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Micro-environmental Interactions And Non-Coding RNAs In The Biology Of B Cell Leukemia

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Thursday, February 20, 2020
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

We are looking for motivated PhD students for a project funded by the prestigious ERC (European Research Council) Grant (laboratory of Assoc. Prof. Marek Mraz [], CEITEC Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic).
The laboratory is focused on the basic and translational biology of microenvironmental interactions and B-cell Receptor (BCR) signaling in B cell leukemias and lymphomas. Targeting microenvironmental interactions is a promising therapeutic strategy in B cell neoplasms, and we mainly use chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and follicular lymphoma/DLBCL as model diseases. Our overall goal is to understand the microenvironmental interactions in B cell malignancies. We are deciphering novel mechanisms of BCR signalling regulation mediated by microenvironmental signals, CD20, p53, and the signals from T cells (Pavlasova et al. Blood, 2016; Pavlasova et al. Leukemia, 2018). We showed for the first time that non-coding RNAs, namely microRNAs (miRNAs), regulate the BCR signaling which opens an interesting field of research (Musilova et al. Blood, 2018; Mraz et al. Blood, 2014; Cerna et al. Leukemia, 2018).
We have identified candidate miRNAs, lncRNAs and protein-coding genes that might act as novel regulators of the crosstalk of BCR signalling/T-cell interactions/adhesion in B cell malignancies. This will be further investigated by the PhD student using technics such as NGS miRNA/RNA sequencing, genome editing (Crispr/Cas9), functional studies with various in vitro models and co-culture systems. The rese
The applicant may focus on one of the four areas (for details see: )
Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) in the pathogenesis of B cell lymphomas
Migration of malignant B cells and their adaptive response to BCR inhibitor therapy
Non-coding RNAs (microRNAS/lncRNAS) and microenvironmental interactions of malignant B-cells
Regulation of BCR signalling by DNA damage response and P53 protein

• modern laboratories, project funded by the prestigious ERC grant = high risk and high gain, state-of-the-art instrument, stable funding, competitive scholarship
• You will work in a team of young investigators that challenge some long-standing problems in the field of hematology. We do basic science, but with the objective to help patients in the future (we have access to primary samples with hem. malignancies, and we suggest novel clinical trials).

• How to think and work independently as a scientist
• Writing of abstracts and papers (and course in grant writing and presentation of data)
• How to present data and will attend conferences to present your research
• You will spend 1-2 months visit(s) in collaborating labs in Europe or US
• Collaboration with experts in wet lab research and bioinformatics
• Novel methods such as Next Generation Sequencing (Illumina) and genome editing (Crispr).
• How to critically analyze scientific data (regular journal clubs)
• Classical methods of molecular biology (e.g. immunoblotting, flow cytometry, qRT-PCR, cell cultures, cloning), and you will use our in vitro models for microenvironmental interactions, and artificial activation/inhibition signalling pathways to decipher the gene regulatory loops.
• You can supervise bachelor and diploma students if interested

• Motivated smart people that have the “drive” to work independently, but also willing to learn from other people in the lab and collaborate.
• Candidates should have a master’s degree in Molecular biology, Biochemistry, or similar field and have deep interest in molecular biology and cancer cell biology.

• To apply please contact the supervisor and submit a CV by email to: and (Subject: PhD School).
• Information about the laboratory at:; The PhD will start approx. September 2020

OTHER INFO: Our laboratory extensively collaborates with the University Hospital Brno in the same campus to obtain primary samples from patients. The campus provides a vibrant, multidisciplinary and highly collaborative scientific environment. The lab is located in Brno, the second-largest city in Czech Republic that has the biggest concentration of biomedical research in the region. Brno is one of the major cultural hubs, with a vibrant and lively atmosphere housing ~60.000 students. The city has a very good public transport and within small distance of several major cities such as Prague, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest.

Funding Notes

Admission for studies, student registration for the full-time study program, and proper fulfillment of student duties constitute the student’s right to a regular income of 22 000 CZK (850 EUR). Information is available at View Website
Living costs and other practicalities available at View Website

Brno is one of the major cultural hubs, with a vibrant and lively atmosphere housing ~60.000 students. The city has a very good public transport and plenty of interesting places to visit within the reach of trains (within small distance of several major cities such as Prague, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest) and close to international airports.

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