PhD position in soil microbiology - job offer 21/21

Systems soil ecology with a synthetic microbial community

The Departments of Microorganisms and Services of the Leibniz-Institute DSMZ offer jointly a PhD student position on

Systems soil ecology with a synthetic microbial community

Soils are essential to sustain life in terrestrial ecosystems. However, a conceptual framework that describes how the structural and functional diversity of the soil microbiome influences energy and matter fluxes in soil is still missing. This project aims to use a synthetic soil community reflecting the major microbial taxa to study the structure and function of the soil microbiome in respect to the resulting energy and matter fluxes. A 25-member synthetic soil community will be cultivated for this purpose. In a multidisciplinary research platform with the Humboldt University of Berlin, the University of Greifswald, and the Helmholtz Center UFZ, we will follow the microbial community dynamics by state-of-the-art molecular approaches (NGS amplicon sequencing, qPCR, metatranscriptomics), study their secondary metabolite interactions by metabolomics, and link this to the energy and carbon flux in the studied soil using stable isotope tracer techniques and heat production.

Your profile

  • experience and background in soil microbiology and/or mass spectrometry
  • Master’s degree (or equivalent) in the above-mentioned disciplines with an overall grade of at least ‘very good’
  • strong English writing and communication skills
  • basic experience in cultivation of microorganisms and bioinformatics analyses are desired

Our offer

  • working in an interdisciplinary environment within the framework of the DFG-funded priority program SoilSystems – Systems Ecology of Soils (SPP 2322)
  • excellent facilities for biological and biotechnological research at our institute
  • integration into a PhD graduate school at the TU Braunschweig including soft skill courses
  • PhD students are encouraged to attend international conferences
  • appointment for 3 years, salary grade TV-L 13 (65%)
  • the position is offered as full time and is not appropriate for part time work

The institutes of the Leibniz Association strive to increase the proportion of female scientists. Disabled applicants with identical qualification will be preferentially selected. DSMZ is an equal opportunity employer, supports balanced work-life career development, and holds the certificate of the audit berufundfamilie. For further information please contact Prof. Dr. Michael Pester ( Please send your application documents as one pdf including a CV, motivation letter, one reference letter, and a synopsis of the Master’s thesis to

Application deadline:
Start date: Open until filled
Location: Leibniz Institute DSMZ, Braunschweig, Germany