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DKFZ Marie Curie MasterClasses

Do you want to do excellent research supported by one of the most prestigious postdoctoral programs in Europe? Do you want to work at a leading research institution with colleagues from all over the world? Do you want to be mentored by world-class scientists? Do you want to expand the frontiers of your knowledge by accessing cutting-edge research facilities and state-of-the-art labs? Do you want to contribute researching for a Life without Cancer? Our DKFZ Marie Curie MasterClasses support you achieving it.

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellowships

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellowships are granted by the European Commission and fund postdoctoral research projects for up to 24 months.

Benefits include:

  • Living and mobility allowance (i.e. postdoc salary including social security contributions and health insurance).
  • Family allowance.
  • Budget for research, training and networking.
  • Access to a worldwide network of fellows and alumni.


To be eligible for the call 2024 of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellowships you:

  • Need to hold a PhD degree. Your thesis must be defended before September 11, 2024.
  • Must have a maximum of 8 years of postdoctoral research experience from the date of defense of your PhD and until September 11, 2024. Career breaks (parental leave, military service, work outside research, etc.) do not count towards the amount of research experience.
  • Must not have resided or worked in Germany for more than 12 months in the 36 months immediately before the September 11, 2024.

Our support actions

Is this your first time writing a research proposal? Are you unsure about how to write a successful research plan? Not sure, who can be your supervisor? We help you with this:

  • Check the list of available DKFZ Principal Investigators in the following.
  • You submit your pre-application and we check your eligibility for this call and put you in contact with the Principal Investigators of your choice.
  • If there is a match between you and a DKFZ PI, we support you during the whole application process.
  • Marie Curie MasterClasses: three online workshops between June and July 2024 on how to plan and write a successful proposal.
  • 1 to 1 feedback and consultation with experienced grants experts.

How to participate?

Send us your application via ( by May 13, 2024 including:

  • Form: "Registration as pre-candidate for Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellowships (MSC-PF, Call 2024)". In this form, you can indicate up to three possible DKFZ Principal Investigators you would like to work with.
  • CV including list of publications (max. 3 pages) – at least one publication as first author (or shared first authorship) is required to be considered for the fellowship.
  • Motivation letter (max. 1 page): tell us about your research interests and career plans. Why would these three principal investigators be a good match for you? What can you bring to their groups?

DKFZ Principal Investigators

You may choose up to three Principal Investigators from the following list (indicate your choice in the form under "Selection of DKFZ Principal Investigators"). The questions below and the topics and keywords should help you identifying the best fit for your future career.
Do you have scientific interest or experience in the topic? Do you have practical experience in the models and techniques? Can you bring new expertise to the group? If the answer to all or most of these questions is yes, then this could be one of your three potential Principal Investigators.


Research Program A – Cell Biology and Tumor Biology

Prof. Dr. Christof Niehrs. Division of Molecular Embriology (A050).
Topic(s): Development of ROTACs for Targeted Cancer Therapy (Keywords: PROTACs, R-spondin, transmembrane cancer targets); Towards cancer drug development by targeting casein kinase 1 – DDX3 signaling (Keywords: Cancer Kinase regulation, phase separation, Wnt signaling, CK1, DDX helicases).

Prof. Dr. Tobias Dick. Division of Redox Regulation (A160).
Topic(s): Understanding ferroptosis resistance in tumor cells. The role of sulfur metabolism in cytoprotection; Development of new tools for the study of redox metabolism; Understanding protein redox switches (Keywords: Redox Signaling, Stress Adaptation, Ferroptosis, Redox Biosensors).

Dr. Wilhelm Palm. Division of Cell Signaling and Metabolism (A330).
Topic(s): 1. Dissecting cancer metabolism through CRISPR screens; 2. Regulation of mitochondrial metabolism by oncogenic signaling and nutrient environment; 3. Mechanistic characterization of mammalian genes of unknown function (Keywords: Cancer metabolism, mTORC1, lysosome, mitochondria, CRISPR screens).

Prof. Dr. Michaela Frye. Division of Mechanisms Regulating Gene Expression (A350).
Topic(s): RNA modifications, cancer, immune cells, early detection and prevention (Keywords: Head and Neck Cancer, melanoma, nanopore RNA modification direct sequencing).


Research Program B – Functional and Structural Genomics

Prof. Dr. Karsten Rippe. Division of Chromatin Networks (B066).
Topic(s): (1) Resolving therapy resistance mechanisms by single cell multi-omics analysis. (2) Phase separation driven formation of active and silenced chromatin states. (3) Spatially resolved omics to dissect intra-tumor heterogeneity (Keywords: nuclear organization, transcription regulation, tumor heterogeneity, spatially resolved multiomics, integrative data analysis).

