PhD position in the Innovative Training Network UBIMOTIF (ESR12): Identification of physiological substrates and specificity determinants of the human GID

100%, temporary

Within the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie SkÅ‚odowska-Curie grant agreement No 860517, ETH Zurich and the Institute of Biochemistry (Peter Laboratory) is offering a 36-months PhD position for an Early Stage Researcher (ESR) in the area of short linear interaction motifs as specificity determinants in the ubiquitin system.

The UBIMOTIF consortium includes 13 research groups and 6 partners from 10 European countries and is a joint training and research program with focus on identification, characterization and exploitation of short linear motifs in the ubiquitin system.

Visit for more information.

The Laboratory of Professor Matthias Peter is part of the Institute of Biochemistry of ETH Zurich. Our work focuses on mechanisms regulating cell growth and division, and in this context we are interested in the function and regulation of E3-ligases. Using microscopy-based RNAi screens, we have previously identified substrate-receptors of cullin-based E3-ubiquitin ligases required for cell proliferation. However, the identification of physiological substrates remains a bottleneck.

Project background

In yeast, the glucose-induced degradation-deficient (GID) E3 ligase selectively degrades superfluous gluconeogenic enzymes and functions in a proteolytic pathway that targets proteins with N-terminal proline residues. We recently identified that the GID/CTLH complex functions as an E3-ubiquitin ligase that prevents cell cycle exit of human cells, at least in part by degrading the transcriptional repressor Hbp1. Surprisingly, Hbp1 does not contain an N-terminal proline residue, and it thus remains unclear how it is recruited to the GID/CTLH complex. We are interested in applying modern mass-spectrometry-based methods to comprehensively identify substrates of the mammalian GID/CTLH complex and study their physiological function and mechanisms of recognition.

Job description

The PhD student (ESR12) will be involved in the characterization of cellular defects and in particular the usage of mass-spectrometry-based methods to identify physiological substrates and then elucidate the underlying specificity. Work will also be carried out at other laboratories within Europe (2-4 months). Networking is a central focus.

We offer the opportunity to conduct cutting-edge research and access to a network of leading researchers in the field together with participation in research-specific, complementary and soft skills training that involve both the academic and industry sectors. The appointment is for a period of 36 months with competitive salary of at least host university standard together with a mobility allowance and a family allowance (where applicable) as part of the employment package. The successful candidate will be matriculated and will have a working contract at ETH Zurich. The secondment (i.e. internship) will take place in Germany.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 860517.

Your profile

Candidates will be required to meet the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Early Stage Researcher eligibility criteria:

Mobility Rule: researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Switzerland for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date. Compulsory national service, short stays such as holidays, and time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status are not taken into account. The earliest possible recruitment date is 1 March 2020.

Early Stage Researcher (ESR) criteria: ESRs must, at the date of recruitment by the host organisation, be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research careers and have not been awarded a doctoral degree. Full-Time Equivalent Research Experience is measured from the date when the researcher obtained the degree entitling him/her to embark on a doctorate (either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the country in which the researcher is recruited, even if a doctorate was never started or envisaged).

Additional requirements: Applicants can be of any nationality and must have an ability to understand and express themselves in both written and spoken English to a level that is sufficiently high for them to derive the full benefit from the network training. Applicants must be eligible to enroll in a PhD programme at the host institution. Being a PhD student in an ITN includes a considerable amount of travelling including participation in meetings and workshops and stays of periods of a few months outside the host laboratory. Therefore, a requirement is the willingness to travel and stay abroad.

You will only be considered for the position if you fulfill (and can prove so) the eligibility criteria.

ETH Zurich

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.
Working, teaching and research at ETH Zurich Link icon


We look forward to receiving your online application by January 3, 2020, with the following documents: 

  • CV
  • Cover letter that describes your motivation to apply (max. 1 page)
  • Relevant diplomas
  • References

Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered.

Further information about the Peter Laboratory can be found on our website For further information, please contact Prof. Matthias Peter, Tel +41 44 633 6422 or e-mail to (no applications).

Your workplace