We are looking for a

PhD-Student – Immunology (m/f/d)

who shares our enthusiasm for “Fetomaternal Immunity”

Our profile

Our team is committed to basic and applied translational research in the field of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD), with a focus on infection-driven immunomodulation. Within this DFG funded project, we seek to expand our basic science approaches to preclinical models within the Global Health community in Germany and many partners from the Global South. In this context, the candidate will examine fetomaternal crosstalk in immune processes central to allergy, vaccine responses, and inflammation. In a broader context, we are eager to align our research with the field of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) and explore the axis of immune history and heterogeneity of disease and vaccination outcomes.

The project

It is known that helminth parasites not only exert strong immunomodulatory effects on infected hosts, but also influence the allergic predisposition of offspring born to infected mothers. We hypothesized that transmaternal exposure to schistosomiasis drives in utero effects that enhance tolerogenic immune processes in later life. Recently, we have shown that maternal schistosomiasis induces steady-state changes in CD4+ T cell polarization and B cell priming, alongside an altered dendritic cell phenotype sustained into adulthood, providing evidence for complex priming effects imparted by infection via fetomaternal crosstalk (Lacorcia et al 2021).

Our continuing work focuses on exploring i) the mechanism of reduced allergic predisposition of these offspring ii) the gestational environment created by chronic helminth infection, particularly at the fetomaternal interface (i.e. in the placenta), and iii) the key gestational factors, such as cytokines, acting as molecular switches for differentially programming the fetal immune system. Furthermore, we will explore the role of trained immunity as a possible driving mechanism for these modifications

Your profile

  • University degree (M.Sc.) in Immunology, Biology, Molecular Medicine or similar
  • Solid background in immunology
  • Previous practical experience in experimental mouse models and flow cytometry will be considered advantageous
  • Enthusiasm for translational science embedded in the Global Health arena
  • Excellent team spirit, presentation and communication skills

We offer

  • Position as PhD-Student (m/w/d) from April 1st 2022
  • Part of the DFG-funded Research Training Group "Immunological Switches in Allergies and Autoimmune Diseases" (GRK 2668/1) at the Medical Faculty of the Technical University of Munich (TUM)
    • Interdisciplinary collaboration with a tandem partner
    • Support by administrative structures of the TU (TUM Graduate School, TUM School of Medicine as well as Medical Graduate Center
    • Inclusion in our mentoring program, one-on-one coaching, soft skills courses and targeted workshops / seminars to support your career.
  • Ambitious and innovation oriented team committed to Infection and Immunology research in Global Health
  • Close collaboration with in house medical microbiology and parasitology department, and other members of the university campus and CGH
  • Well-equipped laboratory in our institute close to Munich city center
  • The position is currently secured for 3 years (salary according to TV-L)


Are you excited to secure your position in immunology research in Global Health?

Great! We are looking forward to your email application until March 15th 2022

Prof. Dr. Clarissa Prazeres da Costa / +49 89 4140 4130 / Clarissa.daCosta@tum.de

Please visit us also here: www.mikrobio.med.tum.de/de/home/forschung/da-costa-group

Further questions? We are happy to receive your email or phone call!

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.