Postdoctoral Researcher Positions in Microbial Ecology/Molecular Microbiology/Biostructural Interactions

    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 core mission of the Cluster of Excellence “Balance of the Microverse” of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena 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 targeted interventions. The affiliated early career program of the Jena School for Microbial Communication (JSMC) offers an ambitious, structured and interdisciplinary post-graduate training based on top-level fundamental research.

    The Cluster of Excellence Balance of the Microverse invites applications for
    Postdoctoral Researcher Positions in Microbial Ecology/Molecular Microbiology/Biostructural Interactions (m/f/d)

    commencing on November 1st, 2022, or at the earliest possible date. We offer up to three two-year, full-time positions embedded within several research groups in our Cluster of Excellence, e.g., the Papenfort lab, the Stallforth lab, the Hellmich group, in close collaboration with the groups of Kirsten Küsel, Georg Pohnert, Axel Brakhage and Christian Eggeling. We are looking for an engaging and motivated individual, who is willing to collaborate widely and to look beyond traditional disciplines to further our mission.

    The project will focus on the interaction of commensal and pathogenic microorganisms with microplastic particles in the environment. Research over the past few years has revealed that microplastic particles can be detected in nearly all habitats (marine, soil, etc.), however, it is frequently unclear if and how microplastic particles affect the composition of microbial consortia and the overall performance of the microbiome. In this project, we aim to understand: a) the molecular factors underlying attachment of microorganisms to microplastic particles, b) the role of extracellular communication molecules for microbial proliferation on microplastic, and c) the impact of microplastic 3D structure and composition on this process.

    Your responsibilities:
    • Contribute to the development of the project direction, as the project evolves.
    • Produce high-quality written reports and draft papers. Present your results at local meetings and national and international conferences.
    • Assist with training other researchers, including PhD candidates, Masters’ and undergraduate project students, where required.
    • Assist with the teaching activities of the group where required.
    • Contribute to maintaining the friendly, welcoming and collaborative environment within the group.

    Your profile
    • A PhD (or equivalent) in the life or natural sciences. Candidates in the final stages of obtaining their doctorate are also eligible to apply.
    • Excellent background in molecular microbiology, microbial ecology, analytical chemistry, microbial communication, biostructural interactions, or a related field
    • Desired skills: proactive work attitude and ability to work across fields
    • Highly motivated individuals with an interest in joining one of the interdisciplinary research areas of the Microverse Cluster
    • The ability to work creatively and independently towards developing your own research project
    • An integrative and cooperative personality with enthusiasm for actively participating in the dynamic Microverse community
    • English communication skills, both written and spoken

    We offer:
    • A highly communicative atmosphere within an energetic scientific network
    • A comprehensive mentoring program and soft skill courses for early career researchers
    • Jena – City of Science: a young and lively town with a vibrant local cultural agenda
    • A family-friendly working environment with a variety of offers for families: University Family Office ‘JUniFamilie’ and flexible childcare (‘JUniKinder’)
    • University health promotion and a wide range of university sports activities
    • Attractive fringe benefits, e.g. capital formation benefits (VL), Job Ticket (benefits for public transport), and an occupational pension (VBL)
    • 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
    The two-year full-time positions will be funded through the Excellence Strategy of the German federal and state governments. A part-time contract can be discussed. To promote gender equality in science, applications by women are especially welcome. Candidates with severe disabilities will be given preference in the case of equal qualifications and suitability.
    Applications in English should comprise a cover letter, a detailed curriculum vitae and copies of academic certificates. Please familiarize yourself with the currently available postdoctoral projects ( and the application process as described in the Online Application Portal. Please submit your application via the JSMC Online Application Portal, under the vacancy ID 05/2022 by 25 August 2022:

    Since all application documents will be duly destroyed after the recruitment process, we ask you to submit only copies of your documents.

    For further information for applicants, please also refer to (in German)
    Please also note the information on the collection of personal data at

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