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Subcellular oscillations during syncytial cleavage divisions in Drosophila

   Graduate School Multiscale Clocks

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  Prof Arno Müller, Dr Katja Kapp  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The RTG Multiscale Clocks aims at investigating the principles of timekeeping in living organisms, enabling to orchestrate periodic processes with very different frequencies ranging from infradian over circadian to ultradian rhythms. The unique approach is to combine the expertise of biologists, physicists, chemists, mathematicians, and engineers to advance the understanding of biological clocks.

In this project (N°. 3) the PhD candidate will deal with Drosophila early embryogenesis as an excellent model system in molecular cell biology. Embryogenesis in the fly starts with a zygote undergoing rapid mitotic divisions without intervening cytokineses. In this system, the cell cycle represents the master oscillator. It is coupled to rearrangements of the actin cytoskeleton and to membrane vesicle transport resulting in oscillating metaphase furrow formation. It is not well understood how the cell cycle oscillator is linked to these subcellular oscillations. Using live-imaging of fluorescently labelled markers to detect F-actin or membrane compartments in combination with fluorescently labelled tubulin as proxy for the cell cycle, the spatio-temporal parameters of individual subcellular events will be recorded in a quantitative manner. Moreover, the role of second messengers for F-actin rearrangements and membrane turnover during furrow formation will be addressed. These data will provide a basis for computer-based-modelling to further inform the experimental design for a mechanistic understanding of the process. The genetic toolbox of the fly will be applied to characterize known candidate genes and to identify novel zygotic genes driving the coordination of subcellular oscillations with the cell cycle.


- Scientific work on the research project.

- Active participation in the workshops and events of the RTG and collaboration with the PIs and other PhD candidates.

- Completion of a study program according to the curriculum of the graduate school.

Required Profile:

- Excellent Master degree or other respectively related academic degrees (such as Diploma or Magister) in Biological Sciences

- Commitment to interdisciplinary research and education.

- Strong skills in English.

- Advantageous are experiences thematically related to the scope of the RTG.

The University of Kassel is a midsize university with about 25.000 students, located in the city of Kassel, known for the DOCUMENTA, the most important international exhibition of contemporary art. The university is dedicated to interdisciplinary research, and it offers educational programs in the life sciences, humanities, fine arts, social sciences, education, and engineering. The university also offers different employment benefits, such as free public transport and no tuition. Furthermore, housing in Kassel is affordable.

Please send your application with the usual informative documents, stating the reference number in the subject line, via the online form.

Include the Extra Application Form.

Funding Notes

The University of Kassel establishes the interdisciplinary Research Training Group (RTG) “Biological Clocks on Multiple Time Scales”, which is funded by the German Research foundation from April 2022 on. The positions according to the pay scale EG 13 TV-H modified according to the requirements of the different disciplines are limited to 36 months.
- Date of Hire: 01 Apr 2022
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