The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

PhD in Immunology and Pathogenesis of Human Pathogenic Fungi

2024-10-30 (Asia/Jerusalem)
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About our Campus: The position will be based at The Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment on The Hebrew University’s beautiful Rehovot Campus. Rehovot is centrally located, only a 30 minutes’ drive from Tel Aviv and one hour away from Jerusalem with public transportation.

About our School: The position falls under The Koret School of Veterinary Medicine, but it's open to postdocs and PhD students from other fields. The nature of the research is basic science, not veterinary medicine. 

About Our Research: How do fungal cells die? How do hosts, such as humans, fight against them? And how can we use this knowledge to develop novel antimicrobial treatments? These are the questions we address in the Shlezinger Lab. To tackle these significant inquiries, we utilize novel fluorescent biosensors that enable us to visualize individual encounters between host cells and pathogenic fungi in real-time and within their natural habitat. This approach aids in profiling their communications with the immune system, ultimately defining the outcome of infection. Understanding the mechanisms governing this multifactorial interaction is imperative for the development of much-needed novel antifungals.

To delve into these pressing questions, we study fungal cell death networks, the immune triggers initiating fungal cell death, and evaluate the therapeutic potential of targets identified within these pathways. Another significant research avenue in the lab involves the study of fungal viruses (mycoviruses) and their role in fungal pathogenesis. Mycoviruses, which infect fungi, can alter fungal virulence. Yet, despite their ubiquity and importance, the underlying mechanisms driving mycoviral infection and their consequences on fungal pathogenesis remain understudied. We have discovered that mycoviruses infecting human fungal pathogens confer a survival benefit to the fungus under stress conditions and in the murine lung, thus contributing to fungal virulence. Moreover, antiviral treatment reverses the exacerbated virus-mediated virulence, offering a promising "antipathogenicity" therapy against virus-bearing pathogenic fungi. What are the underlying mechanisms? What breadth of diversity exists in coupling mycoviral infection with altered fungal virulence in humans, and can we leverage it for therapeutic gain? These are the questions we aim to address.

A third line of research in the lab concerns host adaptation and its role in driving speciation and the emergence of cross-kingdom host jumps. To tackle this important question, we explore genetic elements dictating host specificity of plant and human fungal pathogens, as well as the environmental selective pressures (such as antifungals and predatory, competitive, synergistic, or parasitic microbial interactions) driving this evolutionary process. Additional applied initiatives include the identification of natural products (bacterial compounds) and synthetic antifungal peptides for application in agriculture, the food industry, and clinical settings.

Job Description: We are seeking highly talented and motivated students for fully ERC-funded Ph.D. and Postdoc positions. These studies may entail handling animal experiments. 

The Supervisor: Neta Shlezinger, Assistant Professor in the Koret School of Veterinary Medicine at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, serves as a dedicated mentor in the field of fungal-host interactions. Dr. Shlezinger brings a wealth of experience, having conducted postdoctoral studies at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Tobias Hohl’s lab, where she focused on mammalian antifungal immunity. She earned her doctoral degree in Microbiology from Tel Aviv University under the guidance of Amir Sharon, delving into plant antifungal immunity.

Through her comprehensive understanding of the multifaceted interactions between viruses, fungal hosts, and mammalian hosts, as well as the regulation of cell survival and death within this intricate dynamic, Dr. Shlezinger's research aims to drive the development of novel antifungal strategies. As a mentor, she cultivates an environment of learning and innovation, guiding aspiring researchers toward meaningful contributions in the field of fungal biology and immunology.

Funding: A monthly stipend, ranging from 8,000-9,000 (PhD) to 12,000 NIS (postdoc).

Your Profile: To excel in this role, we seek candidates with: 

  • Background in microbiology and preferably in immunology
  • Preference will be given to candidates with a computational background

Embracing Diversity: At Hebrew University we believe that diversity inspires creativity, fosters curiosity, and enriches our ecosystem through academic collaboration and cultural exchange. We consider every member of our community an integral part, irrespective of their religion, gender, or ethnic origin.

HUJI is home to nearly 25,000 students across our 6 campuses, including ~2,500 per year representing 90+ countries. You’ll enjoy the opportunity to engage with your peers here on equal ground, in an environment that promotes equity and inclusion, and celebrates the contribution of its talented members.

Application: We welcome your application via our online portal, complete with all required documents compiled into a single PDF:

  • Letter of motivation
  • CV (including a list of publications)
  • Brief statement of research interests (max. 1500 characters)
  • Copy of your original academic degree(s)

Application Deadline: Applications must be submitted through our online portal by October 30, 2024. 

About Hebrew University: The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HUJI) is one of the world's leading research institutions, consistently ranked as a global top-100 university. Established by luminaries such as Albert Einstein, we’re at the forefront of groundbreaking research, entrepreneurship, and innovation across various domains, including brain sciences, medicine, biomedicine, life sciences, mathematics, agriculture, and more. Our 6 campuses house 100+ research centers, with ~4,000 research projects underway year-round. 

About Rehovot: The Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food & Environment (HUJI), the world-famous Weizmann Institute of Science, and assorted hi-tech and biotech businesses define the character of Rehovot. The ongoing influx of visiting academics from abroad helps to infuse the modern city with a truly international flavor.

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Job details

PhD in Immunology and Pathogenesis of Human Pathogenic Fungi
Rehovot Campus, Herzl Street 229, POB 12 Rehovot, Israel
Application deadline
2024-10-30 23:59 (Asia/Jerusalem)
2024-10-30 22:59 (CET)
Job type
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In the late 19th century, great thinkers came together to envision what a Hebrew university could look like. A university of the Jewish people.

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