Postdoctoral Researcher in Microbial Systems Ecology: Luxembourg

The University of Luxembourg has the following vacancy at the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB) in close collaboration with the University of Leuven (Belgium) and the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research (Austria) – Postdoctoral researcher in Microbial Systems Ecology (m/f) 

Area: Elucidating the Factors Governing Microbial Communities

Knowledge of the factors which govern microbial community structure and function is essential to predict community dynamics and to ultimately control microbial ecosystems. In biological wastewater treatment plants, predictive understanding of the dynamics of certain populations which confer specific functions to the community is required to design sewage plants of the future. Biological wastewater treatment plants are also ideal model systems for developing new approaches, which may subsequently be applied in the context of other microbial communities.

In the recently funded GoMiCo project, we aim to integrate, analyse, and model time-resolved meta-omics data along with corresponding environmental and operational data to unravel the main biotic and abiotic factors governing microbial population dynamics. We will leverage a unique collection of samples from a biological wastewater treatment plant collected on a weekly basis over the period of five years. In addition, we have compiled a detailed record of corresponding environmental and operational data. Samples will be processed using a comprehensive biomolecular isolation protocol, which allows the isolation of DNA, RNA, proteins and metabolites. Following the systematic generation of metagenomic, metatranscriptomic and (meta-)metabolomic data, we will process, integrate, and analyse the resulting datasets using methodologies recently developed in-house. The datasets will first be analysed using appropriate time-series analysis methods to identify biotic and abiotic factors which govern community structure and function. Following the determination of the main factors, we aim to construct a model that integrates the omic measurements with the available metadata to predict microbial population dynamics.

The overall aim of the project is to ascertain which factors affect community composition and will lead to the development of strategies for the control of specific populations. Finally, the developed approaches will be generalizable to other microbial communities including those constituting the human microbiome. The Luxembourg National Research Fund-supported position will be hosted by the Eco-Systems Biology Group at LCSB (head: Prof. Paul Wilmes) in cooperation with Prof. Karoline Faust (KU Leuven), Dr Stefanie Widder (Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research) and Prof. Dr Joachim Hansen (University of Luxembourg).



We are seeking a highly motivated and creative scientist with an outstanding record in scientific research who can independently design and execute experiments. More specifically, we look for an individual with strong interests in microbial population ecology. The postdoctoral candidate to be hired will have a strong background in microbial ecology, bioinformatics, or computer science. Importantly, the computational analysis of high-throughput molecular data in an integrated manner will be central to this position.

Your role

  • integration and analysis of multi-omic (metagenomic, metatranscriptomic and (meta-)metabolomics) data
  • application of different time-series analysis methods to the data
  • development of a model for predicting population dynamics based on biotic and abiotic factors

Your profile

  • a PhD in microbial ecology, bioinformatics, mathematics, physics, or computer science
  • strong publications record
  • previous experience in microbiology and in analysing and/or modeling time-series community data are strongly encouraged
  • previous wet-lab experience is considered an asset
  • excellent working knowledge of English

For further information, please contact:
Prof. Dr Paul Wilmes

Telephone: +352 46 66 44 6188

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