Topic: Electrophysiological investigation of the pathogenicity of genetic variants in painassociated genes of patients with small fiber pathology and pain.
Background: Screening for genetic alterations in pain-associated genes is increasingly
performed in patients with pain syndromes of so far idiopathic origin and often results in
findings that remain of unclear pathogenicity. Investigating patient-derived sensory neurons
and Schwann cells differentiated from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) in mono- and
co-culture enables the analysis of the cellular impact of such genetic alterations. For this,
sophisticated protocols are mandatory to reach homogeneous cell cultures for
multidimensional analysis. Adding in depth electrophysiological assessment of these
neuronal cells and co-cultures with Schwann cells will set the robust basis for translational
research directly linked to patients and their clinical symptoms.
Funding: Our project combines highly innovative clinical and basic research and is funded by
the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG).
Tasks PhD candidate:
− Electrophysiological analysis (patch-clamp, multielectrode array) of patient-derived and
sensory neurons in mono- and co-culture with Schwann cells
− HEK cell transfection and electrophysiological analysis
− Generation of patient-derived Schwann cells via iPSC
− Analysis of cultured Schwann cells by immunocytochemistry, qRT-PCR, and FACS
Prerequisites: We are seeking for a very industrious, eager, and reliable PhD candidate of
Life Sciences or related Faculty who is enthusiastic about scientific work, and has
experience in electrophysiology (patch-clamp) and cell culture. He/she is motivated to
engage himself/herself in this exciting project and to become part of our enthusiastic
Constellation: Our project will be performed by two PhD candidates who will team-up and
work complementarily, however, on separate topics of the entire project.
Start and duration: Earliest time point from now on for 3 years, 65% E13.
PI and contact: Please send your application including a motivational letter to Prof. Dr. N.