13 December 2011

PhD Effects of the HIV-1 pathogenesis factor Nef on T cell - B cell interactions (Heidelberg, Germany)

The Department of Infectious Diseases, Virology, University of Heidelberg, Germany offers a position for a

PhD student (TVL E13/2)

starting March 2012

in the laboratory of Prof. Dr. Oliver Fackler.

Replication of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 (HIV-1) in the infected host is optimized by the viral gene product and pathogenesis factor Nef. One key feature of Nef consists in its ability to modulate the interaction of T lymphocytes with antigen presenting cells (Fackler et al., 2007, Nat. Rev Microbiol.). We recently unravelled that Nef affects vesicular transport and dynamic actin remodelling events that are triggered in infected T lymphocytes by antigen stimulation. These modifications alter the signal output of antigen stimulation and enhance HIV replication (Haller et al., 2006, J. Biol. Chem.; Rudolph et al., 2009, J. Virol.; Pan et al., 2011, Blood). Building on these findings, this project will now focus on the precise changes Nef induces to signalling cascades in T lymphoyctes and antigen presenting cells and the mechanisms by which these enhance virus spread.
Key approaches of this project will include the biochemical and microscopy-based quantification of dynamic signal transduction events by Western blotting, flow cytometry and confocal laser microscopy and the quantification of HIV replication. Most aspects of this study will include work with live infectious HIV-1 at the security level 3 and the use of primary HIV target cells. The successful candidate should have a strong background and interest in virology, cell biology and immunology along with a very high level of motivation to conduct creative and independent research.
In the context of a structured international PhD graduate program we offer interesting research topics with biomedical relevance in a stimulating and interactive scientific environment at an internationally competitive level. The project is funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft within SFB638. Please send your applications until January 9 to:

Prof. Dr. Oliver T. Fackler
Department of Infectious Diseases, Virology
University of Heidelberg
Im Neuenheimer Feld 324
69120 Heidelberg
phone:   ++49- (0)6221-56-1322
fax:    ++49- (0)6221-56-5003
Email:  oliver_fackler@med.uni-heidelberg.de
homepage http://www.klinikum.uni-heidelberg.de/Fackler.6555.0.html

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