Job ID: 83297

PhD position: Intracellular mechanisms within Oligodendrocytes in Health and Disease

Position: Ph.D. Student

Deadline: 28 October 2022

Employment Start Date: 1 December 2022

Contract Length: 3 years

City: Erlangen

Country: Germany

Institution: University Hospital Erlangen/Friedrich-Alexander-University (FAU)

Department: Department of Molecular Neurology


A PhD position is available in the laboratory of Prof. Dr. Friederike Zunke working on “Consequences of -Synuclein-mediated Lysosomal Dysfunction on Oligodendrogenesis and myelination” at the Department of Molecular Neurology at the Universitätsklinikum Erlangen/ Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), Germany.

The aim of our work is the identification and characterization of intracellular mechanism and risk factors underlying neurodegenerative disorders. The aggregation of the protein a-synuclein is key hallmark in diseases like Parkinson’s or Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) resulting in cell death and pathology. Our research not only focusses on neuronal function, but also on oligodendrocyte homeostasis, function and maturation, since this cell type is essential for proper neuronal functioning. The main focus of this project will be on intracellular mechanisms, implying protein synthesis, trafficking as well as degradation pathways. Our overall ambition is to improve the understanding of these mechanisms in different cell types within the CNS in health and disease. This will not only help to understand disease pathways, but also enables us to translate our knowledge in order to help identifying novel interventional target as well as markers for early disease diagnosis. For this project state-of-the-art tissue culture technology including induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) and animal models will be applied. For recent publications of the group of Prof. Zunke on the role of lysosomal function and a-synuclein in neurodegeneration please refer to pubmed and following publications: Huarcaya et al., Autophagy, 2022 (PMID: 35287553); Drobny et al., BBA-MCR, 2022 (PMID: 35217144); Bunk et al. Front cell Dev Biol, 2021 (PMID: 33738281); Zunke et al., Neuron, 2018 (PMID: 29290548).


The doctoral student will be integrated into the DFG-funded Research Training Group 2162 (GRK2162) “Neurodevelopment and CNS Vulnerability”. The GRK2162 offers:

  • a 3-year structured PhD program with interdisciplinary thesis research,
  • a vibrant, collaborative scientific environment,
  • supervision and mentorship by a team of internationally renowned experts,
  • State-of-the-art research facilities and
  • advanced training opportunities (scientific, skills, career) in English.

Who we look for:

  • highly motivated and curious applicants that want to connect basic research with translational perspectives in an encouraging international and interdisciplinary scientific environment
  • candidates should have a strong interest in cell biology, protein function, and intracellular mechanisms
  • experiences with protein biochemistry, cell culture, and/or mouse models is advantageous but not mandatory
  • a team player, willing to answer urgent research questions in a collaborative research environment


How to apply:

Please submit applications via email as a single file to

(1) Letter of motivation

(2) Curriculum vitae

(3) Transcript of Records

(4) Summary of Research Experience and Master Project

(5) List of publications

(6) Two names/contacts for references or letters of reference


Start date: as soon as possible or upon agreement

For further information on the scientific project please contact:


Prof. Dr. Friederike Zunke,


Department of Molecular Neurology

University Hospital Erlangen/Friedrich-Alexander-University (FAU)