The role of sulfatases in Pristionchus pacificus

Advisor: Cátia Igreja

PhD Program: Tübingen International PhD Program in the Biological Sciences
Location: Max Planck Institute for Biology, Department of Integrative Evolutionary Biology

We are looking for a PhD student (m/f/d) to join the Department of Integrative Evolutionary Biology at the Max Planck Institute for Biology in Tübingen to study the role of sulfatases in P. pacificus.

The Department has an active research program studying the predatory model nematode Pristionchus pacificuswith state-of-the-art facilities in molecular biology, biochemistry, nematode genetics, CRISPR-engineering, genomics, and bioinformatics. Our highly interdisciplinary research team works at the interphase between development, evolution and ecology. We investigate among others, the development and evolution of mouth-form plasticity with two alternative, predatory or bacterial feeding morphs. Our results indicate that sulfation, i.e. the biotransformation of molecules between sulphated and unconjugated forms, plays a crucial role in mouth-form plasticity. Although sulfatases perform essential functions from bacteria to humans, their biological roles remain poorly characterized in organisms other than humans. We are currently investigating the importance of sulfatases in phenotypic plasticity and organismal development. We aim at characterizing the expression, regulation, activity and substrates of different sulfatases in the worm using multiple biochemical, molecular, genetic and proteomic approaches. A model system approach can provide unprecedented insight into sulfation and the action and function of sulfatase enzymes.

We are now looking for an enthusiastic PhD student (m/f/d) to join the department and study the importance of sulfatases in P. pacificus.

Selected reading:

For more information about the research:

Our requirements:

  • hold, or expect to hold, a Masters (or Diplom) degree in a relevant subject. All prior degree work must be finished before the PhD start date.
  • have experience in molecular biology, biochemistry and computational analyses.
  • be able to show that your interests, skills and knowledge match well with your proposed area of doctoral research.
  • be able to demonstrate a high level of written and spoken English.
  • have strong motivation to work in international teams.

We offer:

  • excellent facilities
  • A fully funded research position (payment level according to E13 65% TVöD Bund). The salary includes all mandatory social insurance contributions for healthcare, unemployment, and retirement benefits
  • tailored support from your advisor and a thesis advisory committee
  • core and optional development opportunities to improve your scientific and transferable skills
  • multicultural environment with English as the working language

Successful candidates will join the Tübingen International PhD Program in the Biological Sciences (TIPP).


To apply, please register and complete our online application form.

Application deadline: 31 May 2022

For further information about the research project, please contact Cátia Igreja.

The Max Planck Society is committed to employing more disabled individuals and especially encourages them to apply. Overall, the Max Planck Society strives to increase diversity in all scientific fields. We particularly welcome applications from persons with backgrounds that have so far been underrepresented in science and research with regard to gender, age, professional and cultural background, family situation, sexual orientation, and nationality.

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