PhD Position in Neurodegeneration

University of Zurich Department of Quantitative Biomedicine

Department of Quantitative Biomedicine

PhD Position in neurodegeneration
100 %

Interested in a PhD position combining basic RNA biology and phase separation with translational research on neurodegenerative diseases? Join us to work in a young dynamic group focusing on motor neuron degeneration and frontotemporal dementia.

Our research group at the Department of Quantitative Biomedicine of the University of Zurich aims to understand the pathogenic mechanisms leading to two major neurodegenerative diseases: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). ALS affects motor neurons and leads to progressive paralysis, while FTD leads to language and behavioral dysfunction. Both diseases are devastating and cause death within a few years from diagnosis. The two diseases are genetically and pathologically linked, perhaps caused by the same molecular mechanism that harms neurons and causes them to progressively malfunction and die.

Your responsibilities

The RNA-binding protein TDP-43 is an essential protein that plays a key role in disease. Aggregation of TDP-43 is the pathological hallmark of ALS, FTD and limbic-predominant age-related TDP-43 encephalopathy (LATE). TDP-43 oligomerization is necessary for RNA splicing, and for the physiological Liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS) of TDP-43, while destabilization of TDP-43 oligomers leads to aggregation and cellular toxicity. LLPS is a physical property allowing for oligomerization of proteins by weak non-covalent interactions. LLPS is a newly identified mechanism that regulates several functions in cells, including RNA processing and transport, as well as stress response. The central question of the project is what controls LLPS of TDP-43 in neurons and if/how it drives aggregation.

Your profile

We are looking for a motivated and creative PhD student with strong interest in neurodegenerative disease mechanisms. The project combines RNA biology and neuroscience and involves different types of neural cultures with super resolution microscopy and other state-of-the-art imaging methodologies.

What we offer

We offer varied and interesting work in an inspiring and socially relevant environment.
Diversity and inclusion are important to us.

Place of work

Z├╝rich, Switzerland

Start of employment

Employment start date to be mutually agreed.

Further information