Postdoc Position: Telomere Biology, RNA Biology & Systems Biology

Posted 07 Jan 2019

Institute of Molecular Biology gGmbH (IMB)

Germany (Post Doc)

The Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB, is a centre for basic research on the campus of Mainz University, Germany. We are generously funded by the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation and the state of Rhineland-Palatinate. Our research focuses on the biology of the cell nucleus, ranging from the molecular to the organismic level. IMB researchers are supported by strong core facilities ( that offer state-of-the-art services in bioinformatics, cytometry, genomics, histology and microscopy, proteomics, and protein production. IMB’s working language is English.

In this competitive call, we are recruiting talented and ambitious scientists worldwide. At IMB, you will work on cutting-edge research projects in a highly international and interdisciplinary environment. IMB’s Postdoc Programme (IPPro) is specifically designed to meet the needs of postdocs and to equip them for a successful career in research. We offer advanced training in scientific techniques and professional skills, provide mentorship and networking opportunities, actively support your career development, and assist you with raising funds for yourself and for your projects. This will ensure that you can work efficiently and are prepared for the next step in your career.

In our 2018/19 call, we offer one postdoc position in the lab of Dr Falk Butter focussing on "Telomere Biology, RNA Biology & Systems Biology":

Scientific background:

Mass spectrometry is a powerful tool for studying proteins in an unbiased and global manner. The current improvements in identification accuracy, sample throughput, and data analysis allow the streamlined application of proteomics in answering diverse biological questions. Our group applies quantitative approaches, which enables us to directly compare thousands of proteins in complex mixtures. These technologies allow us to study changes in protein expression and are also applied in interactomics to identify specific interacting proteins within a vast number of background binders. We apply mass spectrometry in several biological areas to advance our knowledge of cellular processes.

Telomere Biology

Using a quantitative interactomics screen with telomeric DNA as a bait, we identified several new telomeric proteins, such as HOT1 (Kappei, Butter et al., EMBO J 2013) and ZBTB48 (Jahn, Rane et al., EMBO Rep 2017) in mammals and TelAP1 in trypanosomes (Reis et al., NAR 2018). Currently, we extend our study of telomeric proteins also to other species. For example, we used a phylointeractomics screen to study putative telomere-associated proteins from ray-boned fish to mammals (Kappei, Scheibe et al., Nat Commun 2017). In the future, we want to deepen our understanding of the function of our previously reported telomere-binding proteins and characterize putative new candidates in diverse species. We are looking for a PostDoc candidate, with prior experience in telomere biology with a special interest, in techniques that can be generically applied to characterize telomere-associated proteins in eukaryotic species. We are flexible in the choice of research organism (mouse, zebrafish, non-vertebrate models) depending on interest and qualification of the applicant.

RNA biology

Using quantitative interactomics, we have developed workflows to study RNA-binding proteins from an RNA-centric perspective (Butter et al, PNAS 2009; Scheibe et al., NAR 2012). We have applied our workflows to look at RNA-binding proteins to diverse mRNA fragments, but also non-coding RNAs exemplified by the human TERRA interactome (Scheibe, Arnoult et al., Genome Res 2013). Current projects involve studying RNA-binding proteins in yeast, neuronal cells and stem cells with different biological questions. The ideal PostDoc candidate has an interest in translational and spatial regulation exerted by RNA-binding proteins and aims to integrate different omics technologies (e.g. transcriptomics, proteomics, PAR-CLiP or iCLIP, RNA-FISH) to investigate global regulation pattern.

Systems Biology

Working on the interface between transcriptomics and proteomics, we currently explore global gene regulation patterns. We have thus far studied developmental differentiation in trypanosomes, outlining that transcriptomics in this parasite has not strong correlation to proteome levels due to polycistronic transcription units (Dejung et al., PLOS Pathog 2016). Furthermore, we generated a large-scale developmental proteome of Drosophila melanogaster (Casas Vila, Bluhm, Sayols* at al., Genome Res 2017) showing that for a subset of the proteome, proteins can be stable long after transcription. Matching the embryonic time-course proteome dataset of this study, with a paired transcriptome, we applied ordinary differential equations (ODE) as a mathematical framework to correlate transcriptome and proteome during embryogenesis and successfully predicted translational regulators. The PostDoc candidate has interest in the generation of large-scale datasets within a specific biological context. Prior experience with the model system and profound expertise in computational data analysis are a requirement. We recently gained interest in cross-species comparisons (Kappei, Scheibe et al., Nat Commun 2017), thus an evolutionary angle is a bonus.

The project:

Postdoc applicants are encouraged to develop their own research project, while contributing to other projects currently ongoing in the group. While we have the opportunity to provide a specific project, applicants are able to propose an interesting research question in our focus areas that can be answered using mass spectrometry-based proteomics (in this case, please provide a short project sketch with the application).

Starting date: 1 May 2019 or later

How to Apply

Prior to applying, please see for details on the projects offered. To apply, please send a single PDF, containing your cover letter, CV, and a concise description of your research interests and future research plans to Please also arrange for two letters of recommendation to be sent to IMB is an equal opportunity employer.

The deadline for applications is 29 January 2019. Interviews will take place in Mainz on 2-3 April 2019.

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