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Project assistant position in Host-Pathogen Interaction and Cell-Autonomous Immunity

Supervisor: Barbara Sixt, Department of Molecular Biology, Laboratory of Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden (MIMS), Umeå University, Sweden
Background and description of work tasks

Almost every cell in our body has an intrinsic capacity to detect invading microbes and to respond to the threat by inducing a series of cellular defense responses. Yet, while this so-called cell-autonomous immunity may have a key role in providing protection against everyday encountered microbes, it is less effective against significant disease agents that have evolved measures to neutralize its action. Importantly, these virulence strategies also conceal the protective power of cell-autonomous immunity.

We plan to use an innovative molecular genetic approach, in combination with high-throughput screening technology, to study the impact of cell-autonomous defense responses on the intracellular growth of obligate intracellular bacterial pathogens, such as Chlamydia trachomatis. The overall goal of the project is the identification and characterization of protective defense pathways and counteracting virulence factors.

This is a pilot study with the aim of investigating the potential of the project to be appropriate for a grant application, PhD- or post-doc project.

Its aims are to:

  1. Develop and test a strategy for the generation of defense pathway-deficient cells.
  2. Confirm defense pathway deficiency in cell culture experiments.
  3. Develop and test quantitative infection assays later to be used for a high-throughput screen for bacterial mutants that display enhanced growth in defense pathway-deficient cells.

The selected candidate will use molecular genetic techniques to introduce mutations in human cell lines, design and carry out infection assays, and document and present the findings.

Qualifications

You must hold a University degree equivalent to a European University Master degree in molecular biology at the time of the recruitment (240 ECTS). Qualified are also those who completed eight semesters of medical or dental program, including medical chemistry, cell and molecular biology, genetics, physiology, microbiology and independent work and those that have acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in Sweden or abroad.

You should have experience in molecular genetic techniques and cell culture, and an enthusiasm for host-pathogen interaction. You need to be fluent in spoken and written English.

You should be highly motivated and able to work productively in a team as well as independently. Excellent communication skills for interacting effectively with senior colleagues and peers are required.

How to apply

You apply through our recruitment system. Your application must contain the following documents written in English or Swedish:

  • A CV with information on education, a list of previous and current employments, and a list of publications.
  • A cover letter describing research experience and interests, motivation for applying for the position
  • Contact details of one to three references.

Union information is available from SACO, +46-(0)90-786 53 65, SEKO, +46-(0)90-786 52 96 and ST, +46-(0)90-786 54 31.

For questions regarding the position contact Barbara Sixt, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

More about us

The Sixt lab is part of the Laboratory for Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden (MIMS) and the Umeå Centre for Microbial Research (UCMR), an interdisciplinary research center devoted to top quality research and novel applications in the field of microbiology.

You can find more information about us at www.mims.umu.se/groups/barbara-sixt; www.ucmr.umu.se, and www.molbiol.umu.se/english.

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