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Advertising division: IBI-2 - Mechanobiology
Reference number: 2021M-026, Biology, biotechnology, biophysics

Master thesis: Pro-invasive adaption of bladder cancer cells upon mechanical strain

Our profile:
We focus on mechanobiology to study the vital feedback loop between cells and mechanical cues from their environment and how these stimuli, in turn, shape cell mechanics. We apply defined mechanical stimuli to cells and tissues to quantify cell responses. Advanced live-cell microscopy and immunofluorescence imaging of cells and tissues cultured in mechanically defined environments are used to quantify cell responses, now with a particular focus on tumor development. Biologists, physicists and chemists work hand in hand to accomplish the challenging scientific tasks in the fascinating field of mechanobiology. We put great value on teamwork and excellent supervision.

Your tasks:
You will be part of a joined project of the IBI-2 (Jülich) and the Oncological Pathology group (Aachen) seeking to decipher the role of tumor suppressor genes in dependecy of mechanical stress on bladder cancer development using properitary models. You will employ our in-house designed mechanical stress device to study the cellular response of bladder cancer cells genetically modified by gene of ineterests to an externally applied force. You will exert defined stress amplitudes on bladder cell cluster that occur during cyclic urine bladder filling/voiding and to compare the cellular adapation of normal, benign and tumor cells. Cytoskeletal changes will be analyzed to measure the mechanical stress responses (YAP activation, cell-cell and cell-matrix adhesions) relevant to cell differentiation, migration and invasion. Next, involved molecular alterations, i.e. gene expression networks, signaling pathways and a putative epigenetic regulation upon cyclic stretch will be studied as long-term response that affect the phenotype of genetically modified cancer cells.

Your profile:
You have completed your studies in biology, biotechnology or biophysics very successfully with a B.Sc. degree. You should have experience in standard techniques as light microscopy, and animal cell culture. Now, you search for a highly relevant transdisciplinary master thesis project with biomedical relevance and you are highly motivated to work in a vivid scientific environment. You distinguish yourself by endurance, self-reliance and an excellent capacity for teamwork. You are fluent in written and spoken English.

Employment: from April 2021 (or later).

(Equal career prospects for women and men. Severely disabled applicants with equal qualifications will be given preferential consideration.)

Dr. rer. nat. Erik Noetzel-Reiss
Institute of Biological Information Processing (IBI-2): Biomechanics
Forschungszentrum Jülich

Dr. rer. nat Michael Rose
Hospital of the RWTH Aachen University

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