects neigh­bour­ing epi­thelial or endothelial cells and is the cent­ral ele­ment of bar­rier func­tion, as it con­trols para­cel­lu­lar pas­sage of solutes and water. The TJ pro­tein com­pos­i­tion var­ies greatly in dif­fer­ent tis­sues and determ­ines the tight­ness and select­ive per­meab­il­ity. TJs under­lie extens­ive extra- and intra­cel­lu­lar sig­nal­ing, but also reg­u­late epi­thelial func­tions and cel­lu­lar dif­fer­en­ti­ation. Fur­ther­more, numer­ous TJ pro­teins serve as recept­ors for cer­tain patho­gens. Thus, TJ pro­teins are involved in the patho­gen­esis of numer­ous dis­eases. Alter­a­tions in TJ com­pos­i­tion and archi­tec­ture may cause for instance unwanted leak flux or anti­gen pas­sage and may thus main­tain dis­ease activ­ity or even dir­ectly trig­ger dis­ease onset.

Pro­ject area A is focused on basic research on struc­ture and func­tion of TJ pro­teins, which provides the require­ment for under­stand­ing TJ devel­op­ment and reg­u­la­tion and its role in patho­gen­esis of dis­eases. The invest­ig­a­tions on struc­ture and func­tion of TJ molecules com­prise state-of-the-art molecu­lar bio­lo­gical tech­niques, advanced elec­tro­physiolo­gical meth­ods, water trans­port meas­ure­ments, and super res­ol­u­tion micro­scopy.

A1 Imped­ance spec­tro­scopy of epi­thelial bar­rier prop­er­ties
A2 Struc­ture-based modi­fic­a­tion of CPE to tar­get claud­ins
A3 Claudin- and TAMP-medi­ated water trans­port
A4 High- and super-res­ol­u­tion ima­ging of tight junc­tion com­pon­ents

Pro­ject area B focuses on the role of TJ pro­teins in the devel­op­ing tis­sue and the reg­u­la­tion of TJ pro­teins and TJ assembly on dif­fer­ent levels, e.g. tran­scrip­tional reg­u­la­tion, inter­ac­tion of dif­fer­ent path­ways, and genetic pre­dis­pos­i­tion. Through the pro­jects of area B stu­dents will get com­pet­ent know­ledge of trans­gene tech­no­logy, gen­o­typ­ing and phen­o­typ­ing of mouse mod­els, and meth­ods in next gen­er­a­tion sequen­cing.

B1 Neur­oep­ithelial bar­rier func­tion in brain devel­op­ment
B2 Track­ing a primary bar­rier defect in celiac dis­ease
B3 The mag­ne­siome, an integ­rat­ive view of mag­nesium reg­u­la­tion
B4 Tran­scrip­tional integ­ra­tion of TJ assembly in renal epi­thelial cells

Pro­ject area C focuses on mod­u­la­tion of TJ in intest­inal dis­ease asso­ci­ated with bar­rier dys­func­tion. Major aim is the under­stand­ing of TJ mod­u­la­tion in infec­tious and inflam­mat­ory based intest­inal dis­ease and the iden­ti­fic­a­tion of bar­rier-asso­ci­ated thera­peutic tar­gets. New con­focal visu­al­iz­a­tion tech­niques for mac­ro­molec­ule pas­sage across epi­thelia and for cyst- or organoid-based cell cul­ture mod­els are imple­men­ted in pro­ject area C.

C1 Toxin effects on para­cel­lu­lar intest­inal bar­rier func­tion
C2 Role of the tri­cel­lu­lar TJ in inflam­mat­ory bowel dis­eases (IBD)
C3 Epi­thelial dys­polar­ity in chronic intest­inal inflam­ma­tion
C4 Mac­ro­molec­ule uptake across the mucosa in HIV infec­tion


  • very good Uni­versity degree (equi­val­ent dip­loma/mas­ter) in bio­logy, bio­chem­istry, bio­tech­no­logy or a related sub­ject
  • strong sci­entific motiv­a­tion
  • spe­cial interest in cell bio­logy, func­tional and patho­physiolo­gical-trans­la­tional issues
  • very good verbal and writ­ten Eng­lish com­mu­nic­a­tion skills
  • par­ti­cip­a­tion in the qual­i­fic­a­tion pro­gram of the Research Train­ing Group

What we of­fer:

  • work­ing at the Char­ité, one of the largest uni­versity hos­pit­als in Europe, a joint insti­tu­tion of Hum­boldt-Uni­versität zu Ber­lin and Freie Uni­versität Ber­lin, and at fam­ous research insti­tutes in Ber­lin, MDC and FMP
  • research in a world-renowned cen­ter in the field of tight junc­tion research
  • an excel­lent sci­entific envir­on­ment at the inter­face between basic and pre­clin­ical research
  • doc­toral thesis asso­ci­ated with an excel­lent qual­i­fic­a­tion pro­gram
  • fixed-termed employ­ment con­tract (65% E13, depend­ent on per­sonal qual­i­fic­a­tion) lim­ited to 3 years

How to ap­ply:

For any fur­ther inform­a­tion con­cern­ing require­ments and applic­a­tion pro­cess please con­tact Rita Rosenthal ( and access the link below to find out more inform­a­tion:
Please sub­mit your applic­a­tion via email to The applic­a­tion will con­sist of one pdf file which includes applic­a­tion form, CV, all tran­scripts, cer­ti­fic­ates, and the ref­er­ence let­ters of two aca­demic teach­ers/super­visors.