Das Deutsche Zentrum für Neurodegenerative Erkrankungen (DZNE) ist ein weltweit führendes, international ausgerichtetes Forschungszentrum, das sich der Entdeckung neuer Ansätze zur Prävention und Behandlung neurodegenerativer Erkrankungen verschrieben hat. Zu diesem Zweck verfolgen Forscherinnen und Forscher an zehn DZNE-Standorten in ganz Deutschland eine translationale und interdisziplinäre Strategie, die fünf miteinander verbundene Bereiche umfasst: Grundlagenforschung, Klinische Forschung, Versorgungsforschung, Populationsforschung und Systemmedizin. www.dzne.de

PhD Studentship: Identifying genes for familial Parkinson’s disease

Code: 3054/2020/12

This PhD will form part of the Aligning Science Across Parkinson’s (ASAP) Initiative – Global Parkinson’s Genetics Program (GP2). The Global Parkinson’s Genetics Program (GP2) (https://parkinsonsroadmap.org/gp2/) is an ambitious five-year program to further understand the genetic architecture of Parkinson’s disease (PD). There is still much to learn about genetic risk factors and the path to further understanding requires working collaboratively and openly sharing data, processes, and results.

In our preliminary work we have identified a number of genes that cause familial forms of Parkinson’s disease (PD). These findings have been fundamental for our understanding of the disease process and have been central in the current efforts to develop therapeutic approaches for the disease. However, the genetic causes for the majority of families still remain poorly understood.

As part of the ASAP-GP2 initiative we launched a global initiative to collect families with PD worldwide with the goal to identify novel genes that can cause familial PD.

The PhD project will combine the analysis of Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) data including the novo genome assemblies, but would also include interpreting family pedigrees and clinical reports of patients for linkage and haplotype analysis. 

This will be a collaborative project, based within the ASAP-GP2 Monogenic Disease Core at the DZNE Tübingen in Germany and supervised by Peter Heutink and Thomas Gasser. A training period at other sites within the ASAP-GP2 consortium would be encouraged (depending on traveling restrictions). As part of ASAP-GP2, the PhD will join a global initiative integrating clinical and genetic data from families with PD worldwide. There will be opportunities for collaboration with leaders in PD genetics across the GP2 network. 

Three-year funded PhD studentship starting in January/February 2021. Payment and social benefits are consistent with those at other research institutes.

The PhD studentship is available to international students (f/m/d), including applicants from regions of the world that are underrepresented in research. However, the successful applicant would be expected to study in Tübingen, Germany.

Essential criteria

  • Master degree in a relevant discipline
  • Strong interest in understanding neurodegenerative disease genetics
  • Computer literate
  • Able to understand data management and analysis
  • Able to work as part of a local and global collaboration
  • Excellent written communication skills with the ability to train in writing scientific papers and a PhD thesis
  • Excellent oral communications skills with the ability to deliver research presentations

Desirable criteria (training will be provided as part of the PhD program)

  • Experience in bioinformatics and statistics
  • Experience in data processing and coding languages e.g., R, Python

Please submit applications in the following format via the link below:

  • A CV or biographical sketch (2 pages maximum) with the file name convention: Last name, first name(s), CV.
  • Statements outlining (i) why you are applying for this project, (ii) what makes you the ideal candidate, (iii) what training experience you have had to date.
  • One academic reference

For more information, (not application!) about the project please email peter.heutink@dzne.de




Ihr Ansprechpartner

Prof. Dr. Peter Heutink




3 years


consistent with those at other research institutes


February 28th, 2021

You will obtain special skills and knowledge for your scientific qualification during your activities at DZNE. The DZNE is an equal opportunity employer. It is committed to employing disabled individuals and especially encourages them to apply.