Research Associate/PhD candidate (m/f/d) Evolutionary Ecology of Pathogens

Leibniz Institute DSMZ–German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures, Braunschweig

The Leibniz Institute DSMZ-German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures GmbH, Braunschweig, Germany, offers the position of a

Research Associate/PhD candidate (m/f/d)

Evolutionary Ecology of Pathogens

The position is part-time (65%) and initially limited to 3 years. The salary level will be TV-L 13. The starting date envisioned is September 16, 2024.

The project is part of the newly funded Leibniz ScienceCampus Ecopath („Evolutionary Ecology of Zoonotic Pathogens during Agricultural Transformations“) which is led by the Leibniz Institute DSMZ and conducted together with the Technical University Braunschweig, the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, the German Primate Center - Leibniz-Institute for Primate Research in Göttingen, as well the Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institut and the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research in Braunschweig. Most emerging infectious diseases that keep arising and threatening human health are zoonoses and often related to land-use change and novel contacts with wildlife. The Leibniz ScienceCampus Ecopath will apply principles of evolutionary ecology to gain a causal understanding of the mechanisms that allow zoonotic pathogens to persist, multiply, and cycle in the environment. This will allow to elucidate the persistence and cellular responses of pathogens in the environment, and the role of the animal host as reservoir and source of environmental cycling.

The successful PhD candidate will study the adaptations of Clostridioides difficile and enterococci to their environments, employing qPCR quantification of marker genes, metagenomics, and metatranscriptomics to determine the activity status of microbial cells and support niche modeling. Targeted isolation of new pathogen lineages as well as comparative genomics will then enable to determine signatures of selection and the role of mobile elements in horizontal gene acquisition and loss. This research is carried out in cooperation with the partner institutes. Thereby, the project will contribute towards the identification of environmental and agricultural pathogen reservoirs, improve the monitoring of pathogens and their transmission routes, and aid in the development of mitigation strategies for zoonoses.

What you offer:

  • Master's level university degree in the life sciences, or related
  • Strong interest in environmental microbiology and interdisciplinary work
  • Experience with microbiological and molecular biological methods will be a plus
  • A good command of English
  • Interest in interdisciplinary work
  • Class B driving license

What we offer:  

  • Research opportunities at the forefront of life sciences
  • Plenty of room for creativity & challenging topics
  • Access to state-of-the-art Omics methods, including long read DNA sequencing technologies and metabolomics
  • Access to cell sorting and high throughput cultivation technology
  • Access to in-house high-performance computing clusters (2,464 CPUs, 18 TB RAM)
  • An interdisciplinary working environment with frequent exchange of experiences
  • A motivated research team and a pleasant working atmosphere in a scientific environment
  • Education and training, mentoring programs
  • A company certified according to audit berufundfamilie, therefore flexible possibilities to combine work and family life

Is this you? Then we look forward to receiving your application.

The institutes of the Leibniz Association strive to increase the proportion of female scientists and encourage female candidates specifically to apply. Disabled applicants with identical technical and personal qualification will be preferentially selected. The DSMZ is an equal opportunity employer.

For further information and more detailed project descriptions please contact Prof. Dr. Jörg Overmann (joerg.overmann(at)dsmz.de). Please send your complete application documents including a CV, motivation letter, copies of certificates, and contact details of two academic referees with application number 16/24 in a single PDF file to bewerbung(at)dsmz.de.

The deadline for this application is August 2nd, 2024, but we may continue to review applications until the position is filled.