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Available Projects for GET_INvolved Internships and Research Stays

The list below is not exhaustive however shows available advertised project(s) with their eligibility. Interested candidates must mention the Project ID in their application in the comments section. In case you do not find one that interests you may still submit a "Speculative application".

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Detectors: Characterization, Assembly and Testing of Detector Modules


I.    Project Title

Characterization, Assembly and Testing of prototype detector modules for mCBM experiment at FAIR Phase 0

II.    Type of Project

Doctoral research, PhD Thesis, Postdoctoral research

III.    Duration

3 months or more.

IV.    Applicant Eligibility

  • Doctoral student or PhD in Physics or equivalent
  • Experience with nuclear instruments and detectors
  • Additional skills in data analysis and experimental validation
  • Language requirement: English

V.    Programme Coordination

Dr Pradeep Ghosh

VI.    Application and deadlines

The application for this specific project via by the Applicant’s portal.

Deadlines: -open end-

VII.    Project description [Abstract]

The compressed Baryonic Matter Experiment (CBM) will be one of the most important scientific study of Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research Center (FAIR) in Darmstadt in the future.

The goal of the CBM research program is to explore the phase diagram of the matters at high baryon density regions by using high-energy nucleus-nucleus collisions. The CBM experiment is useful for analyzing some of the topics at the neutron star density and at the center of the supernova collisions.

The technical challenge of the CBM experiment is to identify both hadrons and leptons and filter matters that is observed rarely at rates up to 10 MHz. Moreover, data acquisition with lepton identification and high data entry should be provided. The CBM detector system is divided into two-detection system in order to measure both electron and muon. It is required heavy ion collisions between 105 and 107 to create rarely observed processes in the high-energy range. It is difficult to observe complex particles in these reactions and obtaining data is very hard at FAIR energies. These conditions require a detector design that supplies the requirements of the extreme conditions in terms of velocity capability, momentum, resolution and obtaining new data. In the CBM experiment, the central detector is the silicon tracking system (STS).
The aim of the project is to characterize the detectors to be used in the mCBM Experiment at the upcoming beam time at FAIR Phase-0.

Within this project the following milestones are deemed to be achieved with the support of the local team at GSI and presumed to be reported at the end:

  1. To learn and execute  – how to - assembly of CBM double sided silicone micro strip detector
  2. To learn and execute carry out  functional and efficiency test
  3. Participate in laboratory tests of the detector modules
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Biophysics: Clinical Radiobiology of Charged Particles


I. Project Title

Clinical radiobiology of charged particles

II. Type of Project

Doctoral research, PhD Thesis, Postdoctoral research

III. Duration

Up to 2 years

IV. Applicant Eligibility

  • Master or PhD in Biology, Biotechnology or related
  • Experience with molecular biology and cell experiments. Experience with radiobiology will be a plus.
  • Additional skills in data analysis and experimental validation
  • Language requirement: English

V. Programme Coordination

Dr Pradeep Ghosh

VI. Application and deadlines

The application for this specific project via by the Applicant’s portal.

Deadlines: -open end-

VII. Project description [Abstract]

The aim of this project is to investigate, starting upon biopsies of patients undergoing particle therapy treatment, the differential efficacy of carbon and proton ion beams in:

  • Reducing the hypoxic cells population
  • Reducing the Cancer Stem Cells (CSCs) population
  • Activating the Epithelial-Mesenchymal (EMT) transition
  • Activating an anti-tumor immune response.

Biopsies, before and after treatment, will be analyzed with the histology and with the Single Cell RNA Sequencing. The concentration of the different under-investigation-cellular populations will be studied by analyzing the gene expression of each single cell.

Oxygen is required for aerobic energy metabolism processes such as oxidative phosphorylation. Low oxygen conditions activate the hypoxia-signaling pathway in eukaryotic cells, primarily via the hypoxia inducible factor (HIF) transcription factor. Hypoxia-inducible target genes mediate multiple biological functions, such as angiogenesis, hematopoiesis, and the maintenance of vascular tone to provide or replenish tissues with blood and oxygen.
In this study, to identify the hypoxic cells population, we will investigate the upregulation of genes activated at low oxygen concentration and other highly relevant target genes.

Cancer Stem Cells:
Medical doctors have struggled with the vexing problem that although many treatments dramatically reduce the size of the tumors, most cancers eventually relapse.

A small population of cells resistant to current therapies is ultimately responsible for the re-growth of tumors. The CSCs hypothesis posits that only a very rare population of cells within tumors has the capacity for limitless self-renewal. Recently, advances in technology have allowed the prospective identification and purification of CSCs from various different types of cancers for further characterization. To identify the tumor biopsy CSCs population, in this project we would like to study the activation of specific molecular markers and genes regulating CSCs proliferation, self-renewal, pluripotency, genes involved in CSCs asymmetric cell division, migration and metastasis, and relevant signal transduction pathways.

Our Working Hypothesis:
Carbon ion beam is more effective compared to protons in reducing the concentration of the very radio-resistant hypoxic and cancer stem cells and is able to activate a stronger immune response. Compared to protons, the cell-surface amount of E-cadherin after radiation is higher for carbon ion treatment.

1) ½ sample for the Single Cell RNA Seq
2) ½ sample for histology.

