ILRS_01/2017: Doctoral Researcher (m/f) Community resource availability as a driver of convergent...

Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology - Hans Knoell Institute -
September 26 2017
Life Sciences, Biology
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

The Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology - Hans Knöll Institute - in cooperation with the Friedrich Schiller University, the University Hospital Jena and the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology are offering an international graduate training programme. The International Leibniz Research School (ILRS Jena) gives doctoral researchers the possibility to prepare for their PhD exam in an ambitious program providing excellent research conditions. We invite applications for a

Doctoral Researcher (m/f)

Community resource availability as a driver of convergent microbe-microbe interaction types and microbial community structures

In the Plant Microbiosis Lab, our research investigates how and why diverse communities of plant-associated microorganisms form as well as their implications in order to improve plant-associated microbiota management. Microbe-microbe interactions play key roles in microbiome organization, so we are particularly interested in studying their basis and mechanisms to bridge the disconnect between evolutionary (binary plant-microbe interactions) and ecological (plant-associated microbial diversity) understandings of plant microbiota. Plant colonizers face scarce nutrients and resources, conditions under which resource distribution can regulate characteristics of microbe-microbe interactions. In this project, we will investigate how resource availability constrains development of microbe-microbe interactions and in turn microbial community structures. We will employ a convenient model system: Distantly related plant taxa have evolved C4 photosynthetic pathways independently, resulting in similar changes to resource distribution.

To investigate interactions in detail, we will utilize a “revolving lab-door” approach, working with both natural and synthetic microbial communities. Microbiota will first be characterized in naturally colonized, distantly related plant genera which have both C3 and either C4 or C3/C4 intermediate species. Inferred “interaction” networks will identify highly interactive keystone species and their interaction partners. High-throughput isolation of these microbiota will allow a more concrete investigation of formation of observed interactions as a function of resource distribution using “synthetic” microbial communties. Specifically, we will look at how host-controlled resource distribution constrains colonization and how colonization itself alters resources leading to development of structured microbe-microbe interaction networks.

We expect:

  • a Master's degree (or equivalent allowing you to pursue a PhD degree) in Natural or Life Sciences or Biotechnology-related field. Research at ILRS is centred around “Microbial and Biomolecular Interactions”. Candidates about to earn their degree are welcome to apply.

  • proven experience in microbial ecology and/or microbiology as well as experimental design and statistics/data analysis.

  • knowledge of Linux/Unix and experience with and/or willingness to learn a programming language (R, perl, python).

  • high motivation to join one of the research areas of ILRS

  • creativity and interest in shaping your own cross-disciplinary thesis project

  • an integrative and cooperative personality with enthusiasm for actively participating in our lively community

  • very good communication skills in English, the working language at the ILRS.

We offer:

  • a top-level research environment

  • efficient supervision by a team of advisors

  • a comprehensive mentoring programme

  • courses in state-of-the-art technologies and soft skills

  • strong communication and interaction between the involved institutions

  • Jena - City of Science: innovative business activities, successful scientific centres and a vibrant cultural scene around the famous Friedrich Schiller University

The three-year Doctoral Researcher position is available starting from January 2018. The position will be financially supported according to TV-L (salary agreement for public service employees). HKI is an equal opportunity employer.

Further information:

Dr. Matthew Agler, PI:

Dr. Christine Vogler, ILRS Coordinator:

The application process is handled exclusively online. Please acquaint yourself with the scientific projects offered on our website. Please note that you can choose up to 3 projects of interest in your application. It is only necessary to fill in the application form for your first preference of projects; the other two projects can be selected in the application form.

Deadline for application: Oct 22, 2017.

Successful applicants will be invited to attend a recruitment meeting in Jena (envisaged date: Dec 14-15, 2017).

This job comes from a partnership with Science Magazine and Euraxess

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