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Analysing the skin response to various pollutants, with a focus on immune response by using 3D organotypic cultures generated with human cells

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

This PhD position builds upon previous work, published by the host Laboratory at the Medical University of Innsbruck (Austria), suggesting a link between pollution and atopic dermatitis (eczema). Atopic dermatitis is a chronically relapsing inflammatory skin disease with a high prevalence worldwide. Environmental pollution is believed to promote and/or exacerbate this disease. The project will analyze the skin response to various pollutants, with a focus on immune response by using 3D organotypic cultures generated with human cells. A variety of assays will be employed covering several biological fields including cellular and molecular biology, immunology, epigenetics, and mass spectrometry. The student will be based at Epidermal Biology Laboratory at the Department of Dermatology of the Medical University of Innsbruck but may be required to travel to collaborative labs.


Candidates should have (or expect to achieve) a master degree. Fellowship is available for international students.

Starting Date

Successful candidate may commence studies by January, 1st 2019.

Funding Notes

This studentship is funded by a grant from the Austrian Funding Agency (FWF) and the Land Tyrol.


Epidermal Overexpression of Xenobiotic Receptor PXR Impairs the Epidermal Barrier and Triggers Th2 Immune Response. Elentner A, Schmuth M, Yannoutsos N, Eichmann TO, Gruber R, Radner FPW, Hermann M, Del Frari B, Dubrac S. J Invest Dermatol. 2018 Jan;138(1):109-120.

Enhanced Expression of Genes Related to Xenobiotic Metabolism in the Skin of Patients with Atopic Dermatitis but Not with Ichthyosis Vulgaris. Blunder S, Kõks S, Kõks G, Reimann E, Hackl H, Gruber R, Moosbrugger-Martinz V, Schmuth M, Dubrac S. J Invest Dermatol. 2018 Jan;138(1):98-108.

Alterations in Epidermal Eicosanoid Metabolism Contribute to Inflammation and Impaired Late Differentiation in FLG-Mutated Atopic Dermatitis. Blunder S, Rühl R, Moosbrugger-Martinz V, Krimmel C, Geisler A, Zhu H, Crumrine D, Elias PM, Gruber R, Schmuth M, Dubrac S. J Invest Dermatol. 2017 Mar;137(3):706-715.

Langerhans cells and NK cells cooperate in the inhibition of chemical skin carcinogenesis. Ortner D, Tripp CH, Komenda K, Dubrac S, Zelger B, Hermann M, Doppler W, Tymoszuk PZ, Boon L, Clausen BE, Stoitzner P. Oncoimmunology. 2016 Nov 18;6(2):e1260215

Skin response to a carcinogen involves the xenobiotic receptor pregnane X receptor. Elentner A, Ortner D, Clausen B, Gonzalez FJ, Fernández-Salguero PM, Schmuth M, Dubrac S. Exp Dermatol. 2015 Nov;24(11):835-40.

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