Eawag, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, is an internationally networked aquatic research institute within the ETH Domain (Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology). Eawag conducts research, education and expert consulting to achieve the dual goals of meeting direct human needs for water and maintaining the function and integrity of aquatic ecosystems.
The Department of Microbiology (Umik) at Eawag opens a
PhD Student Position in Microbial Community Assembly
The goal of the PhD project is to understand how microbial spatial organization affects the release of the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide. The project seeks to understand i) why microorganisms that produce nitrous oxide as an end product (and thus contribute to global warming) sometimes have a growth advantage over microorganisms that both produce and consume nitrous oxide, and ii) how the spatial arrangement of these microorganisms affects the release of nitrous oxide to the atmosphere. To address these questions, this project will use a combination of experiments with synthetic microbial communities and mathematical modelling. The overarching goal is to help develop strategies to minimize the proliferation of nitrous oxide producing microorganisms in engineered and natural environments, and thus reduce the release of nitrous oxide to the atmosphere.
The selected PhD candidate will collaborate with a PhD student from the EcoBioLAB at Yonsei University, Republic of Korea. Each PhD student is fully independent, but they will share common conceptual approaches and analytical methodologies. The two PhD students are therefore expected to initiate and maintain regular communication with each other. The duration of the PhD position is 4 years. The PhD degree will be awarded by the Institute of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Bern. The PhD student will be based in the Microbial Community Assembly Group at Eawag and will be fully supervised by Dr David R. Johnson. However, the PhD student is expected to occasionally travel to Yonsei University to obtain training with Raman spectroscopy and to strengthen interactions with the Yonsei University PhD student.
We are looking for a highly motivated person with interests in experimental microbiology and a desire to integrate principles from synthetic biology into ecological research to address a timely question related to the release of greenhouse gases. The project is cross disciplinary and will consist of approximately 70% experimental work and 30% mathematical modelling.
The successful candidate will hold an MSc degree in a field of biology (microbiology, ecology, etc.), engineering, or environmental sciences, have demonstrated skills in scientific communication, and have a willingness to engage with international collaborators. Some familiarity with experimental microbiology and computer programming are valuable. Oral and written fluency in English is required.
Eawag is a modern employer and offers an excellent working environment where staff can contribute their strengths, experience and ways of thinking. We promote gender equality and are committed to staff diversity and inclusion. The compatibility of career and family is of central importance to us. For more information about Eawag and our work conditions please consult www. eawag.ch and www. eawag.ch/en/aboutus/working/employment.
Deadline for applications is 1 March 2024. The review process of candidates will start on 14 March 2024. The application should include: a cover letter with a concise statement about your motivation to work on this project (1 page maximum), a curriculum vitae, copies of academic qualifications and names and contact information of 2-3 academic references (please do not include letters with the application). The start date is flexible, but ideally would begin no later than
1 September 2024.
For further information, please contact Dr David R. Johnson,
Email [email protected].
We look forward to receive your application. Please send it through this webpage. A click on the button below will take you directly to the application form.
Eawag: Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology