Research Assistant in Retroviral and Germline Biology

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Kontakt: Mag. Sabine Steurer
Telefon: +43 (1) 79730 - 3572

The Project

Selfish genetic elements – in particular transposable elements (TEs) - are present and mobilize in the genomes of most species. To protect genome integrity, hosts have therefore evolved diverse mechanisms to silence TE expression and replication.  For millions of years, TEs and hosts remained in continuous competition and conflict. Our studies focus on a specific TE subset in fruitflies (Drosophila melanogaster), the endogenous retroviruses. Here, an ancestral retrovirus diversified into 10 active infective retroviruses (harmless to humans) and 6 active, noninfective retro-elements that replicate intracellularly. Interestingly, each retroviral ‘species’ is expressed in a unique cell type niche within the ovary. Using the Drosophila retroviral family as model system, we aim to understand how retroviral infectivity and niche specific expression co-evolved at the molecular level.

Our Group

The lab of Julius Brennecke is among the worldwide leading groups studying the molecular mechanisms that silence TEs with a focus on small RNA based mechanisms. The group employs a wide array of genetic, molecular, structural and cell biological approaches and mainly uses Drosophila as model organism.

The Institute

IMBA (Institute of Molecular Biotechnology) is a basic research institute of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, the leading national sponsor of non-university academic research (; IMBA is part of the Vienna BioCenter, one of Europe’s leading biomedical research hubs and a vibrant cluster of universities, research institutes and biotech companies in Austria.

Your Profile

  • Degree in molecular biology (or equivalent) and/or relevant practical experience in molecular cloning and molecular laboratory techiques
  • Prior experience with Drosophila genetics, cell culture and/or retroviruses is not necessary, but advantageous
  • Interest in retroviral evolution and biology
  • Ability to quickly learn and perform novel techniques
  • Ability to work independently and a high degree of self-motivation
  • Fluency in English

Our Offer

IMBA is an inclusive and equal opportunity employer. We offer a young, dynamic, international work environment (employees come from 40 different countries), and an opportunnity to make important contributions to basic biomedical research. The Brennecke lab is a highly interactive group with a very diverse array of technical expertise that is shared freely between lab members. Thus, the position offers the opportunity to learn and master different multidisciplinary techniques spanning advanced molecular biology, genetics, microscopy, biochemistry and cell culture. Subsidized child-care facilities are available at the Vienna BioCenter. The annual gross salary starts from € 37.800,- for a full-time position (40 hrs/week), adjustable depending on qualification and experience. The employment will initially be limited to one year and is linked to a three year FWF Grant.


Please apply online (CV, motivation letter and preferably two references) until 15/04/2021. We look forward to your application and meeting you in person.



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