PhD candidate (m/w/d), E13/65 %

We are looking for a PhD candidate (m/w/d) who wants to employ cutting-edge single-cell fate mapping to decipher how CD4 T cells adapt to chronic infection and answer, which subset of CD4 T cells retains a stem cell-like potential for self-renewal and host protection. Our long-term goal is to employ these insights for the design of optimized vaccination strategies and immunotherapeutic approaches.

“ERC-Starting-Grant: Studying the regulation of lymphocyte stemness by fate mapping of single T and NK cells (SCIMAP)”

Our profile

Our mission is to better understand how immunological memory of T and NK cells develops in response to infection or vaccination. To answer this question, we have developed a unique set of approaches that allow us to study adaptive immune responses starting out from single naïve precursors both in vivo and in vitro (Buchholz et al. Science 2013, Graef et al. Immunity 2014, Cho et al. Cell Reports 2017, Grassmann et al. Immunity 2019, Kretschmer et al Nat Comm 2020, Grassmann et al. Nat Immunol 2020, Flommersfeld et al. Immunity 2021). Within this ERC-Starting-Grant project (SCIMAP), we will combine single-cell fate mapping and single-cell RNA sequencing with genetic fate-reporting, mRNA barcoding and RNA velocity analyses. Thereby, we will generate a detailed map of the early fate decisions that T and NK cells undergo during acute or chronic infection, decipher how these fate decisions lead towards distinct short- and long-lived subsets and pinpoint, which of these subsets retain the stemness to provide lasting host protection.

Your profile

  • Master’s degree (or equivalent) in Immunology, Genetics, Cell Biology, Biology or Biochemistry with outstanding results
  • In-depths experience in molecular biology and immunological assays/techniques
  • Hands-on experience in single cell RNA sequencing and multicolor flow cytometry
  • Experience with bioinformatics analysis tools (R/python) is a plus
  • Enthusiasm for basic science, specifically for lineage specification and immunological memory

Your tasks

  • Perform single-cell RNA sequencing and RNA velocity analysis, to identify a stem cell-like CD4 T cell subset
  • Test the stemness of this subset via single-cell fate mapping
  • Trace immune responses emerging from single CD4 T cells in vivo via single-cell RNA sequencing combined with single-cell mRNA barcoding
  • Trace differentiation and de-differentiation processes by single-cell fate mapping combined with ex-reporter construct
  • Identify target molecules active at key developmental bifurcations and test their immunotherapeutic potential
  • Supervision of masters and bachelor students

We offer

  • Position as PhD candidate (m/w/d) starting as soon as possible, currently secured for 48 months (salary according to TV-L)
  • Ambitious and innovation-oriented team committed to understanding the development of T and NK cell stemness to identify novel immunotherapeutic strategies against chronic infection and cancer
  • Well-equipped laboratory in our institute close to Munich city center
  • Close collaborations with several laboratories at TUM, Ludwig Maximilians University, Munich, Institute for Systems Immunology, Würzburg, University of Heidelberg, Rockefeller University, New York, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York and many other national and international partners


Are you excited about investigating CD4 T cell immune responses against chronic infection at an unprecedented resolution and hunt for a stem cell-like subset? Great! We are looking forward to your email application until October 31st 2021 24:00 (CV, letter of motivation and references in one document). TUM seeks to increase the portion of female employees. Qualified females are, therefore, explicitly encouraged to apply. Severely disabled persons with essentially comparable qualifications will be preferentially hired. Further questions? We are happy to receive your email or phone call!

Contact: Dr. Veit Buchholz (TUM Junior Fellow) / +89 4140 4156 / /