PhD Programs & Mentoring

ZMB PhD Programs & Mentoring

PhD Programs

We offer students access to a wide range of structured doctoral programs in the field of biomedical research. This includes DFG funded graduate schools and also joint projects.

The Medical Faculty and the University Hospital Essen also run the Graduate School of Biomedical Science (BIOME):

Moreover, we have a share in the International Max Planck Research School for Living Matter (IMPRS-LM):

Find out more about ZMB joint projects under ZMB research:
ZMB consortia

DFG funded research training groups

Research Training Group, since 2023:RTG 2989: Targeting Cellular Interfaces in Reperfused Acute Myocardial Infarction (TCI repAMI)

Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Tienush Rassaf, University Hospital Essen


Project ZMB Member
P3: T cell-mediated inflammatory response from (extra-) cardiac sources More Prof. Dr. Wiebke Hansen
P4: Gut dysbiosis modifies vascular integrity and function More Prof. Dr. Tienush Rassaf
Prof. Dr. Astrid Westendorf
P6: Trained immunity in cardiac cells More Prof. Dr. Jens Siveke
Prof. Dr. Ulrike Hendgen-Cotta
P7: Targeting cardiomyocyte fate landscape More Prof. Dr. Tienush Rassaf
Prof. Dr. Ulrike Hendgen-Cotta
P8: Targeting arrhythmias from atrial remodeling More Prof. Dr. Jens Siveke
P11: Mitochondrial remodeling and clearing shaping cellular-decision making More Prof. Dr. Tienush Rassaf
Prof. Dr. Ulrike Hendgen-Cotta

Research Training Group, since 2015:RTG 2098: Biomedicine of the acid sphingomyelinase/acid ceramidase system

Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Erich Gulbins, University Hospital Essen


Project ZMB Member
P01: The role of acid sphingomyelinase (Asm) in T cell responses during tumor development and radiation treatment More Prof. Dr. Jan Buer
P02: Sphingolipid signals regulate hypoxia inducible factor 1 in endothelial cells and macrophages after single-dose radiation therapy More Prof. Dr. Joachim Fandrey
P04: Role of acid sphingomyelinase in experimental inflammatory bowel disease More Prof. Dr. Astrid Westendorf
P06: Role of acid sphingomyelinase in mycobacterial infections More Prof. Dr. Karl S. Lang
P07: Preventing infection in cystic fibrosis with acid ceramidase More Prof. Dr. Erich Gulbins
P08: Role of ceramide-rich macrodomains in regulating ABC transporters post ischemia More Prof. Dr. Dirk Hermann
P10: Sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) as a causal factor for impaired function of high-density lipoproteins (HDL) in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) More Prof. Dr. Bodo Levkau

Research Training Group, since 2014:RTG 1949: Immune Response in Infectious Diseases - Regulation between Innate and Adaptive Immunity

Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Astrid Westendorf, University Hospital Essen


Project ZMB Member
Analysis of rapid IFNγ production of NK cells towards adaptive immunity and anti-bacterial activities of macrophages early upon bacterial infection More Prof. Dr. Carsten Kirschning
The impact of CD47 signaling on the immune response during influenza virus infection More Prof. Dr. Jan Buer
Antigen-independent activation of T cells during polymicrobial sepsis and its impact on the differentiation and function of myeloid cells More Prof. Dr. Stefanie Flohè
Impact of different macrophage subsets on T cell responses and pathogen clearance during Plasmodium yoelii infection More Prof. Dr. Wiebke Hansen
The role of FXR signaling during infection with persistent prone virus More Prof. Dr. Karl Sebastian Lang
Modulation of anti-retroviral T cell responses by different IFNα subtypes More Prof. Dr. Ulf Dittmer
PD Dr. Kathrin Sutter
Interleukin-33-mediated dysbiosis and the consequences for enteric bacterial infection More Prof. Dr. Astrid Westendorf

Research Training Group, since 2012:RTG 1739: Molecular Determinants of the Cellular Radiation Response and their Potential for Response Modulation

Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Verena Jendrossek, University Hospital Essen