PD Dr. Maïwen Caudron-Herger. Research group RNA-Protein Complexes & Cell Proliferation (B150).
Topic(s): Riboregulation in mitosis: the impact of RNA on the functional regulation of key mitotic proteins (Keywords: Unconventional RNA-binding proteins; Cell division; iCLIP-seq; Mass spectrometry; Confocal microscopy).

Prof. Dr. Rocio Sotillo. Division of Molecular Thoracic Oncology (B220).
Topic(s): Lung cancer (Keywords: In vivo CRISPR screen, Tumor supressors, mouse models, resistance, OMICS).

Prof. Dr. Jeroen Krijgsveld. Division of Proteomics of Stem Cells and Cancer (B230).
Topic(s): Maintenance of proteostasis; single-cell proteomics; proteome networks (Keywords: Proteomics, mass spectrometry, computational biology, single-cell biology).

Prof. Dr. Benedikt Brors. Division of Applied Bioinformatics (B330).
Topic(s): Machine learning approaches to investigate the role of tumor-immune microenvironment and response to therapy in pancreatic cancer (Keywords: Pancreatic cancers, multiomics data analysis, machine learning, predictive modelling).

Prof. Dr. Stefan Fröhling. Division of Translational Medical Oncology (B340).
Topic(s): Forward- and reverse-translational projects at the interface of preclinical research and clinical application, with particular focus on novel, molecularly guided cancer therapies (Keywords: Cancer multi-omics, precision oncology, molecular pathogenesis and therapeutic targeting of rare cancers, e.g., bone and soft-tissue sarcoma).

Dr. Christiane Opitz. Division of Metabolic Crosstalk in Cancer (B350).
Topic(s): Metabolic regulation at the interface between cancer and the immune system (Keywords: Amino acid metabolism, metabolic signaling, immune regulation).

Dr. Ana Banito. Junior Research Group Soft-Tissue Sarcoma (B380).
Topic(s): Cell of origin for pediatric sarcomas, Tumor maintenance and immune escape mechanisms by oncofusions (Keywords: Electroporation-based genetically engineered mouse models of sarcoma (EPO-GEMMs), degradation TAG (dTAG), single cell and spatial analysis).

Dr. Pei-Chi Wei. Helmholtz Young Investigator Group Brain Mosaicism and Tumorigenesis (B400).
Topic(s): Clonal dynamic in the developing brain (Keywords: Mouse model, embryonic neurogenesis, lesion-mediated clonal expansion, experienced in wet-lab setting on single-cell technology; experienced in single-cell data analyses).

Dr. Aurélie Ernst. Junior Research Group Genome Instability in Tumors (B420).
Topic(s): Chromothripsis is a form of genome instability, whereby a presumably single catastrophic event generates extensive genomic rearrangements. Importantly, chromothripsis may initiate 30-50% of human cancers and is linked with poor prognosis. Our goal is to decipher the mechanistic basis of chromothripsis, the context of occurrence and translational implications. We are looking for a highly motivated postdoctoral scientist, who wants to work on a fascinating newly discovered phenomenon. Our work goes from basic research to pre-clinical studies in mouse models, with a broad range of possible experimental and computational projects for the candidate. Single-cell/spatial genomics and CRISPR-Cas9 are core methods in our group (Keywords: Cancer Genomics, Chromosome instability, Chromothripsis, Spatial and single-cell genomics).

Dr. Lena Kutscher. DKFZ Junior Group Neurodevelopmental principles underlying pediatric brain cancer (B430).
Topic(s): Neurodevelopmental principles underlying pediatric brain cancer (Keywords: Medulloblastoma, mouse models, iPSC-based models, developmental genetics, functional genomics).


Research Program C – Cancer Risk Factors and Preventions

Dr. Federico Canzian. Research Group Genomic Epidemiology (C055).
Topic(s): Genetic epidemiology of susceptibility to cancer and of prognosis of cancer patients (Keywords: Genetic susceptibility, germline genetics, genomics, pancreatic cancer, multiple myeloma).

Dr. Mahdi Fallah, MD, PhD. Division of Preventive Oncology (C120).
Topic(s): Risk-adapted cancer screening (Keywords: Cancer screening, cancer prevention, cancer epidemiology, SAS program, very large cohort analyses).

