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Date: Thu Oct 31 09:02:46 2019
Subject: 19.10.31 2x PhD student pos., Comp. biochem./chem. or struct. bioinf., U of Duesseldorf, Gohlke group
Applications are invited for two PhD student positions in the Computational Pharmaceutical Chemistry & Molecular
Bioinformatics group (Prof. Dr. Holger Gohlke) at the Heinrich-Heine-University, Dsseldorf, Germany.
PhD student position 1: Development of novel modulators for the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor for the treatment of nerve agent poisoning
Topic: Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors play an important role in cholinergic neurotransmission. Thus, a malfunction
of these receptors can quickly reach life-threatening proportions by paralysis of the respiration. Such a malfunction
can be caused by nerve agent poisoning, leading to accumulation of acetylcholine, thereby desensitizing the receptor
and causing a non-functional state. Active ingredients for elimination of desensitization of nicotinic acetylcholine
receptors therefore are of great importance for the treatment of nerve agent poisoning. As shown in in vivo and in vitro
experiments, there are some substances from the group of bispyridinium salts capable of desensitizing nicotinic
acetylcholine receptors, or if it occurred already, to bring back receptors to a functional state (i.e., "resensitize").
However, because of their low potency, such substances are currently not suitable for therapy. The goal of the project
is to develop active ingredients that have a sufficiently high potency and, in addition, drug-like properties, such that
they can be used as antidotes for the treatment of nerve agent poisoning. The project will be performed in close
collaboration with experimentalists at LMU Munich.
Availability: The position is available as of now.
PhD student position 2: Enzymatic halogenation: enzyme identification, characterization, application
Topic: Organohalogen moieties occur frequently in pharmaceuticals and agrochemical products as halogen insertion
can improve compound properties, including bioactivity. However, traditional synthetic halogenation methods are
complicated by a lack of specificity and regioselectivity and/or require toxic and environmental-harmful halogen
sources. Therefore, methods for the facile, selective, and environmental-friendly installation of halogen-substituents
are required. This project addresses this demand within the realm of the Bioeconomy Science Center (BioSC): It
aims at identifying, characterizing, and utilizing novel halogenase enzymes from secondary metabolism of algae, that
way introducing a novel strategy for exploiting natural resources towards halogenating enzymes and leading to the
development of novel synthetic methods for the creation of new compounds with enhanced functions. The PhD student
will engage in structure prediction, active site characterization, halogenase classification, prediction of substrate scope
and selectivity, and identification of suitable halogenases for a halogenase toolbox as well as in the prediction of
halogenated, pyrazolidine-dione-based C4 plant-specific herbicides as an application.
Availability: The position is available as of 01.12.2019.
Requirements: Ideal candidates will have a record of excellence and a strong background in computational
(bio)chemistry, molecular informatics, and computational structural biology as well as a high interest in working
in an interdisciplinary research field, and profound knowledge in state-of-the-art molecular dynamics simulations
(Amber) software and molecular modeling.
How to apply: Applicants should submit applications (a one-page letter of motivation why they are interested in the
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respective project and how they can contribute to the projects success, a current CV, and contact data of three
references) by email to gohlke.:.uni-duesseldorf.de . Please provide all documents as one PDF file and specify
for which position you are applying.
Detailed information about living and studying in Dsseldorf is provided here:
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