Research Scientist (Ph.D position) in Microbial Ecology: Germany

The Institute of Biodiversity at the Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institute, Federal Research Institute for Rural Areas, Forestry and Fisheries, is offering – pending on the final confirmation for financial support by the DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgmeinschaft) – a 36-months appointment, for a Scientist with expertise in Microbiology and Molecular Ecology to conduct research in the area of rhizosphere and soil microbiology.

It is a part-time position with 65% of a full position with the possibility to work an a Ph.D thesis. The position is within the DFG funded priority program “Rhizosphere Spatiotemporal Organization – a Key to Rhizosphere Functions” (SPP 2089). The title of the Thünen project is “Self-organized microbial networks in soil aggregates and their dynamics in the root soil continuum”. It involves experimental work in the laboratory, greenhouse and participation in a joint field study. Microbial communities will be analyzed by means of metagenomes and transcriptomes.

Job description:
Optimization of a DNA and RNA extraction protocol to analyze soil samples collected from different spatial regions of the root soil continuum

  • nucleic acid purification and PCR amplification of rRNA genes and other genes for DNA sequencing and quantification by real-time PCR
  • design and set-up of experimental studies, including soil microcosm and soil column experiments with maize, use of 14C-tracers and/or 13C isotopes and implementation of a spatially targeted sampling strategy, consideration of statistical requirements
  • bioinformatic analyses of DNA sequences for phylogenetics, statistical data evaluation and visualization of results
  • presentations of project-related results at internal and external meetings
  • generation of reports for internal purposes and manuscripts for publication in international peer-reviewed journals

Your Profile:

  • university degree (M.Sc., Diploma) in microbiology, biotechnology, bioinformatics or related disciplines
  • interest in environmental microbiology and systems ecology
  • knowledge in molecular ecology, next-generation DNA sequencing technologies and bioinformatic analyses is appreciated
  • knowledge in statistical data analyses, in particular with R, is appreciated
  • ability to work independently and strong capacity for interdisciplinary teamwork is required
  • strong communication skills
  • candidates should be fluent in English (written and spoken)
  • candidates should be willing to travel within Germany and spend time (days) for sampling and sample preparation and cooperation with partners
  • German language skills are advantageous but not required

Please contact Prof. Dr Christoph Tebbe (+49 531 596 2553; Email: for inquiries about the position.

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