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[ccp4bb] PhD position; 36 months; Cologne; structure/function relationships of protein kinase CK2

A PHD POSITION (TV-L13 according to the German public salary system, 50 %) is available at the INSTITUTE OF BIOCHEMISTRY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF COLOGNE. For a detailled description of the position see
(for English version see page 3).

Applications are welcome from graduates of one of the following or related disciplines: biochemistry, biology, chemistry, physics.
Experience in molecular biology (gene cloning; construction of bacterial _expression_ systems) and protein biochemistry (_expression_, purification and characterization of proteins) are an asset. We are looking for a candidate with enthusiasm for research in a multi-disciplinary environment between structural biology, biochemistry, and pharmacology.

The PhD position is part of a research project funded by the œDeutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) in order to investigate the structure, function and inhibition of protein kinase CK2. CK2 is a highly conserved and ubiquitously spread eukaryotic serine/threonine kinase. The enzyme is essential for cell viability and pharmacologically relevant. CK2 has crucial roles in the context of cellular stress response and proliferation, apoptosis and control of the circadian clock.

In initial funding periods we determined, inter alia, basic enzyme structures (Niefind et al., EMBO J. 50, 5320-5331, 2001, doi: 10.1093/emboj/20.19.5320), and quantified the interactions of CK2 with various ligands (Raaf et al., ACS Chem. Biol. 8, 901-907, 2013, doi: 10.1021/cb3007133; Hochscherf et al., Anal. Biochem. 468, 4-14, doi: 10.1016/j.ab.2014.09.003). Further, the effects of CK2 inhibitors on tumour cells were characterized. (Guerra et al., Cancer Lett. 356, 751-761, 2015, doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2014.10.026).

A main focus in the new project phase will be the manipulation of the quaternary structure and the catalytic function of human CK2 with small molecule compounds in cooperation with the research group of Dr Markus Pietsch (Centre of Pharmacology, University Hospital Cologne). Further, structure/function relationships of CK2 from plants and other non-human sources will be investigated. For this, state-of-the-art methods in structural biology (protein crystallography, small angle X-ray scattering, cryo-electron microscopy) and biophysical chemistry (micro calorimetry, microscale thermophoresis, biolayer interferometry) will be applied.

For further details on the project and the research groups involved please consult the funding data base of the DFG
and group web sites:

Starting date: 1st Dec. 2016 or later
Please apply to: Prof. K. Niefind, Institute of Biochemistry, Department of Chemistry, University of Cologne, Otto-Fischer-Str. 12-14, D-50674 Cologne, E-mail: Karsten.Niefind@uni-koeln.de

Karsten Niefind, PhD
University of Cologne
Department of Chemistry
Institute of Biochemistry
Otto-Fischer-Str. 12-14
D-50674 Cologne
Tel.: +49 (0)221 4706444
Fax:  +49 (0)221 4703244