We are not actively recruiting new members at the moment, but Master’s thesis students and visiting scholars are always welcome! Please contact me directly by email in these cases.


[closed in May 2019] PhD position on Microbial Interactions 


I am looking to recruit a PhD student to study microbial interactions, in particular, bacteria dispersal through fungal hyphae networks, and bacteria-fungi interactions under different nutritional conditions, in University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland. The student will be co-supervised by Prof. Pilar Junier and/or Prof. Redouan Bshary.

In soils bacterial dispersal is highly limited because the discontinuity of water paths. Recently, it has been found that bacteria can disperse in the liquid layer on the surface of fungal hyphae. Fungal hyphae networks are like a 3D highway system that connects vast areas in the soil, providing potentially a very efficient way for bacteria to disperse. However, unlike the highways we are familiar with, fungal highways are generated by living organisms and likely the fungus providing a dispersal path interacts with bacteria in complex ways. In this PhD project we will find out how bacteria spread through fungal hyphae networks, and whether the interactions between fungi and bacteria promote or impede the dispersal. In addition, we will study how nutrients influence the interactions between fungi and bacteria. Our pilot experiments have already shown that the nature of interactions between fungi and bacteria can change in function of nutrient availability. Understanding the effects of nutrients can help finding ways to manipulate fungi-bacteria interactions and their effect on soil functioning.

The successful applicant should have a strong background in microbiology lab work and data analysis, and have completed a Master’s degree before September 2019. Experience in mathematical modelling and knowledge of a programming language is an advantage. The candidate needs to be fluent in English.

To apply, please send an email to < li@evolbio.mpg.de >. Please include in your email a statement including 1) a brief overview of your previous academic and research experiences, and explain how your background fits with the project, 2) a CV or resume, and 3) a list of 2 to 3 academic references with their names and email addresses.

The position is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation with a competitive salary for 4 years. The starting time should be September 2019 or earlier. Applications will be reviewed continuously until the position is filled.