Molecular determinants of selfish RNA

Advisor: Oliver Weichenrieder

PhD Program: Tübingen International PhD Program in the Biological Sciences (TIPP)
Location: Max Planck Institute for Biology

Project description

Research and tasks:

 ‘Selfish’ RNA likely is at the origin of all life on earth and it persists today in the form of retrotransposons and RNA-based viruses. We study human LINE-1 and Alu RNAs and how these ‘molecular parasites’ copy their sequences into genomic DNA. The molecular determinants that enable small RNA molecules to evolve into ‘selfish’ non-LTR retrotransposons are still poorly understood and neither are the factors of their eukaryotic hosts that act upon these RNAs. The selected doctoral candidate therefore will:

  • engineer and score RNA molecules in cell-based retrotransposition assays
  • use next-generation sequencing to analyze genomic integration preference
  • perform molecular analyses of known and unknown factors from the host

Our requirements:

  • We are looking for a curious and talented experimentalist with a keen interest in modern RNA biology, who is highly motivated, focused and organized in terms of record-keeping and time management and generally not afraid to explore novel experimental approaches and research fields.
  • You hold or expect to complete a Masters degree with a background in biochemistry, molecular biology, genome science or alike.
  • You will be available in the first half of 2022.

Our offer:

  • You will join a small research team with full access to the institute’s scientific infrastructure and interconnected with a number of the institute’s other research groups via the Tübingen International PhD Program in the Biological Sciences (TIPP).
  • The TIPP is the joint graduate program of the Max Planck Institute for Biology and the Friedrich Miescher Laboratory and aims to provide future research leaders with comprehensive training that promotes scientific excellence, independence and creativity.
  • The Max Planck Society is Germany's most successful research organization with salary and benefits based on the German TVöD regulations (TVöD Bund).


To apply, please register at ..... Your application documents should include

  • a brief outline of your goals and interests
  • a CV including references to publications, presentations and awards
  • the names and addresses of two academic referees who are able and willing to evaluate your personality, experience, and intellectual merit


More information on Oliver Weichenrieder and a selection of recent publications can be found on his faculty page.

Are you interested in applying? Check out if you meet all our requirements and are eligible to apply.

Application deadline: 15 January 2022

To apply please register and complete the online application form.

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