Internship Project

Inositol Phosphate and Phophoinositide Signaling in Toxoplasma gondii

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin,
Department of Molecular Parasitology, Institute of Biology, Faculty of Life Sciences
Subject Area
Molecular Parasitology
06 May – 26 July
20 May – 09 August
03 June – 23 August
01 July  – 20 September 

Internship Modality:
On-site internship in Berlin

The application is closed, and all positions have been filled.
Applications for 2025 will open in October 2024.
Project Supervisor(s)
Dr. Martin Blume and Dr. Nishith Gupta

Academic Level
Advanced undergraduate students (from second year) 
Master's students 
Ph.D. students 
Further Information
Project Type
Academic Research
Project Content
Toxoplasma is a prevalent intracellular parasite of the protozoan phylum apicomplexa. There is only one single known species of this parasite, namely T. gondii, that is capable of infecting and reproducing in nearly all nucleated cells of a wide range of organisms. 
It has also become an excellent pathogen model for understanding the molecular concepts of intracellular parasitism due to the relative ease of in vitro culture, amicability to advanced genome engineering, and well-established phenotyping assays. Infection, pathogenesis, and persistence of T. gondii are governed by an array of intersecting signaling cascades, including calcium, cyclic nucleotides, lipids, inositol phosphates, and phosphoinositides.
Our group aims to understand the importance of these pathways through chemical and genetic modulation of native signaling proteins in T. gondii. A wide range of methods is deployed to generate the parasite mutants, which are then phenotyped to reveal the basis of molecular acute infection (i.e., lytic cycle in mammalian host cells). 
We have also combined conventional methods of genome manipulation and cell biology with light-regulated proteins (optogenetics) to decipher signaling pathways in a reversible and spatiotemporal manner.
Tasks for Interns
Parasite and Host Cell Culture, Molecular Cloning, Genome Engineering (CRISPR/Cas9-assisted), Immuno-fluorescence Assays, Parasite Phenotyping by Biochemical Assays.
Academic Level
Advanced undergraduate students (from second year) 
Master's students 
Ph.D. students 
Hands-on experience in cell culture, genetic engineering and cell biology methods
Expected Preparation
Comprehensive reading of signaling pathways (state-of-the-art knowledge) in Toxoplasma gondii and Plasmodium (apicomplexan parasites).
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For more information on the Humboldt Internship Program or the project, please contact the program coordinator.