Back to list view

Job Type: Wissenschaftliche Jobausschreibungen

Master Position

Molecular Biology
Zentrum für Pathobiochemie und Genetik
Closing Date


Master thesis on iron metabolism in the human placenta


Iron is an essential trace element that is required by all cells, but toxic when present in excess. Iron deficiency is the most common form of micronutritional deficiency. Infants as well as pregnant women are most likely to suffer from it. During pregnancy, the placenta is the major interface of nutritional exchange between mother and developing fetus. Although mammalian iron metabolism is in general very well characterized, surprisingly little is known about iron metabolism and transfer in the human placenta.

In this project, the functional role of several metal transporters (DMT1, ZIP8, TFR1, FPN1) in the human placenta will be investigated. The employed techniques will include basic cell culture methods, siRNA-mediated gene-knockdown, quantitative PCR, Immunoblotting, Graphite-furnace atomic absorption spectroscopy.

Starting date: As soon as possible

Duration: 6-12 months

Payment: Not provided

We are looking for a highly motivated, self-driven master student with a strong interest in cell biology and metal metabolism. If you are interested, please send your applications including a CV and letter of motivation as soon as possible to:


Further reading:

Balthasar, C., Stangl, H., Widhalm, R., Granitzer, S., Hengstschläger, M., Gundacker, C., 2017. Methylmercury Uptake into BeWo Cells Depends on LAT2-4F2hc , a System L Amino Acid Transporter. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 18. doi:10.3390/ijms18081730

Gundacker, C., Neesen, J., Straka, E., Ellinger, I., Dolznig, H., Hengstschläger, M., 2016. Genetics of the human placenta: implications for toxicokinetics. Arch. Toxicol. 90, 2563–2581. doi:10.1007/s00204-016-1816-6

Gunshin, H., Fujiwara, Y., Custodio, A.O., Direnzo, C., Robine, S., Andrews, N.C., 2005. Slc11a2 is required for intestinal iron absorption and erythropoiesis but dispensable in placenta and liver. J. Clin. Invest. 115, 1258–1266. doi:10.1172/JCI200524356.1258

Silva, B., Faustino, P., 2015. An overview of molecular basis of iron metabolism regulation and the associated pathologies. Biochim. Biophys. Acta - Mol. Basis Dis. 1852, 1347–1359. doi:10.1016/j.bbadis.2015.03.011

Straka, E., Ellinger, I., Balthasar, C., Scheinast, M., Schatz, J., Szattler, T., Bleichert, S., Saleh, L., Knöfler, M., Zeisler, H., Hengstschläger, M., Rosner, M., Salzer, H., Gundacker, C., 2016. Mercury toxicokinetics of the healthy human term placenta involve amino acid transporters and ABC transporters. Toxicology 340, 34–42. doi:10.1016/j.tox.2015.12.005

Wang, C., Jenkitkasemwong, S., Duarte, S., Sparkman, B.K., Shawki, A., Mackenzie, B., Knutson, M.D., 2012. ZIP8 Is an Iron and Zinc Transporter Whose Cell-surface Expression Is Up-regulated by Cellular Iron Loading. J. Biol. Chem. 287, 34032–34043. doi:10.1074/jbc.M112.367284


Main contact
Name: Claudia Gundacker

Back to list view