The UFZ has a strong commitment to diversity and actively supports equal opportunities for all employees regardless of their origin, religion, ideology, disability, age or sexual identity. We look forward to applications from people who are open-minded and enjoy working in diverse teams.

Your contact for any questions you may have about the job:

Dr. Nils Klüver

Dr. Stefan Scholz

Please submit your application via our online portal with your cover letter, CV (please omit your photo, age, or marital status) and relevant attachments.

Closing date for applications:

Place of work: Leipzig

More information about jobs at the UFZ:

Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung GmbH - UFZ
Permoserstraße 15
04318 Leipzig, Germany

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The Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) with its 1,100 employees has gained an excellent reputation as an international competence centre for environmental sciences. We are part of the largest scientific organisation in Germany, the Helmholtz association. Our mission: Our research seeks to find a balance between social development and the long-term protection of our natural resources.

The department of Bioanalytical Ecotoxicology offering a

Master Thesis (m/f/x): Identification of developmental neurotoxic substances by automated analysis of movement patterns and morphological changes in the zebrafish embryo

start: 01.10.2020, full-time.

The development of the nervous system is a complex process of differentiation, which can be disturbed by chemicals and thus lead to serious limitations in functionality and performance of exposed organisms. For this reason, the detection of developmental neurotoxicity (DNT) is also planned within the framework of various regulations for the registration and approval of chemicals and pharmaceuticals. In the past, the in vivo DNT test guideline was only applied to a limited extent. It is a current and great challenge to collect mechanistic information for several thousand chemicals and to interpret this information with DNT. For the identification of developmental neurotoxic substances the zebrafish embryo represents a possible alternative test system and is discussed for use in an integrated approach for testing and assessment (IATA) framework as a further element in an in vitro DNT testing battery.
The aim of this master thesis is to compare three different methods (spontaneous contractions, photomotor response, locomotor response), which are particularly suitable for use in screening approaches, and to test whether a combination of these endpoints provides a greater significance. The concentration-response curves of suitable positive and negative substances will be compared, and the possible influence of morphological changes and compound uptake (toxicokinetics) on the observed effects will be investigated.

Your tasks:

  • Zebrafish embryo test (ZFET) and movement pattern analysis at different stages of zebrafish development
  • Microscopic evaluation of phenotypic changes using the VAST-BioImager platform
  • Dose-response analyses
  • Analysis of samples with different chemical analysis methods

Your profile:

  • Bachelor's degree in a natural science subject such as biology, chemistry, pharmacy or life sciences or environmental sciences
  • Basic knowledge in toxicology
  • Interest in developmental biology
  • Motivation, curiosity, team spirit

We offer:

  • Interdisciplinary research (bioanalytics, toxicology, environmental toxicology
  • Broad spectrum of methods and dedicated support
  • Excellent technical equipment and infrastructure
  • The opportunity to bring in your own ideas and impulses from the very beginning