PhD position: RNA Epitranscriptomics & Embryonic Stem Cells • Institute of Molecular Biology, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz and its University Medical Center • Mainz

PhD position: RNA Epitranscriptomics & Embryonic Stem Cells • Institute of Molecular Biology, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz and its University Medical Center • Mainz, Germany.

Open Positions 1
Time Span 01 Mar 2021 for 3 years
Application Deadline 27 Nov 2020
Financing yes
Type of Position
  • PhD – Doctoral Programme
Field of Research
  • Mathematics / Natural Sciences
Subjects Molecular Biology
Description Thinking of doing your PhD in Molecular Biology? The International PhD Programme (IPP) on Gene Regulation, Epigenetics & Genome Stability is offering talented, young doctoral students the chance to work at the cutting edge of research. The IPP is a community of exceptional scientists working on diverse topics ranging from how organisms age or how our DNA is repaired, to how epigenetics regulates cellular identity or neural memory.

The programme is coordinated by the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB) —a modern research centre located on the bustling campus of Mainz University in Germany. With a population of 210,000, of which about 40,000 are students, the city of Mainz is charming and open-minded and is within easy reach of cosmopolitan Frankfurt, the Rhine valley region with its castles, vineyards, and nature reserves, and the equally picturesque cities of Wiesbaden and Heidelberg. With Frankfurt airport – the largest airport in mainland Europe – only 20 minutes away, countless European and overseas destinations are within easy reach.

Activities and responsibilities:

In the fields of “Epigenetics & Nuclear Dynamics / RNA Biology” the IPP research group of Prof. Christof Niehrs offers the following PhD project:

RNA Epitranscriptomics & Embryonic Stem Cells

Some 170 RNA modifications have been described on different types of RNA, most of which remain poorly understood. Some RNA modifications are present on messenger RNA where they can play a critical role in post-transcriptional gene regulation. Similar to epigenetic marks on the DNA and Histones, these modifications are often highly conserved and can be dynamically regulated in development and disease. This new layer of gene expression regulation has been coined as “epitranscriptomics”.

Identifying novel effectors of the mammalian RNA methylome would result in new insights into transcription, translation, splicing, and various other RNA-mediated cellular processes. Using liquid chromatography-coupled mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), we devised a method to screen for effectors of ~50 RNA modifications. Our screens identified several hits for modifying enzymes and the corresponding RNA modifications.

PhD Project:

In this project, you will characterize these RNA modifying enzymes and the RNA modifications. You will monitor the modifications by LC-MS/MS. You will study their role in embryonic stem cell self-renewal and pluripotency, as well as in differentiation. You will create mutants using CRISPR/Cas9 mediated genome editing and characterize them. You will use Next generation sequencing methods and carry out bioinformatics analyses to learn about affected genes and regulatory networks.

What we offer:

• Exciting, interdisciplinary projects in a fully international environment, with English as our working language
• Advanced training in scientific techniques and professional skills
• Access to our state-of-the-art Core Facilities and their technical expertise
• Fully funded positions with financing until the completion of your thesis.
• A lively community of more than 140 PhD students from 40 different countries


Are you an ambitious, young scientist looking to push the boundaries of science while interacting with colleagues from multiple disciplines and cultures? Then the IPP is your opportunity to give your scientific career a flying start!

We seek enthusiastic applicants with a special interest in the following topics:
• Ageing & Disease
• Bioinformatics & Computational Biology
• DNA Repair & Genome Stability
• Epigenetics & Nuclear Dynamics
• Gene Regulation & Evolution
• RNA Biology

Further requirements:

• Master or equivalent
• Interactive personality & good command of English
• 2 letters of reference

For more details on the projects offered and how to apply via our online form, please visit

The deadline for registration is 27 November 2020. Interviews will take place on 25-27 January 2021 or online at a similar time depending on the pandemic situation.

Starting date: 1 March 2021 – 30 September 2021

Working Language
  • English
Language of Dissertation
  • English
Required Documents
  • CV
  • Reports, certificates
  • Transcripts
  • Letter of Motivation
  • Others : 2 Letters of Reference
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