Master Thesis in Intra-cellular Communication between the Endoplasmic Reticulum and the Nucleus (Otsuka Lab)


We are seeking for a highly motivated Master’s student to join our laboratory at the Max F. Perutz Laboratories (MFPL). The Otsuka laboratory employs cutting-edge light and electron microscopy techniques to uncover the molecular mechanisms of communication between two key organelles: the nucleus and the endoplasmic reticulum (ER).

Eukaryotic cells are packed with many different organelles. In order to respond to environmental cues and coordinate homeostasis, cells need to tightly control the inter-organelle communication. One of the key organelles for the inter-organelle communication is the ER, which is the site of the synthesis and turnover of a major fraction of lipids and membrane proteins. The ER is directly connected to the nucleus by junctions with the outer nuclear membrane. This ER-to-nucleus connectivity is crucial for cellular homeostasis and to supply new lipids and membrane proteins to the nucleus during nuclear growth.

The correlative live imaging with high resolution electron microscopy that I have established previously, now allows to visualise the ER-nucleus connections in situ in human cells in a spatio-temporally-resolved and quantitative manner. The successful candidate will learn and combine the imaging technique with molecular perturbations, and carry out structural and functional analysis of the ER-to-nucleus connectivity.

Desired skills and qualities:

• Basic knowledge in biochemistry, molecular and cell biology

• Hands-on experience in molecular and cell biology 

• Fluency in English and good communication skills

• Motivation to learn and develop new techniques

The position is available from April 2019. An initial contract will be for six months with possibility of extension depending on circumstances. A stipend will be offered.

Applications consisting of a letter of motivation and a CV should be sent electronically to Initial deadline for the application is March 19th in 2019; if not filled, review of applications will continue thereafter until the position is filled.

The image is from Otsuka et al., “Postmitotic nuclear pore assembly proceeds by radial dilation of small membrane openings.” Nat.  Struct.  Mol.  Biol., 25(1):21-28, (2018). The Image analysis was done by Christian Tischer at EMBL.