Postdoc position for a biochemist at the Institute of Molecular Biology in Mainz, Germany

Posted on December 15,

The laboratory of René Ketting at the Institute of Molecular Biology in Mainz (Mainz, Germany) is looking for a Postdoctoral Researcher to join its lab and study the Biochemistry of phase separation in germ cells.

In recent years, liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS) has proven to be a widely occurring and important mechanism of subcellular organization. Nevertheless, many questions remain regarding function and regulation of LLPS. Germ cell represent a great model system to study LLPS, as LLPS, in the form of so-called germ granules, or germ plasm, is known to important for their function, or even their specification. Germ granules are known to be highly dynamic, occur in different variants and to contain germ cell-relevant factors, making them great models for studying biologically relevant aspects of LLPS. In particular, small RNA pathways are present in these granules, and our past work has generated many tools to study small RNA pathways in light of LLPS mechanisms and function. For instance, we have recently identified a disordered protein, PID-2, that plays a role in the homeostasis of a germ granule in C. elegans, known as Z granule (Placentino et al. EMBO J, 2020). We also recently identified a novel male-specific germ granule that plays a role in epigenetic inheritance of small RNAs via sperm (Schreier et al. in revision). Finally, in zebrafish we have identified a germ granule-regulatory mechanism, which is important for the proper specification of germ cells (Roovers et al. Dev Cell, 2018).

We want to extend our research to include biochemical approaches to understand the LLPS characteristics, and thereby the functions of the proteins, in isolation or in combination, that we and others identified, or will identify. This is an important new direction for us, as in in vivo studies it remains difficult to resolve the molecular mechanisms that underlie the results we obtain in detail.

We are looking for an experienced biochemist, with an interest to study LLPS in an interactive setting where results are bounced between recombinant protein work and in vivo germ cell models (worked upon by current lab members), with the aim to understand how LLPS functions and/or is regulated. We are looking for a collaborative, curious and creative personality with experience in recombinant protein studies. Experience with biophysical assays to assess LLPS would be beneficial, but is not a requirement (available expertise on campus). Interests to work with C. elegans or zebrafish can be accommodated. For more information on the project and requirements, please visit https://www.imb.de/students-postdocs/imb-postdoc-programme/apply-for-postdoc-positions-at-imb/rene-ketting.

If you are interested in this positions, please apply at www.imb.de/postdocs. The deadline for applications is 28 January 2021. Interviews will take place online. Interview dates will be announced once available.