PhD student position at Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research

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PhD student position at Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research

The Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ is a research institution within the Helmholtz Association. It provides scientific contributions to the safeguarding of the natural basis of life and of human development potentialities for current and future generations under the challenges of global and climate change. In this way the UFZ contributes towards a sustainable development.

Starting on the 1st of March 2011, the Department of Proteomics at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research is offering a 3 year PhD student position (m/f) for species determination of biting midgets and detection of blue tongue virus using mass spectrometric analyses.

The successful candidate will work on the classification of different species / subgenera of biting midgets (genus Culicoides), some of which have been identified as vectors for a serious disease in livestock caused by the Bluetongue virus (BTB). The aim of the project is to establish mass spectrometry (MS) databases of peptides and small proteins that allow species identification in a manner complimentary to PCR-based assays. One part of the project will focus on species identification based on the spectral patterns of small proteins extracted from whole insects (intact protein profiling, IPP) via MALDI-MS. A second approach will deal with the analysis of peptides obtained by proteolysis of the insects` proteome and establishing identities and detection parameters for species-specific peptides. In order to be able to detect the signature of the respective peptides within the complex mixtures, this part will be performed using a high resolution nano-HPLC system coupled to a very sensitive hybrid triple quadrupole-linear ion trap instrument (QTrap MS). A third part of the project deals with the detection of capsid proteins of BTV and will use them for detecting virus-carrying midgets.

We are searching for a highly motivated, reliable person with a diligent workstyle who is interested in method development and fine tuning in the context of a project that aims to establish an application for identification of disease vectors relevant to animal health using state-of-the-art MS technologies.

The successful candidate will be working in a highly interdisciplinary research environment of biologists, chemists and biochemists with excellently equipped facilities (MALDI-TOF/TOF MS, QTrap MS, ion trap MS, LTQ Orbitrap MS – the latter ones being coupled with nano-HPLC systems). The ideal candidate has a background in proteomics / mass spectrometry and in entomology. Handling and analysis of MS data using dedicated software packages will constitute a major part of the project, hence, a general competence in the use of computers and experience with standard software (e.g. MS Office) are required. Further experience in the area of bioinformatics, in the handling of large data sets or in protein chemistry is a plus.

The place of work is the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Leipzig, Germany. Salary will be according to the appropriate civil service level TVöD (65 %). Funding is available for 36 months. The UFZ is an equal opportunity employer; women are explicitly encouraged to apply. Physically handicapped persons will be favoured if they are equally qualified. Applicants must hold a Master degree or diploma in biology, biochemistry or chemistry. They should be fluent in either English or German; however, basic communication skills in English are required.

Scientific information can be provided by:
Dr. Ralph Feltens, phone: +49-341-2351352, e-mail: [email protected] or PD Dr. Martin von Bergen phone: +49-341-2351211, e-mail: [email protected]

Please send your application until the 31th of May 2011 under the code 69/2011 to the Personnel Department of the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, PO Box 500136, D-04301 Leipzig, Germany, or by e-mail to [email protected].

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