Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

PhD positions offered by the H2020 MSCA-ITN AntiHelix to study human genome maintenance DNA helicases

    Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche
    Biological sciencesBiology
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    14/12/2019 23:00 - Europe/Brussels
    Multiple locations, see work locations below.
    H2020 / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

We are pleased to advertise 13 PhD positions for early-stage researchers (ESRs) to begin in February/March 2020, as part of the Innovative Training Network of the European Commission entitled “DNA helicases in genome maintenance: from molecular and cellular mechanisms to specific inhibitors as potential drugs” (AntiHelix; https://cordis.europa.eu/project/rcn/224674/factsheet/en; https://www.elettra.eu/AntiHelix/). The offered positions will all last three years and will allow all the recruited researchers to be enrolled in local PhD schools and to participate in an exciting multidisciplinary research programme that will enhance their career perspectives in both the academic and non-academic sector. In addition to their individual projects, all ESRs will benefit from a dedicated training programme consisting of local and network-wide training activities aimed at improving their scientific knowledge and transferable skills.

The AntiHelix consortium includes the following 9 European institutions as Beneficiaries: Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Naples, Italy; Elettra - Sincrotrone Trieste SCpA, Trieste, Italy; University of Copenhagen, Denmark; VU University of Amsterdam, Netherlands; University of Sheffield, United Kingdom; University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany; Lead Discovery Center GmbH, Dortmund, Germany; Edelris SAS, Lyon, France; Lumicks BV, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

The AntiHelix program is coordinated by Francesca M. Pisani (Istituto di Biochimica e Biologia Cellulare, Consiglio Nazionale Ricerche, Naples, Italy).

The ESR proposed projects are:

Project 1: Investigating structure-function relationships of the DDX11 DNA helicase. Supervisor: F. M. Pisani (fm.pisani@ibp.cnr.it), Consiglio Nazionale Ricerche, Napoli, Italy. Keywords: Biochemistry; Molecular Biology; Cell Biology

Project 2: Identification of novel DDX11, FANCJ and RECQ4 interaction partners by proteomic studies. Supervisor: G. Manco (g.manco@ibp.cnr.it), Consiglio Nazionale Ricerche, Napoli, Italy. Keywords: Biochemistry; Proteomics; Biophysics

Project 3: Structure and function of the RECQ4 DNA helicase. Supervisor: L. Napolitano (luisa.napolitano@elettra.eu), Elettra - Sincrotrone Trieste SCpA, Trieste, Italy. Keywords: Biochemistry; Structural Biology; Cell biology

Project 4: Structural and biochemical analysis of Fe-S DNA helicases. Supervisor: S. Onesti (silvia.onesti@elettra.eu), Elettra - Sincrotrone Trieste SCpA, Trieste, Italy. Biochemistry; Structural Biology; Biophysics

Project 5: Investigation of the functional roles of different DNA helicases in response to replication stress. Supervisor: Y. Liu (ying@sund.ku.dk), University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Keywords: Molecular biology; Cell biology; Gene editing

Project 6: Mechanistic studies of the BLM complex in mitosis. Supervisor: I. D. Hickson (iandh@sund.ku.dk), University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Keywords: Biochemistry; Molecular biology; Cell biology

Project 7: Correlated Tweezers Fluorescence Microscopy to visualize and measure the interplay of the BLM complex with the chromatin-remodelling factor PICH on DNA. Supervisor: G. J. L. Wuite (g.j.l.wuite@vu.nl), VU University of Amsterdam, Netherlands. Keywords: Biophysics; Biochemistry; Molecular biology

Project 8: Dissecting the DNA binding and unwinding activities of the human PIF1 helicase. Supervisor: C. M. Sanders (c.m.sanders@sheffield.ac.uk), University of Sheffield, United Kingdom. Keywords: Biochemistry; Molecular biology; Cell biology

Project 9: Therapeutic validation of DNA helicases in cancer. Supervisor: I. Helfrich (iris.helfrich@uk-essen.de), University Duisburg-Essen, Germany. Keywords: Molecular Oncology; Cellular 2D/3D cancer models; Bioinformatics

Project 10: Discovery of small molecule inhibitors of human BLM and RECQ4 DNA helicases. Supervisor: B. Klebl (kathrin.klebl@lead-discovery.de), Lead Discovery Center GmbH, Dortmund, Germany. Keywords: Biochemistry; Medicinal chemistry; Drug discovery

Project 11: Discovery of small-molecule inhibitors of human PIF1 and Fe-S DNA helicases. Supervisor: J. Eickhoff (kathrin.klebl@lead-discovery.de), Lead Discovery Center GmbH, Dortmund, Germany. Keywords: Biochemistry; Medicinal chemistry; High throughput screening

Project 12: Discovery of small molecule inhibitors of human BLM, RECQ1 and PIF1 DNA helicases. Supervisor: D. Roche (didier.roche@edelris.com), Edelris SAS, Lyon, France. Keywords: Medicinal chemistry; Drug discovery; High throughput screening

Project 13: Biophysical study of DNA helicase action mechanism. Supervisor: M. de Groot (m.degroot@lumicks.com), Lumicks BV, Amsterdam, Netherlands. Keywords: Biophysics, Biochemistry; Correlative optical-tweezers fluorescence microscopy


  • 3-year full-time employment contract in accordance with the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action regulations for Early Stage Researchers;

  • Enrolment in a local PhD school.

  • Access to state-of-the-art research and supervision by recognized experts

  • Participation in network-wide training activities, schools and conferences

  • Secondments periods at other network partners’ labs.

Eligibility criteria

Candidates must comply with the following requirements:

  • Have not been resident or have conducted main activity (studies, work, etc.) for more than 12 months within the last three years in the country where the project will take place

  • Be in the first four years of their research career (measured from the date they have obtained a Master's degree or equivalent that allows them to enrol in a PhD program)

  • Be fluent in English

Selection process

Candidates are invited to send the following documents to Dr Francesca M. Pisani, Istituto di Biochimica e Biologia Cellulare - CNR, Naples, Italy (Coordinator of the AntiHelix MSCA-ITN; e-mail: antihelix.management@ibbc.cnr.it):

  1. A motivation letter (max. two pages).

  2. A CV including the details of education/qualifications, work experience, language skills and other relevant skills; contact details of at least two Scientists for reference letters.

  3. A certified/signed copy of a recent transcript of exams taken with relative mark. A certified/signed copy of Master of Science certificate or a letter from the Head of the degree course stating that the Student is going to finish before the end of 2019.

  4. List of positions each candidate is interested in. Please give two/three options (nr. 1 should be the one you like the most) using the reference for each PhD project.

Candidates are encouraged to contact the supervisors by email to discuss the details of the projects, before applying.


Web site for additional job details

Offer Requirements



  • Master's Degree or equivalent in Biology or Biotechnology or Chemistry or Biochemistry or Pharmaceutical Chemistry or Medicine or Physics
  • Be fluent in English

Specific Requirements

Versatility and ability to work well in international academic settings and to interact with a team of multidisciplinary scientists are also required.


Map Information

Work location(s)
2 position(s) available at
IBBC - Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche
2 position(s) available at
Elettra - Sincrotrone Trieste SCpA, Trieste, Italy
1 position(s) available at
VU University of Amsterdam
1 position(s) available at
University of Sheffield
United Kingdom
1 position(s) available at
University Duisburg-Essen
2 position(s) available at
Lead Discovery Center GmbH
1 position(s) available at
Edelris SAS
1 position(s) available at
Lumicks BV

EURAXESS offer ID: 450137


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