Department of BiologyFaculty of Medicine
29 Feb 2020
Start date
March/April 2020 or upon agreement but no later than by 30th November 2020

Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic invites excellent scientists to apply for



Principal Investigator: Stjepan Uldrijan, PhD, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Biology


Project: Oncogene-driven ERK signaling in malignant melanoma – regulation, targets, and new therapeutic opportunities


Metastatic melanoma is aggressive cancer with limited therapeutic options. The growth of most melanomas is driven by oncogenic mutations of BRAF and NRAS genes, leading to overactivation of the ERK MAPK pathway. Treatment with small molecule inhibitors of BRAF and MEK kinases can delay the progression of the disease. However, tumor resistance usually develops within several months of treatment. Alternative therapeutic options are, therefore, sorely needed.

Pushing melanoma cells out of the MAPK optimum is a promising new approach for inhibiting cancer cell proliferation (Hong et al., 2018; Stern, 2018). We have recently identified new crosstalk between the cellular energy sensor AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and the oncogene-driven ERK signaling in melanoma, leading to ERK pathway hyperactivation in response to metabolic stress (Verlande et al., 2018). Also, we have found a small molecule drug inhibiting the negative feedback regulation by phosphatases in both BRAF- and NRAS-mutated melanoma cells, again leading to ERK hyperactivation to levels that are not compatible with cancer cell proliferation.

This project aims to unravel molecular mechanisms involved in the maintenance of optimal ERK activity in melanoma and analyze the therapeutic potential of ERK pathway hyperactivation, pushing melanoma cells out of the MAPK optimum. Another aim of the project is to use the drug-induced ERK pathway hyperactivation to identify in proteomic screens new targets of ERK signaling in BRAF- and NRAS-mutated melanoma.



Hong, A., Moriceau, G., Sun, L., Lomeli, S., Piva, M., Damoiseaux, R., et al. (2018). Exploiting drug addiction mechanisms to select against mapki-resistant melanoma. Cancer Discov. 8, 74–93.

Stern, D. F. (2018). Keeping Tumors Out of the MAPK Fitness Zone. Cancer Discov. 8, 20–23.

Verlande, A., Krafčíková, M., Potěšil, D., Trantírek, L., Zdráhal, Z., Elkalaf, M., et al. (2018). Metabolic stress regulates ERK activity by controlling KSR‐RAF heterodimerization. EMBO Rep. 19, 320–336.


The successful candidate should:

  • be a researcher who has received a PhD or its equivalent within the last 7 years
  • be a researcher who has worked at least two whole years in the last three outside the territory of the Czech Republic in the field of research with a working time of at least 0.5 full-time equivalent, or who has been PhD student (or equivalent) abroad
  • have a publishing record – in the last three years at least two publication outputs registered in the Thomson Reuters Web of Science, Scopus or ERIH PLUS databases and at the same time publications such as “articles”, “books”, “book chapters”, “letters” and “reviews”.


Specific requirements:

  • in-depth knowledge of cancer cell biology, particularly in the field of the MAPK, AMPK, and mTOR signalling pathways
  • ability to design experiments and work independently
  • technical skills: previous hands-on experience with mammalian cell cultures, proteomic techniques, analyses of proteomic data, analyses of gene expression, immunoprecipitation, and flow cytometry will be an advantage
  • a team player
  • excellent communication and writing skills


The application should include:

  • a CV including a summary of education and research experience, publication activity, description of the involvement in research projects and grants, etc.
  • a scanned copy of the PhD diploma or an official letter certifying submission of a doctoral thesis for defence and the planned defence date
  • a motivation letter
  • at least two reference letters


MU offers the opportunity to get:

  • an exciting job in a dynamically-expanding university area
  • diverse and challenging work in an excellent research environment
  • tenure track with an initial appointment for 2 years
  • a professional team and pleasant working conditions
  • interaction with leading scientists in an inspiring, internationalised environment
  • a welcoming service for the successful candidate and his/her family

Anticipated start date: The position is available from March/April 2020 or upon agreement but no later than by 30th November 2020.


The submission deadline is 29th February 2020


Informal enquiries about the research project can be sent to

The application needs to be submitted by e-mail to


A review of applications will commence immediately after the deadline. Short-listed candidates will be invited for interview within one month of the deadline.


Further information about:


How to write a CV and prepare for an interview

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