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TRACT has been accessed more than
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Oroboros Instruments in the Marie-Sklodlowska Curie Project TRACT

  • Project background
TRACT is an international, inter-sectoral, multi-disciplinary project providing Marie Skłodowska-Curie PhD Fellowships to early stage researchers (ESRs) with the potential to become the leaders of tomorrow in cancer research.
TRACT is an international, inter-sectoral, multi-disciplinary project providing Marie Skłodowska-Curie PhD Fellowships to early stage researchers (ESRs) with the potential to become the leaders of tomorrow in cancer research. This project is funded by the European Union Horizon 2020 research & innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 721906. TRACT enables ESRs to discover novel insights into the molecular and cellular basis of oral and oesophageal cancer and generate new diagnostic tools and therapeutics that will improve patient response and survival. ESRs trained through the TRACT network will be uniquely positioned for careers in academia, industry or as entrepreneurs.
More information: TRACT
  • Criteria
Applicants must hold the necessary qualifications entitling them to enroll in a PhD study in Austria: a MSc degree or equivalent, in natural sciences or related biomedical disciplines. You must be in the first four years of your career post primary degree, not yet holding a PhD degree. Relevant research experience is desirable. You are expected to possess a high standard of written and spoken English, with the following skills: team-player, self-organized, goal-oriented working style. Experience in methods of biochemistry, cell biology, bioenergetics and specifically in High-Resolution FluoRespirometry is of benefit.
  • Mobility
TRACT is a mobility-based EU project and ESRs are required to move country to commence their PhD training project. Applicants for this position must not have been resident in Austria for more than 12 months in the past 3 years.
  • Gross salary
35,476 EUR/year incl. mobility allowance, + 6,000 EUR/year family allowance, if applicable.
  • How to apply
Please include a covering letter which specifies your reasons for applying and your suitability as a candidate, a copy of your CV which describes your relevant research training and experience and copies of your degree transcripts in English. Two independent letters of recommendation have to be provided. Send your application documents to

Cancer metabolism

  • Intracellular pH plays a primary role in metabolic switching under anoxia (Hand and Gnaiger, 1988). In cancer metabolism, the importance of aerobic glycolysis and lactate accumulation is well established, and so is the pathophysiological relevance of hypoxia. Too little is known, however, about the effects of extracellular and intracellular pH on mitochondrial respiratory control. We have preliminary data that suggest opposite effects of pH on mitochondrial respiration in cancer versus benign cells, and the TRACT project should follow-up on this exciting topic.
  • Hand SC, Gnaiger E (1988) Anaerobic dormancy quantified in Artemia embryos: A calorimetric test of the control mechanism. Science 239:1425-7. - »Bioblast link«

Unique research opportunities at Oroboros

  • We have two labs (Oroboros with 17 O2k instruments, and our lab at the Medical University with 8 O2k instruments), all equipped with the newest High-Resolution FluoRespirometry technology.
  • Two labs – one team: fully interacting across the two labs, with visiting scientists joining us from all-over the world, gaining from and contributing to our expertise in Mitochondria and Cell Research. In our team not only the technological skills are taught and developed in mitochondrial physiology, we emphasize a top-level education in the fundamental theoretical basis of bioenergetics (Gnaiger 2019; Abstract 2018).
  • Gnaiger E (2019) Mitochondrial pathways and respiratory control. An introduction to OXPHOS analysis. 5th ed. Oroboros MiPNet Publications, Innsbruck. - »Bioblast link«
  • Gnaiger E (2018) The protonmotive force under pressure: an isomorphic analysis. EBEC 2018.
  • You will have access to our most recently developed and tested instrumental equipment.
  • A Q-sensor is integrated into a new type of O2k. It has not yet been applied in cancer research. Redox regulation at the Q-junction fits perfectly the topic of the effects of pH and hypoxia on respiration and ROS production (Komlodi et al 2018).
  • Komlodi T, Hunger M, Moore AL, Gnaiger E (2018) Electron supply to the Q-junction: assessment of mitochondrial respiration, H2O2 flux and the redox state of the Q-pool. EBEC 2018.
  • Our software development for analysis of oxygen kinetics of mitochondrial respiration supports analysis of measurements at the extremes of low oxygen towards anoxia, which are technologically unique and the method has now evolved into an easily applicable routine procedure (Meszaros et al 2018)). Using our more difficult software approach developed more than 20 years ago, we published a few papers on oxygen kinetics in cancer cells (see below). This can now be followed up with a fast way to obtain data relevant to evaluate cancer metabolism.
  • Meszaros AT, Haider M, Gnaiger E (2018) Tissue- and substrate-specific patterns in the oxygen kinetics of mitochondrial respiration. EBEC 2018.
  • Kristiansen G, Hu J, Wichmann D, Stiehl DP, Rose M, Gerhardt J, Bohnert A, ten Haaf A, Moch H, Raleigh J, Varia MA, Subarsky P, Scandurra FM, Gnaiger E, Gleixner E, Bicker A, Gassmann M, Hankeln T, Dahl E, Gorr TA (2011) Endogenous myoglobin in breast cancer is hypoxia-inducible by alternate transcription and functions to impair mitochondrial activity: a role in tumor suppression? J Biol Chem 286:43417-28. - »Bioblast link«
  • Smolková K, Bellance N, Scandurra F, Génot E, Gnaiger E, Plecitá-Hlavatá L, Ježek P, Rossignol R (2010) Mitochondrial bioenergetic adaptations of breast cancer cells to aglycemia and hypoxia. J Bioenerg Biomembr 42:55-67. - »Bioblast link«
  • We proceed with prototype development for integrating measurements of NADH autofluorescence, cytochrome redox spectrophotometry, and ratiometric spectrofluorometry into our O2k-Innovation. Four NextGen-O2k prototypes are available in our lab but nowhere else in the world. Adding some measurements of NADH redox state to the above parameters respiration, ROS production, Q-redox state and mt-membrane potential yields a powerful analysis of mitochondrial respiratory states and rates, with good chances of high-level publication.
  • Collaboration with the group of Markus Keller is planned to be continued, fusing his advanced technique on cardiolipin analysis with our O2k technology.
  • Oemer G, Lackner L, Muigg K, Krumschnabel G, Watschinger K, Sailer S, Lindner H, Gnaiger E, Wortmann SB, Werner ER, Zschocke J, Keller MA (2018) The molecular structural diversity of mitochondrial cardiolipins. Proc Nat Acad Sci U S A 115:4158-63. - »Bioblast link«
  • We are upgrading our team from August to September with four additional postdocs, who will contribute to the vibrating research atmosphere in our lab.
  • TRACT supports participation in international conferences and outreach activities. We want to draw your attention to the next MitoEAGLE and MiPschool, where students are fully supported by MitoEAGLE:

Erich Gnaiger and Verena Laner, Innsbruck, 2018-06-21