1) Single Cell RNA Seq

Next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies have completely changed life sciences and biomedical research. In the transcriptomic field, RNA deep-sequencing (RNA-Seq) has revolutionized genome-wide scale gene-expression studies becoming the gold standard. However, RNA-Seq measures the sample average gene expression so it is not sufficient to analyze heterogeneous systems.

With this technique, we will be able to have a complete view of the cells in the biopsy highlighting the hypoxic and the cancer stem cells and investigating the in-tumor-infiltrated activated or not, immune cells.

2) Histology

The histological analysis will give us the possibility to investigate the immune cells infiltration and activation before and after treatment with carbon or proton beam.

Furthermore, we will also investigate the amount E-cadherin protein before and after treatment with the different treatments. The loss of E-cadherin expression in association with the Epithelial–Mesenchymal Transition (EMT) occurs frequently during tumor metastasis. The deficits in E-cadherin cell surface regulation contribute to cancer progression. Several studies demonstrated that radiation, in particular photon radiation, might promote migration and invasion of tumor cells by intricate implications in the EMT transition. The difference between proton and carbon is still not clear.

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Biophysics: Treatment planning verification


I. Project Title:

Treatment planning verification

II. Type of Project

Doctoral research, PhD Thesis, Postdoctoral research 

III. Duration

6 months or more.

IV. Applicant Eligibility

  • Doctoral student or PhD in Biology, Biotechnology or equivalent
  • Experience with molecular biology and cell experiments. Experience with radiobiology and animal (mice, rat) experiments will be a plus.
  • Additional skills in data analysis and experimental validation
  • Language requirement: English 

V. Programme Coordination

Dr Pradeep Ghosh
International Programme for Students and Researchers
FAIR GmbH and GSI GmbH

VI. Application and deadlines

The application for this specific project via by the Applicant’s portal

Deadlines: -open end-

VII. Project description [Abstract]

This project aims, using complex in vitro and in vivo radiobiology experimental set-up, to verify elaborate particle therapy treatment plans.

Indeed, although particle therapy is a technique used today widely to treat cancer patients worldwide, new studies to verify the consistency of treatment plans itself, to improve the existing plan, and to validate new plans for, primarily, heterogeneous tumors are necessary.

By heterogeneity, we mean those conditions in which, for example, strong changes in tumor cell radio resistance occurs. In most of the tumor, we find significant and widespread areas of hypoxia, a characteristic feature that makes those cancers particularly aggressive, invasive and resistant to chemo and radiotherapy, and/or with large populations of cancer stem cells or disseminating tumor cells-like.

New studies should be done to understand how to overcome these resistant cells playing with different LETs, doses, and perhaps different ions.

How tissue responds to ions and how this differs from its response to X-rays. For protons, for example, RBE is generally recommended as 1.1, however, how this changes with tissue type, as well as along and distal to the Bragg peak is an area that requires further investigation and linking to patient outcomes.

At the moment, carbon and protons are the only two ions that are used in therapy. Preliminary data would seem to show that new ions could be used to treat particular cancers. Indeed, just like the surgeon today, the radiation therapist of the future may want to use several scalpels to treat tumors. Helium and oxygen are the most promising ones. However, further tests are necessary to answer many open questions.

Oxygen, due to its higher LET, when compared with carbon, is an excellent candidate to overcome the hypoxic, radio resistant, tumor regions. However, the dose released in the surrounding healthy tissue is also higher when compared with the dose released by the carbon or proton beams.

In this project, we would like to verify a multi-ion beam treatment combining two ions. Helium plus oxygen beams will be tested to study if we can kill the tumor cells avoiding the collateral effects.

Considering the different tumor type and tumor radio resistance, in the future, radiotherapist could be able to use various treatment planning that delivers different ions or a combination of them to treat specific tumor types.

Furthermore, we need to consider that those different ions could give a different immunogenic cell death, able to induce a strong, or not, Abscopal effect, in which the irradiation of the primary tumor produces the shrinkage also of the not treated and distal metastasis, activating the host immune system. Much more information is required about how ions interact with tumor and healthy tissue, normal tissue toxicities, the relative sensitivities of different organs, and the effects of re-treatments. Our in vivo studies will be undertaken to look at the interplay between RBE and NTCP/TCP models.

To date, most radiobiological studies have been undertaken in vitro, in normoxic conditions, and few experiments have been done in hypoxia/anoxia; however, this leaves a large number of unanswered questions. There is an urgent need for more experiments under hypoxic conditions, especially by in vivo experiments.

To summarize, the project envisages to the development of new and more advanced 3D cell culture phantoms, produced starting from a different type of biological gels and cells, mixed with different materials of different consistencies or with specific molecules that will improve the cell adhesion, and new patentable devices, that will be used to verify complex treatment planning.

We plan to study the molecular pathways and the cellular interactions, following ion treatments, by co-cultivating different cell lines in simulating hypoxic and normoxic in vitro real tissue-like system. To investigate, in vivo, the role of re-treatments, chemo- and immune- therapeutic agents and radio-sensitizers.

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Programme Coordinator

Dr. Pradeep Ghosh
and International(at)
Phone: +49 6159 / 71-3257


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