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Open PhD Position at the Institute of Physiology, University of Zurich
Institute of Physiology, University of Zurich
Host Lab
Mechanisms of Inherited Kidney Disorders Group (PI: Prof. Dr. med Olivier DEVUYST)
Contract Duration
Deadline for application


Open PhD Position

Institute of Physiology, University of Zurich

Mechanisms of Inherited Kidney Disorders Group

PI: Prof. Dr. med Olivier DEVUYST


A PhD position is currently available in a dynamic, international research group investigating endolysosomal disorders primarily affecting the kidney.

The endolysosomal system sustains the reabsorptive activity of specialized epithelial cells, hence their role in homeostasis.

In view of their crucial role in reabsorbing and processing essential nutrients, the proximal tubule epithelial cells provide a particularly well–suited model to investigate pathogenic mechanisms underlying epithelial cell disorders.

  • Based on a translational approach using cell–and–animal based models combined with advanced live cell microscopy and in vitro biochemical assays, we are investigating the links between dysregulation of endolysosomal system, defective epithelial function and progression of kidney disease.
  • The current project will address: (i) how the endolysosome system maintains the epithelial cell differentiation and function; (ii) how these mechanisms are altered in rare and common kidney diseases; and (iii) how drug discovery strategies can rescue the cellular phenotype.
  • These studies will use available cell and transgenic mouse and zebrafish models, with access to technological platforms (phenotyping, imaging, cell physiology, and functional genomics) and to patient material (European networks, biobanks, and GWAS cohorts). Our group is particularly involved in national (ZIHP and Radiz) and European (EUNEFRON; EURenOmics; ERA-EDTA) and international (Cystinosis Research Foundation, CRF) networks on rare genetic diseases.

The ultimate goals of our research are to get new insights into epithelial cell biology and to better understand the mechanisms of diseases targeting the kidney tubule. We develop new diagnostic tests and innovative treatments, in collaboration with SMEs or larger biotech companies.


Information about our research lines can be found at:


Selected publications: Autophagy 2018; 28:1-3, 2018; Nat Commun. 2018; 9:161; Nat Rev Nephrol.13:455-470, 2017; N Engl J Med. 2017;377:1930-1942; Kidney Int. 91(4):842-855, 2017; Nat Cell Biol.18:839-850, 2016; J Am Soc Nephrol 27:2049-61, 2016; J. Physiol. 593(18):4151-64, 2015; Hum Mol Genet. 23:2266-78, 2014; Lancet 383:1844-59, 2014; Nat Med. 2013;19: 1655-60; Kidney Int. 82: 1121-9, 2012; J Am Soc Nephrol. 22: 693-703, 2011; Nature 478:103-9, 2011.

Keywords: epithelial cell biology; autophagy; cell differentiation; kidney tubule; lysosome storage disease; mitochondria; oxidative stress; receptor–mediated endocytosis

Profile: We are looking for recent graduates (Master of Science in biology or pharmaceutical sciences or similar) who are strongly interested in cell biology and/or in disease–oriented research, and who are enthusiastic and with a drive scientific innovation and discovery.

Language: Very good spoken and written English is essential. Additional German or French is a useful surplus.


We offer: Excellent living conditions and attractive salary in Switzerland; first-class research environment, focused on a translational research with high medical relevance; multiple interactions and international environment within the University and Academic Hospital in Zurich; networking and recognition in the field of rare diseases.


The position is open from July 2018 until filled.


Please send: CV, bibliography, motivation towards the position (that could include a brief statement of own career objectives), and a list of 3 potential referees to:


Enquiries about the position can be addressed to:  and