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Cancer ResearchDepartment of Thoracic Surgery

Division of Cancer Research

Department of Thoracic Surgery

Open Positions

We continuously welcome applications supported by the SGBM PhD program or from external funding sources.

Graduate students, medical students, master students

If you are interested in our lab, please send your CV, publication list (if applicable) as well as graded transcripts and contact details of at least two referees in one pdf by email.

Please note: if we do not advertise funded graduate student positions on this webpage, please apply primarily if you have successfully applied for an external or internal fellowship.

For medical students: we only offer experimental projects for ambitious MD theses, which will likely require at least one, realistically two semesters full-time commitment. 

We do not have HiWi positions available.

Division of Cancer Research

Department of Thoracic Surgery

Center for Translational Cell Research (ZTZ)
Breisacher Str. 115
D-79106 Freiburg



Prof. Dr. Sven Diederichs

Division Head

+49 761 270-77571

More than 70% of the human Genome (blue) is transcribed into RNA forming the Transcriptome (red), while only less than 2% of the genome are needed to produce all proteins in a human cell constituting the Proteome (yellow).

RNA Biology

A particular emphasis of our research lies on the Molecular Biology of RNA and its associated molecules.

Recent insights into RNA biology induced a paradigm shift towards the recognition of RNAs as functionally important molecules - beyond serving as messengers for protein-encoding genes. A large fraction of the human genome is transcribed into RNA (more than 70%), while only 2% are protein-encoding. Non-protein-coding RNAs execute important functions in the cell. Very short non-coding RNAs, the microRNAs, play important roles in gene regulation. The tumor-suppressive or oncogenic role of many microRNAs and their frequent deregulation in tumors allow a first glimpse of the striking role that non-coding RNAs could play in cancer. Novel long non-coding RNAs (ncRNA, lncRNA, lincRNA) fulfill important functions in epigenetic regulation, chromatin remodeling or splicing. Taken together, the human cell contains many more RNAs than previously anticipated and many of them might just await their discovery as functionally important molecules in cancer.

Our research focuses on long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) and their role in cancer. Based on expression profiling using microarrays as well as deep RNA sequencing of the whole transcriptome, we elucidate the cellular and molecular functions of differentially regulated ncRNAs in cancer using innovative techniques like the CRISPR/Cas9 system, in vivo RNA Affinity Purification and our own customized siRNA and CRISPR libraries targeting specifically lung cancer-associated lncRNAs. Our RNAi screens have uncovered numerous lncRNAs controlling several hallmarks of cancer including cancer cell viability, mitosis and Migration.

An emerging Topic of particular importance in our lab are RNA-Protein complexes, especially the new concept of RNA Dependence: R-DeeP (Mol Cell 2019).