Postdoctoral Fellow

Medical University of Vienna

Vienna, Austria

Granulomatous diseases such as tuberculosis and sarcoidosis are a global health problem, but the role macrophages play in these diseases is still insufficiently defined. The Postdoctoral Scientist will carry out research on physiological roles of mTOR signaling in macrophages for granuloma formation during infection with bacterial pathogens in the lung and other tissues. The fellow will be responsible for designing, performing, analyzing and interpreting experiments to investigate the role of mTOR in macrophages with a particular focus of pathogen. The project is based on our recent publication that chronic activation of the metabolic checkpoint kinase mTORC1 induces spontaneous granuloma formation in mice (Linke et al., Nat Immunol). We would now like to elucidate whether granulomas are protective or deleterious during bacterial infections. Therefore, we will use etiologic triggers that induce granuloma formation in the human disease sarcoidosis. We will corroborate the results in human sarcoidosis samples.

The candidate:

The fellow should embody the following values:

A PhD in immunology or a related field; Experience working with genetically modified mice and infection models; Experience in general molecular biology techniques including flow cytometry; the postdoctorial student is expected to be creative and motivated, able to work independently, but also to interact well within the team. Excellent record keeping and ability to communicate well in English are also essential; Demonstration of scientific ability and excellence by means of at least one first authorship in a peer-reviewed internationally recognized scientific journal.

In addition, the following skills are a plus: Experience in histology; Experience in the culture of anaerobic bacteria; Basic skills in bioinformatics analyzing of microarray or RNAseq data.

The group:

The main focus of the Weichhart group is to study the molecular mechanisms of how the mTOR pathway influences innate immune activation in macrophages and dendritic cells induced by pathogens or environmental signals and its consequences for the adaptive immune response (e.g. Weichhart et al., Nat Rev Immunol, 2015). We study how inhibition of mTOR, which is an established therapy in basic organ transplantation and cancer, modulates the inflammatory response and how the mTOR pathway incorporates environmental and nutritional signals to regulate host immunity and tissue homeostasis. These processes are studied by biochemical and molecular approaches and in mouse models in vivo by analyzing mice with tissue-specific knockouts for certain molecules of the mTOR pathway.

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