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CeNS Center for NanoScience LMU Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
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5-Month Internship in Cell & Molecular Biology

Project: A fully funded 5-month internship in cell and molecular biology in the Thorn-Seshold research group, LMU Munich (Germany), is available starting in April/May 2018. We apply chemical synthesis to address unsolved biological problems, especially to develop new strategies to diagnose and treat cancer. We rely on new concepts for responsive probes and inhibitors whose bioactivity can be triggered either by biological processes in specific cells, or by the experimenter using high-precision stimuli such as light. This specificity enables previously impossible biological studies and works towards high-precision therapy (Cell 2015).

 We have developed several classes of “photopharmaceuticals,” light-responsive drug analogues where the experimenter can eg. apply 405 nm light to activate an inhibitor in one cell, while using 488 nm light to deactivate it in neighbouring cells. These reagents allow us to use confocal microscopy not only to observe, but now to control cellular processes (Science 2017).

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2015.06.049Borowiak, ..., Thorn-Seshold; Cell 2015, 403-411; Zenker et al.; Science 2017, 925-928.

Requirements: We are looking for a highly motivated and experimentally talented student holding a Master's degree, with strong practical experience in cellular and molecular biology, to test the possibilities of two new families of photoresponsive tool compounds. These are (1) photoswitchable topoisomerase inhibitors for in vivo light-localised therapeutic use; and (2) photoreactive amino acids for photomodulation of protein tertiary structure and function. Good knowledge of spoken and written English are essential; applicants should have a strong background in cellular and molecular biology and be motivated to further develop their research independence.

Group: Dr. Oliver Thorn-Seshold, Chemistry & Pharmacy, LMU Munich

Website: www.cup.lmu.de/ph/aks/thornseshold/

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a: PST-1, a light-controlled tubulin polymerisation inhibitor, can be used at a fixed dose but either activated by blue light (“on”) or deactivated by green light (“off”) to control cell phenotype and fate. b: PST-1 can reversibly pause and allow microtubule polymerisation in cells in culture (HeLa). c: PST-1 can be used to optically re-model the cell division sequence in C. elegans embryos.[1] d: PST-1 controls microtubule dynamics in mouse embryos via localised illumination, enabling precise biophysical studies of development.[2]