PhD position Microbiology and Natural Product Research

The Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology – Hans Knöll Institute – (HKI, investigates the pathobiology of human-pathogenic fungi and identifies targets for the development of novel natural product-based antibiotics. The newly established Junior Research Group Evolution of Microbial Interactions offers

1 PhD position

starting as soon as possible for three years initially.

The project aims to determine the evolutionary role of predatory soil amoeba in fungal virulence and exploit their potential to counteract fungal pathogens and is funded by the ESF (European Social Fund).

Research area: Soil amoeba predation imposes a selection pressure on environmental microbes like bacteria or fungi which favors the development or acquisition of microbial virulence factors. The research group has a special focus on the interactions of the model amoeba Dictyostelium as well as its fungivorous relative Protostelium mycophaga with environmentally acquired fungal pathogens like Aspergillus fumigatus. The successful candidate will use state-of-the-art molecular and analytical techniques to identify key mediators during the predatory interactions of amoeba and fungi.

Our requirements: We expect a Master’s degree (or equivalent) in Life Sciences (e.g. Biology, Microbiology, Biochemistry) with a strong background in molecular biology including modern techniques in cloning and gene expression in heterologous hosts. Candidates about to obtain their degree are welcome to apply. First experiences in fungal biology are advantageous but not required. Applicants should have very good communication skills in English and a high motivation to perform team-oriented as well as independent work.

We offer: The successful candidate will be hosted in the independent Junior Research Group “Evolution of Microbial Interactions” headed by Dr. Falk Hillmann. The HKI is embedded in the outstanding scientific environment of the Beutenberg Campus providing state-of-art research facilities and a highly integrative network of life science groups. We offer a multifaceted scientific project supported by excellent technical facilities, a place in a young, committed team, as well as strong scientific collaborations. As a PhD student, you will be integrated in one of the established graduate schools ILRS ( or JSMC (, which offer extensive mentoring support and provide additional training through a structured onsite programme. Training will include key areas of science and technology, and complementary skills.
Salary is paid according to German TV-L (salary agreement for public service employees). The HKI is an equal opportunity employer.

Further information:
Dr. Falk Hillmann | +49 3641 532 1445 |

Complete applications in English should include a CV, a brief statement of research experiences and interests, a complete list of publications, the addresses of two possible referees, and should be submitted as a single pdf-file until May 15th, 2016 to referring to HKI job posting No. 09/2016. The HKI is committed to increase the percentage of female scientists and therefore especially encourages them to apply.

Postal address:
Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology
– Hans Knöll Institute –
Personnel office
Adolf-Reichwein-Straße 23
07745 Jena

How to apply:
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Über Leibniz-Institut für Naturstoff-Forschung und Infektionsbiologie

The Leibniz-Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology (HKI) identifies and investigates natural products produced by microorganisms, mainly fungi, to understand their role as mediators of biological communication and to use them for the elucidation of cellular processes. Furthermore, scientists at the Institute are interested in understanding the pathobiology of...

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