in Kooperation mit der Deutschen Vereinigung zur Bekämpfung der Viruskrankheiten e.V.

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As the causative agent of annually recurring severe respiratory diseases as well as sporadic pandemics, influenza A viruses (IAV) are still a major burden to humans. Current treatments are very limited and bear the risk of rapidly inducing the development of drug resistances. Therefore, novel treatment options are urgently needed. Our group investigates the antiviral properties of human IFN-α subtypes for the treatment of severe infections with seasonal and highly pathogenic influenza viruses.  Interferon-α is a family of cytokines with antiviral activity that, in humans, comprises 13 different subtypes. Despite binding to the same cellular receptor (IFNAR), IFN subtypes possess distinct biological and antiviral functions. Currently, only one subtype (IFN-α2) is clinically licensed for antiviral treatments while the antiviral properties of the other subtypes have remained largely undetermined.

Previous work by our group demonstrated that some subtypes comprise enhanced antiviral activity against seasonal IAV compared to IFN-α2, suggesting that they are more suitable candidates for anti-influenza treatments. Therefore, in the present project we want to further investigate the antiviral activity of IFN-α subtypes against several seasonal and highly pathogenic influenza viruses and elucidate their immune-modulatory activity on a molecular level. To facilitate fast translation of our research efforts into clinical treatments, we will utilize a recently established human lung explant model, which is based on human lung tissue derived from patients undergoing lung surgery. This model is currently only available at very few study sites in Germany and provides the only opportunity to investigate virus host interaction, early immune responses and antiviral treatments in primary human lung tissue.


For this highly interesting project we are seeking a motivated PhD candidate with a strong background in cell biology, virology and immunology. The ideal candidate should have practical experience in tissue culturing, handling of primary cells and FACS analysis. In addition, this project requires a high level of self-organisation, discipline and team compatibility. Required computer skills include known office programs and Graph Pad Prism.

We offer a 3-year PhD-position (TV-L E13, 65%, including financial support for scientific conferences) in an international team of highly motivated researchers in a multidisciplinary and supportive environment. We closely collaborate with clinicians from the UKM as well as other research teams in Germany. The position is vacant from the 1st of October 2019, in the group of Dr. Linda Brunotte at the Institute of Molecular Virology at the Westfälische Wilhelms-University of Münster.


Interested applicants are invited to send a letter of motivation with career goals, a copy of their CV, and contact information of 2 references (address, phone number, email) by electronic mail to brunotte@uni-muenster.deor per mail to


Dr. Linda Brunotte

Institute of Molecular Virology (IMV)

Von-Esmarch-Str. 56

D-48149 Muenster, Germany