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PhD student in environmental microbiology

ArbeitsortNeuenburg, Romandie Nord, Schweiz
Dauer3 to 4 years
StellenantrittJuly 1st, 2023

The Laboratory of Microbiology of the University of Neuchâtel offers an intellectually stimulating environment dedicated to the study of environmental and fundamental microbiology. Its strengths are bioremediation, interactions between bacteria and fungi, and environmental bacteriology including research on cellular processes like sporulation, photosynthesis, or horizontal gene transfer.


In summer 2020, several dogs died at the mouth of the Areuse (Neuchâtel, Switzerland), minutes only after ingesting a fragment of some dense microbial mat washed onto the shore. Their death was attributed to anatoxin-a, a potent neurotoxin from cyanobacterial origin. The microorganism associated with the poisoning, Microcoleus sp., is responsible for similar recent events in several countries around the world. Why these Cyanobacteria proliferate in temperate regions and to which extent their proliferation is connected to the toxin they produce is not understood. In addition, we hardly know anything about the natural enemies of these Cyanobacteria, especially among microorganisms. We offer a PhD position to address these broad questions.
The PhD candidate will study how environmental factors, especially light, temperature, and nitrogen sources, influence growth and toxin-production in Microcoleus sp. Unialgal cultures and culture protocols are already established, but quantification methods need to be developed. Moreover, a whole microbiome, including potentially cyanolytic heterotrophs and bacteriophages, is associated with Microcoleus filaments and is likely to influence the proliferation and survival of the associated Cyanobacteria. The PhD candidate will establish experimental systems in which these interactions can be observed and their impact on cyanobacterial proliferation and fitness studied.


The candidate has solid theoretical knowledge and at least some experience in bacteriology. He/she has a Master’s degree in Life Sciences and is willing to invest time and effort in learning bacteriology methods applicable to heterotrophs and cyanobacteria as well as some molecular biology to address the questions. We are looking for a highly motivated, hard-working, and resourceful person.

Wir bieten

The Laboratory of Microbiology is a dynamic research environment which fosters multidisciplinary approaches to complex questions and problems related to environmental microbiology. The Laboratory is equipped with all necessary instruments and analysis tools, including fluorescence microscopy, flow cytometry, absorbance, fluorescence, and luminescence monitoring under controlled conditions (microplate readers), molecular biology stations (PCR and qRT-PCR), etc.

Kontakt und Adresse

Your application should include:
- a cover letter
- a complete CV
- electronic copies of relevant diplomas
- contact information for two references.

Only complete applications will be considered. We will start interviewing candidates by end of April 2023. The position could start as soon as July 1st, 2023.

Please send the documents to the following addresses: pilar.junier [a] and diego.gonzalez [a]



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