Job advertisement

Vacancy ID: 171/2023
Closing date: 2023-06-30


Friedrich Schiller University is a traditional university with a strong research profile rooted in the heart of Germany. As a university covering all disciplines, it offers a wide range of subjects. Its research is focused on the areas Light—Life—Liberty. It is closely networked with non-research institutions, research companies and renowned cultural institutions. With around 18,000 students and more than 8,600 employees, the university plays a major role in shaping Jena’s character as a cosmopolitan and future-oriented city.

The Cluster of Excellence “Balance of the Microverse” in Jena combines expertise in life, material, optical, and computational sciences to elevate microbiome studies from descriptive to hypothesis-driven and functional analyses. Our core mission is to elucidate fundamental principles of the interactions and functions in microbial communities in diverse habitats ranging from oceans and groundwater to plant and human hosts. We aim to identify the shared characteristics of disturbed or polluted ecosystems as well as infectious diseases on the microbiome level, and develop strategies for their remediation by means of targeted interventions. Our full spectrum of expertise in the physical and life sciences will be leveraged to address these important issues in natural habitats as well as synthetic arenas in a collaborative manner.

The Viral Ecology and Omics Group ( aims to study the role of viruses in the Microverse. To do this, we combine high-throughput microbiological and eco/evolutionary experiments with molecular biology, microscopy, (meta ) genomics, bioinformatics, artificial intelligence, and computational modelling. Our bioinformatics lab manager facilitates access to our high-performance compute cluster. Our wet lab team facilitates experiments in our microbiological lab which features an automated incubation system. The embedding in the Microverse Cluster ensures collaborations with scientists whose expertise spans diverse biomes.

The Viral Ecology and Omics Group of Alexander von Humboldt Professor Dr. Bas E. Dutilh at the Cluster of Excellence “Balance of the Microverse” in Jena seeks a:

PhD student Bacteriophage Diversity

Bacteriophages are diverse and abundant throughout the Microverse. In this PhD project, you will combine wet and dry lab experiments to study bacteriophage diversity and host range across biomes. We will discuss the project during the application rounds, and you will have the opportunity to help shape it to fit your interests and expertise. Ideally, the position would commence on September 1, 2023 or as soon as possible thereafter. If you are interested but are only available at a later date, please indicate this in your cover letter.

Your responsibilities:

    • In conjunction with your advisor, design and perform experiments to analyse the occurrence and diversity of bacteriophages in different biomes.
    • Analyse your results in the context of public (meta-) ‘omics data.
    • Communicate and discuss your results with wet- and dry-lab group members.
    • Report your findings in publications and presentations at international scientific platforms.
    • Support Master students and undergraduate project students.
    • Collaborate productively with experimental and computational researchers.

Your profile:

    • An MSc or equivalent degree in microbiology, microbial ecology, evolutionary biology, or a related discipline.
    • Hands-on experience with microcosms, experimental evolution, bacteriophage cultivation, DNA sequencing, and/or data mining is required.
    • Ability to contribute to a friendly and collaborative working environment in a cross-disciplinary scientific research group.
    • Excellent communication in English is required, both written and spoken. Fluency in German and other languages is advantageous.

We offer:

    • A 75% funded position (30 hours per week) for a period of four years.
    • Embedding in a highly collaborative, cross-disciplinary research group that is world-leading in viral and microbial ecology.
    • Excellent equipment and infrastructure, both experimental and computational.
    • Affiliation to the Jena School for Microbial Communication, a graduate school offering a comprehensive education programme to train your hard skills and soft skills.
    • Jena – City of Science: a young and lively town with a vibrant local cultural agenda. Jena is among the most liveable cities in Germany. Situated on the Saale River and surrounded by the famous Thuringian Forest, this city is ideal for lovers of nature and hiking.
    • Remuneration based on the provisions of the Collective Agreement for the Public Sector of the Federal States (TV-L) up to salary scale E 13 (depending on the candidate’s personal qualifications) including a special annual payment in accordance with the collective agreement.

Candidates with severe disabilities will be given preference in the case of equal qualifications and suitability.

Are you eager to work with us? Then submit your detailed written application, preferably by email (one PDF file), stating the vacancy ID 171/2023 by June 30, 2023 to:

Friedrich Schiller Universität Jena
Viral Ecology and Omics
Rosalind-Franklin Straße 1
07745 Jena, Germany
or by email to

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