PhD project on host-pathogen interactions: Switzerland

“Adaptation of Candida albicans to variations in the host and in the microbiota”

PhD position funded through the EU Innovative Training Network ‘FunHoMic’ to study the adaptation of commensal fungi to changing host environments in the LeibundGut-lab at the University of Zürich.


C. albicans is a commensal fungus colonizing mucosal surfaces in healthy individuals, but it can also cause disease if host defenses are breached. Besides defects in the immune system, the variability in the fungal species also influences the initiation and severity of disease. Little is known about how C. albicans adapts to changes in the host immune status and microbiota. This project will explore how specific immune pathways or modulation of the microbiota affect the transcriptomic and genetic diversity of C. albicans within the host. This shall lead to the identification of novel fungal determinants of pathogenicity that regulate the balance between commensalism and disease. The project will employ a murine model of C. albicans mucosal colonization in combination with transcriptomic, genomic and phenotyping approaches.


A 3- to 4-year PhD project with a flexible starting date (preferably no later than spring 2019). Our team currently comprises 3 postdocs, 3 PhD students, 1 Technician and 1 MSc student. Our lab is located at the Irchel Campus (Vetsuisse Faculty) of University of Zürich. We are associated with the Institute of Experimental Immunology of University of Zürich. PhD students in the LeibundGut-lab are part of the Microbiology and Immunology (MIM) PhD program of the Life Science Graduate School Zürich and registered at the Science Faculty of the University of Zürich.


We are looking for an excellent and highly motivated new colleague with a strong background in microbiology and/or immunology. Experience with mouse experimentation, transcriptomics and genomics are an asset. Are you dedicated, hardworking and team player? Are you committed to actively contribute to an inspiring scientific environment and to collaborate within an international network of experts in fungal pathogenesis? Then you may apply for this position by submitting your complete application including your CV, a letter of motivation and the name of two references.

Specific Requirements

According the funding regulations, candidates must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Switzerland for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date. Compulsory national service, short stays such as holidays, and time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention are not taken into account. Candidates must be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research careers (i.e. after obtaining their MSc degree) and not yet have been awarded a doctoral degree before.

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