1 Post doc and 6 PhD positions on Host-microbiota interactions:

The Collaborative Research Center 1182 at Kiel University aims to understand why and how microbial communities form long-term associations with hosts from diverse taxonomic groups. We are particularly interested in the specific functional consequences of the interactions, the underlying regulatory principles, and also the associated evolutionary dynamics.

We are seeking outstanding candidates to fill 1 Postdoc (TV-L 13 100%) and 6 PhD positions
(TV-L 13 65 %), to be filled as soon as possible. Detailed information on the open positions: see below.

Please send your application as a single pdf-document to Anika Hintz (ahintz@zoologie.uni-kiel.de ). The application should include (i) a curriculum vitae with a list of publications, (ii) a motivation statement (max. 2 pages), containing a maximum of 3 choices from above projects (in order of preference) and reasons for these choices, and (iii) contact addresses of two possible referees. Please abstain from sending application portraits.

Deadline for applications is 13 February 2024.

Postdoc position on Microorganisms: Culturing, phylogenetic analysis and genetic engineering

Project description:
The overall aim of this central platform project is to enrich, isolate and further characterize selected bacteria and archaea associated to eukaryotic hosts studied in the CRC using sophisticated tools. One central focus will be the targeted isolation of host associated microbes, including mainly anaerobic bacteriaand methanogenic archaea of different hosts. The isolates will be used to study their diversity in the different hosts, as well as the pot. involvement in mammalian health and disease scenarios. The second focus is the establishment of genetic tools for several isolates to allow functional analysis of genes and the role of the respective gene product in host-microbe interaction (e.g. construction of transposon-insertion mutant libraries).
We are looking for candidates with expertise in microbiology and molecular biology and one or more of the following approaches: microbial cultivation, isolation under anaerobic conditions, genetic approaches. A PhD in biology or life sciences is required. We offer a highly interactive exciting scientific environment in the institute of microbiology and within the CRC.

For further information contact Prof. Dr. Ruth Schmitz-Streit, or visit the website http://www.mikrobio.uni-kiel.de/de/ag-schmitz-streit

PhD Position in bacteria-bacteria interactions in host-associated microbial communities

For further information contact: Daniel Unterweger (d.unterweger@iem.uni-kiel.de), or visit our website: www.unterwegerlab.com

Project description: 
Host-associated bacteria live in mixed communities of diverse strains and species. How these communities form and what makes them resilient is not fully understood. One possible explanation is provided by positive and negative interactions between bacteria. We study bacterial isolates of the mammalian intestine to better understand these interactions between naturally coexisting isolates and to gain a mechanistic understanding of how one bacterium affects another. The proposed project directly builds onto our recent findings (bioRxiv 2023.03.05.530569).

We are looking for somebody, who is excited about the project, eager to join our team, willing to learn new skills, and motivated to develop ideas independently. The candidate is expected to have a degree in Biology, Biochemistry, Life Science or related field and to have a background in molecular biology/microbiology/cell biology/bioinformatics.

PhD position on Evolution of IgA-bacteria interactions within the human metaorganism

Project description: 
This PhD position offers the opportunity to shed light on the critical role of IgA in maintaining gut homeostasis and its implications for human health.

By leveraging the unique dataset and microbiome biobanks of the Global Microbiome Conservancy, the candidate will explore the interplay between host lifestyle, microbiome compositions, and IgA responses to understand how these interactions evolve both within individuals and across different human populations.

The project’s specific objectives include 1) investigating the evolution of IgA-bacteria interactions among diverse human populations 2) identifying bacterial markers influencing IgA binding 2) assessing the impact of microbial communities on IgA production 3) understanding how IgA shapes the composition and function of the gut microbiome. 

For further information contact: Mathilde Poyet (m.poyet@iem.uni-kiel.de), or visit our website https://mmmicrobiomelab.org/

PhD position on the dynamics of microbial compositions, lineages and genomes along the evolution of the human metaorganis

Project description:
The recruited researcher will lead multi-omics evolutionary studies of the human gut microbiome data that we sampled as part of the Global Microbiome Conservancy initiative. Host, microbiome, and metabolome data were generated from 1,000+ participants living across various populations with differentiated lifestyles, diets and genetic backgrounds. Some of the first projects could involve the reconstruction of ancestral human microbiomes, the study of co-migrating bacteria and their genomic evolution, the study of horizontal gene transfers and their drivers in the microbiome, and the identification of bacterial metabolic traits that respond to host lifestyles. Expertise on bioinformatics and bacterial genomics are pre-requisites. Expertise or knowledge on multi-omics data analysis, evolutionary biology, and ecology would be a plus.

PhD Position on Mechanistic and cellular underpinnings of sponge-microbe cross talk

Project description:
Marine basal metazoans are in constant contact with a vast number of diverse microbes in their environment. This PhD thesis project aims to gain insight into the molecular and cellular basis of sponge-microbe interactions. Using the local Baltic Sea sponge Halichondria panicea as an experimental model, it seeks to unravel how the animal differentiates between microorganisms, whether food, friend or foe. The project will employ a newly developed cellular in vivo phagocytosis assay (Marulanda et al., 2022) in combination with metatranscriptomics/ metaproteomics and high-resolution microscopy to decipher the mechanistic and cellular underpinnings of sponge-microbe recognition and cross talk. 

For further information contact Ute Hentschel Humeida (uhentschel@geomar.de), or visit the website: https://www.geomar.de/en/research/fb3/fb3-ms/research-topics

PhD Position on understanding phage dynamics and function in marine spong

For further information contact Ute Hentschel Humeida (uhentschel@geomar.de) or visit the website: https://www.geomar.de/en/research/fb3/fb3-ms/research-topics

Project description:

Phages are increasingly recognized as important members of host-associated microbiomes. This PhD project seeks to understand the role of phages in sponge metaorganisms by using the local species Halichondria panicea as a working model.  The PHD candidate will assess the impact of phage-bacteria dynamics in wild-caught sponge individuals over the annual seasonal cycle. The project will further assess how phages and other mobile genetic elements impact microbial community dynamics within sponges in an experimental-driven way. This combined experimental and bioinformatic research effort will shed light on phages as understudied drivers of microbial community structure and function within sponge metaorganisms.

PhD position on the role of G protein-coupled receptors as mediators of host-microbe coevolution

The overall goal of the project is to investigate the genetic basis of evolutionary change in mammalian metaorganisms. Using powerful genetic resources (see doi: 10.7554/eLife.75419), we have identified G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) as an important focal class of host genes. Based on the interpretation of multiomic data in mice and humans, GPCRs represent diverse opportunities for host-microbiome interactions in the intestinal tract through metabolic cross-talk, e.g., host sensing of microbes via metabolites and/or exploitation of host responses by metabolites produced by bacteria. Thus, the specific goal of this project is to characterize in detail the nature of several of the most promising host GPCR x bacterial taxa associations using a combination of genomic analyses, bacterial cultivation, and in vitro cell culture-based assays. Given the role of several of our GPCR candidates in the gut-brain axis, regulation of appetite, and susceptibility to obesity, the outcome of this project may provide critical insight into human health-related traits with potential translational application.

For further information contact:

John Baines (j.baines@iem.uni-kiel.de) or visit the website:  https://www.evolbio.mpg.de/16329/group_evolgenomics

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