Open positions at MOCA

Im Institut für Molekulare und Zelluläre Anatomie der Uniklinik RWTH Aachen sind zum frühestmöglichen Zeitpunkt folgende Stellen zu besetzen: 

Keratin intermediate filaments are major constituents of the epithelial cytoskeleton. Their organizing function of cellular space is important for diverse epithelial functions requiring a high degree of keratin network plasticity. We have recently proposed that a continuous cycle of keratin filament assembly and disassembly facilitates rapid and precise adaptation to the different functional requirements.

The successful candidate will (i) further refine methods and tools for monitoring and manipulating the keratin cycle and its modulators, (ii) focus on identifying and characterizing the molecular motors involved in keratin movement and tension generation within the keratin network, and (iii) examine modulators of the keratin cycle that are identified in genetic screens.

We are looking for a candidate with experience in molecular biology, microscopical techniques and image analysis. The candidate should have a strong background in cell biology. It is expected that the successful candidate is highly motivated to independently pursue the DFG-funded project as a basis for a PhD thesis.

Further information

Please send your written application as soon as possible to:

Prof. Dr. Rudolf E. Leube
Institute of Molecular and Cellular Anatomy
RWTH Aachen
UniversityWendlingweg 2
52074 Aachen

We are currently seeking a highly motivated PhD Candidate (m/f/d) for a project on

“Mechanobiology of Retinal Pigment Epithelium Heterogeneity”

Project Description

The retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) is a highly specialized cell layer located at the base of the retinal neuroepithelium that plays crucial roles during both development and in the mature eye. During development, the RPE is essential for retina organization, while in the adult, it comprises the blood-retinal barrier, which is responsible for light absorption and the metabolic support of light detecting rods and cones of the neuroepithelium. The RPE itself is highly heterogeneous, characterized by the presence of a large variety of cell shapes, sizes and densities along its extension. Interestingly, alterations in homeostatic heterogeneity have been associated with phenotypical abnormalities. For instance, RPE heterogeneity has been shown to increase with ageing, in particular, in the case of age-related macular degeneration, which is one of the major causes of sight loss in developed countries. During the disease development, mechanical heterogeneity of the cell monolayer may support the formation of large and frequent fatty deposits called Drusen, a hallmark of the early disease state.

The PhD project aims to understand RPE disease progression from the perspective of a mechanobiologist. The candidate will work to characterize RPE mechanical and phenotypical heterogeneity in response to extracellular matrix cues in both 2D and 3D epithelial models. In addition to qualitative analyses with confocal and light-sheet microscopy, quantitative analytical tools will be also employed such as traction force microscopy (TFM), monolayer stress microscopy (MSM), and cellular force interference (CellFIT). Finally, the use of mice models will allow for contextualizing the in vitro findings to physiologically-relevant conditions.

We offer

We offer close supervision with the aim of supporting a highly-skilled, independent scientist in the field of mechanobiology. The candidate will have the possibility to learn state-of-the-art techniques varying from material science to bioinformatics to mouse biology. The PhD will be carried out in a highly interdisciplinary environment of the RWTH Aachen University and the newly founded mechanobiology graduated school ME3T (

The successful candidate will receive a salary corresponding to 65% of the level 13 TV-L German public system.

For more information about our research, please visit the group webpage:

Your skills and qualifications

The candidate should hold a Master of Science in cell and molecular biology, (bio)physics, bioengineering or related disciplines. Sound knowledge of MATLAB programming is a plus. Candidates should show a keen interest in working in an interdisciplinary environment that IZKF and RWTH Aachen offer.


To apply, please send by email a brief description of your research interests, curriculum vitae and the names of two academic referees to

Dr. Jacopo Di Russo
Phone: +49 241 80-88974

Application Deadline: 31.10.19

We are currently seeking a student assistant (“HiWi”) (f/m/d) for
“Characterization of Bruch’s Membrane Heterogeneity”

The extracellular matrix (ECM) underlying epithelia is a pivotal player in both signaling of biochemical information to the cells and in controlling mechanical properties.
Retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) is localized at the base of the retinal neuroepithelium and it is critical for its metabolic support and function as light detector. As in all epithelia, RPE cells tightly adhere to the underlying basement membrane (BM), which is the proximal part of the thicker ECM layer called Bruch’s membrane (BrM). The project aims to characterize the biochemical composition and components distribution in BrM layers along the retina extension using confocal microscopy combined with immunolabelling techniques.

Your Tasks:
• Isolation of murine retina and preparation for immunofluorescence assay.
• Characterization of BrM biochemical composition via confocal microscopy.

Your skills and qualifications

“Must have”:
• Background in biology, medicine or related disciplines
• Motivation to get the best out of this experience
• Focused and team-oriented

“Nice to have”:
• Experience with immunofluorescence microscopy
• Familiarity with ImageJ

If you are interested, please contact
Dr. Jacopo Di Russo
Email: jdirussoukaachende
Phone: +49-241 80-88974