PD. Dr. med. Titus Brinker. Junior Research Group Digital Biomarkers for Oncology (C140).
Topic(s): Explainable Artificial Intelligence in Image Classification, Digital Translational Oncology, Deep Learning Strategies for High Throughput Proteomics (Keywords: Artificial Intelligence, Explainable Artificial Intelligence, Digital Translational Oncology, Image Classification, Proteomics)


Research Program D – Immunology, Infection and Cancer

Prof. Dr. med. Michael Platten. Clinical Cooperation Unit Neuroimmunology and Brain Tumor Immunology (D170).
Topic(s): Accelerating personalised cell therapies by utilising information from the immune system, AI classifiers and rapid, high-throughput manufacture of DANN delivery vectors **spinout potential** (Keywords: Immune repertoires, single cell sequencing, TCR, cell therapy, bioinformatics).

Dr. Felix J. Hartmann. Junior Research Group Systems Immunology and Single-Cell Biology (D260).
Topic(s): Spatial Quantification of Immune Function and Cellular Metabolism in Human Cancer (Keywords: Spatial Omics, Single-Cell, Immunology, Metabolism, Computational Biology).

Prof. Dr. Dr. Henri-Jacques Delecluse. Division of Pathogenesis of Virus Associated Tumors (D400).
Topic(s): Genetics and structural Biology of Epstein-Barr virus (Keywords: Epstein-Barr virus, EBER non coding-RNA, proteome, cryoEM).

Dr. Marco Binder. Research group Dynamics of early viral infection and the innate antiviral response. Division of Virus-associated Carcinogenesis (D430).
Topic(s): Elucidating the interplay between endogenous viruses and the innate immune system and its role in cancer development (Keywords: Endogenous (Retro)viruses, Somatic vs. Germline Integration, Bioinformatics, Data-Driven Virus Discovery, Immune Modulation & Chronic Inflammation).


Research Program E – Imaging and Radiooncology

Prof. Dr. Oliver Jäkel. Division of Medical Physics in Radiation Oncology (E040).
Topic(s): Relating MRI to morphological biomarkers for prognostic response assessment during radiotherapy in non-small-cell lung cancer (Keywords: Functional MRI, imaging biomarker, Radiotherapy, Non-small cell lung cancer, therapy response and adaption).

Prof. Dr. Leif Schröder. Division of Translational Molecular Imaging (E280).
Topic(s): MRI and NMR spectroscopy with hyperpolarized contrast agents (Keywords: MRI, molecular imaging, hyperpolarization, CEST, bioengineering).


Prof. Dr. Tian Qiu. Division of Smart Technologies for Tumor Therapy (E300).
Topic(s): Smart Technologies for Tumor Therapy (Keywords: Small-scale robotics, in vitro tumor model, 3D microfabrication, wireless actuation, controlled drug delivery).

Prof. Dr. Oliver Bruns. Department of Functional Imaging in Surgical Oncology (DD11).
Topic(s): Fluorescence guided surgery; contrast agents for deep tissue imaging (Keywords: SWIR, cancer, surgery, nerve imaging, lymph node imaging).


Dr. Hafsa Munir. HI-TRON Mainz Junior Research Group Dermal Oncoimmunology (D195).
Topic(s): Role of stromal-immune interactions in shaping cancer (Keywords: Skin cancer, Immunology, stoma, functional immune assays).


Prof. Dr. Dieter Saur. Translational Cancer Research and Experimental Cancer Therapy (MU05).
Topic(s): Immune signalling in pancreatic cancer (Keywords: Immunosuppression, combination therapies, genetic screens, single cell profiling, barcoding).

Prof. Dr. med. Martin L. Sos. Department of Translational Oncology (MU08).
Topic(s): Evolution of drug resistance and cancer cell reprogramming (Keywords: Lung cancer models, functional genomics, scRNA-Seq and spatial genomics, characterization of drug targets).

Next steps

  • Send us your application not later than May 13, 2024.
  • Shortlisted pre-candidates will be contacted by one or more DKFZ Principal Investigators in May and June. The final decision, whether a candidate submits a proposal for the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellowships (MSC-PF) is made by the Principal Investigators.
  • If there is a match, you will write a proposal for the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellowships (MSC-PF) together with the PI and with our support.
  • Selected candidates will be invited to join three online seminars (MasterClasses) organized by the DKFZ Grants Office on June 26, July 3 and July 10, 2024.
  • If you are selected by a DKFZ Principal Investigator, the deadline for the submission of the MSC-PF proposal to the European Union is September 11, 2024.
  • The decision on the award of the MSC-PF is expected in February 2025 and the earliest fellowship start is expected to be April 2025Note: Submission of a proposal and participation in the support activities do not guarantee a postdoctoral position at the DKFZ. An employment contract may only come to place in case of award of the Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship by the European Commission.
  • For any inquiries, do not hesitate to contact us via

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