The German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) is a unique non-university research center which is dedicated to the subject dementia and all its areas, as well as other neurodegenerative diseases. The center compasses the full spectrum of fundamental research through population sciences to health care research. The DZNE stands for excellence in research and science management, translation of scientific results into practice, interdisciplinarity and internationalization. It is a research center within the Helmholtz Organization of German research centers. With over 1000 employees from 55 nations, spread over 10 sites, the DZNE is one of the national and international leading research centers in its research field. 

PhD student (f/m)

Code: 1514/2017/11

Your tasks

The groups of Dr. Daniele Bano and Prof. Paolo Salomoni study the interplay between epigenetic plasticity, mitochondrial function and metabolism in aging and brain pathophysiology. Dr. Bano’s group has previously elucidated novel mitochondria-dependent molecular cascades that contribute to cell death and neuronal dysfunction (Sendoel A. et al, 2014; Gioran A. et al, 2014; Meyer K. et al, 2015). Moreover, we have recently demonstrated the relevance of replication-independent histone H3.3 variant in controlling the epigenetic landscape that promotes pro-survival signaling pathways (Piazzesi A. et al, 2016) and in regulation of activity-dependent transcription in neurons (Michod D. et al, 2012). Prof. Salomoni’s group has recently shown that a brain-cancer associated mutation in the same histone variant disrupts brain development and promotes high-grade glioma in mice (Pathania M. et al, in press). We are interested in identifying molecular mechanisms that regulate nucleosome plasticity and may contribute to neurodegenerative processes during aging. In this regard, we offer the following two jointly supervised projects:


  1. Role of the SWI/SNF complex in the nervous system. Using an array of single and double knockout mice, we have elucidated the unique biological role of the BCL7A-containing SWI/SNF/BAF complex in the epigenetic maintenance of neuronal function (Wischhof L. et al, ms under revision; Wischhof L. et al, ms submitted). We will test the contribution of the SWI/SNF complex in age-related metabolic dysfunction and whether metabolic insults accelerate neurodegenerative processes in mice with aberrant nucleosome plasticity.


  1. 3 and its chaperones in the nervous system. This work will build on our previous studies on H3.3 in nematode lifespan regulation, and will specifically explore how H3.3 loading is regulated downstream to pro-longevity signaling pathways and what is its contribution to chromatin and transcriptional plasticity using mouse as a model system.



We are looking for a highly motivated and science-driven person with a recent degree or equivalent qualification; a background in neuroscience or related areas of biology (e.g., neurobiology, molecular biology, (epi)-genetics or behavioral neuroscience); solid hands-on experience in laboratory animal experimentation (e.g. mouse colony management, handling, perfusion and in-vivo experiments (FELASA B level) or molecular biology (e.g. protein/RNA extraction, western blotting, PCR); good communication skills and the ability for teamwork. Additional expertise in the following areas would be a plus: histology: tissue preparation, staining (histochemistry, immunofluorescence); confocal and STED microscopy and imaging analysis; in-vitro cell culture models (especially iPSC).

We offer:

  • An interesting and challenging research structure that works on the future topics of health research
  • An international environment characterized by a strong focus on science and research
  • A high potential for the individual development of our employees
  • Targeted personnel development
  • The position is available starting from 8th January 2018 for 3 years.
  • Employment, payment and social benefits are consistent with those at other research institutes




Contact details

Prof. Paolo Salomoni and Dr. Daniele Bano

Working hours


Contract length

3 years

Payment, social benefits

consistent with those at other research institutes

Application deadline


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