Project ZMB Member
Molecular mechanisms linking repair of DNA double strand breaks by alternative end joining to growth factor signaling R More Prof. Dr. George Iliakis
Mechanisms of the p97- and ubiquitin-governed radiation response More Prof. Dr. Hemmo Meyer
Functions and regulations of the replication initiation regulator TopBP1 upon exposure to IR More Prof. Dr. Dominik Boos
An old passenger as a new driver: Defining Survivin’s role as a link between replication fork dynamics and radiation response More Prof. Dr. Shirley Knauer
Role of the protein kinase B/AKT pathway for the cellular radiation response More Prof. Dr. Verena Jendrossek
Role of the tyrosine kinase TrkA and TrkB in checkpoint activation and DSB repair More Prof. Dr. Alexander Schramm
Identification of novel targets for rational chemoradiotherapy strategies in non-small-cell lung cancer More Prof. Dr. Martin Schuler
Role of the acid sphingomyelinase in immune and endothelial cells for anti-tumor effects of irradiation More Prof. Dr. Erich Gulbins
Importance of Caveolin-1 for modulating the radiation response in the context of tumor-stroma interactions More Prof. Dr. Diana Klein
Identifying and targeting resistance mechanisms to 177Lu-PSMA radioligand therapy of metastatic prostate cancer More Prof. Dr. Ken Herrmann

CRC 1430: Molecular Mechanisms of Cell State Transitions

Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Hemmo Meyer, Center of Medical Biotechnology (ZMB)


Project ZMB Member
A01: Molecular control of kinetochore microtubule interactions at the metaphase-anaphase transitionMore Prof. Dr. Stefan Westermann
A02: Bridging the gap between cell biology and biochemistry with artificial protein prosthetics in cell cycle transitionsMore Prof. Dr. Andrea Musacchio
A03: VCP/p97-cofactor complexes at the intersection of DNA repair and checkpoint controlMore Prof. Dr. Hemmo Meyer
A05: A molecular interface linking DNA replication with cell states of different replication competenceMore Prof. Dr. Dominik Boos
A06: Implications of deregulated proteostasis in cell state transitionsMore Prof. Dr. Michael Ehrmann
A07: Golgi stress: impacting cell cycle transitionsMore Prof. Dr. Doris Hellerschmied
A08: Switching of spatio-temporal Rho GTPase signal network dynamics during cell cycle phase transitionsMore Prof. Dr. Perihan Nalbant
A09: Targeting oncogene-induced DNA repair pathway switchesMore Prof. Dr. Christian Reinhardt
A11: Molecular regulation of differentiation and cell cycle in tumor-repopulating melanoma cellsMore Prof. Dr. Alexander Roesch
A13: IFNγ-induced cell state transition in melanomaMore Prof. Dr. Annette Paschen
A14: Metastatic transition in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomaMore Dr. Barbara Grüner
B01: Developing chemical tools for investigating cell state transitionsMore Prof. Dr. Markus Kaiser

Excellent Advice:Mentoring by Nobel Laureates and internationally renowned senior scientists

For selected PhD students we offer an outstanding mentoring opportunity by the two Nobel Laureates Robert Huber and Kurt Wüthrich, as well as by Tim Clausen,a structural biologist and senior scientist at the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP) in Vienna, and by Thomas Sommer, a biochemist and molecular biologist, and scientific board of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) in Berlin.

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Robert Huber

Emeritus Group

Structure Research

Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB)

Prof. Dr. h.c. mult. Kurt Wüthrich

Institute for Biochemistry
ETH Zurich, Switzerland

Prof. Dr. Tim Clausen

IMP - Research Institute of Molecular Pathology
Vienna, Austria

Prof. Dr. Thomas Sommer

Max-Delbrück-Centrum für Molekulare Medizin (MDC)

Interview with Kurt Wüthrich

In October 2017, Prof. Kurt Wüthrich talked about his early education in Switzerland and his scientific career, whether scientific success can be planned, and if a Nobel Prize can be a burden. Watch the teaser:

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Click here for more information and to watch the full interview.