NIOZ

PhD position to investigate the evolution of DPANN symbionts and their hosts.

2021-03-30 13:43:43

LOCATION:                       NIOZ TEXEL

VACANCY NR.:                2021 – 22

CLOSING DATE:              May 8th , 2021

 

THE RESEARCH LOCATION

The research of the Department of Marine Microbiology and Biogeochemistry (MMB) has a long history of studying Archaea, especially their role in marine biogeochemical cycles as well as their membrane lipid biomarkers. These are used both in the present but also in the past as fossilized lipid remnants to decipher past climate changes and to reconstruct microbial evolution.

The MMB department is also focused on the identity, activity and physiology of Archaea and other marine microbes, their interactions, and their role in biogeochemical cycling in a variety of marine environments, ranging from tidal flats and coral reefs to the deep ocean and sediments. The department is equipped with state-of-the-art laboratories, bioinformatics resources and analytical equipment, and has an excellent level of technical support.

The research team of Anja Spang, who was recently awarded an ERC-starting grant (ASymbEL) has a key interest in the role of symbiosis in the evolution of life on Earth ranging from the origin of the eukaryotic cell to symbiotic relationships between different extant microbial groups, including archaea. The focus of her current research lies in the study of DPANN archaea, which represent a tentative archaeal superphylum comprising lineages with extremely small genomes and cell sizes, that includes the so far only parasitic members of the archaea.

 

THE PROJECT

The recent application of metagenomics approaches to the study of microbial communities has greatly expanded our view on life’s diversity and led to the discovery of a large radiation of DPANN archaeal lineages with small genomes hypothesized to represent microbial symbionts. The placement of these lineages in the tree of life has proven difficult, the exact reasons of which are poorly established so far. Furthermore, nearly nothing is known about the impact of DPANN symbionts on biogeochemical nutrient cycles, microbial community functioning and the evolution of their hosts. Integrated into the larger frame of ASymbEL, in this project we will study existing symbiont-host systems as well as enrich for novel ones, as a basis to investigate the microevolutionary impact of DPANN symbionts on their hosts. In particular, we will elucidate fundamental principles of DPANN and host genome evolution using a variety of genomics approaches combined with cultivation, microscopy and experimental evolution.

 

THE CANDIDATE

We are looking for a highly motivated student with a Master degree in microbiology, (population) genomics, phylogenomics, metagenomics or related fields willing to learn and apply cross-disciplinary approaches and work in a highly collaborative environment. Experience or the determination to learn the use of the command line and Unix as well as in the application of programming languages such as R and Python are required. Furthermore, the optimal candidate has a keen interest in symbiosis, archaea and evolution, is a good team player and highly motivated to pursue research. Due to the international character of our research, good command of English, spoken as well as written, is a prerequisite. We highly encourage applicants from all members of our community and of diverse background, including LGBT+ and BAME communities, to join us.

 

CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT

Employment of this position at Royal NIOZ is by NWO (The Netherlands Organization of Scientific Research). We offer a fulltime position for 4 years with an excellent salary, a pension scheme, a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary, a year-end bonus, and flexible work arrangements. You may expect attractive secondary employment conditions. We offer generous relocation expenses for employees coming from abroad and support with finding accommodation.

 

More information

For more information about the vacancy itself, please contact Anja Spang (senior scientist), tel. no.: 31 (0)222 369 526. For more information about the procedure, please contact Immetje Duin (HR department), tel. no. 31 (0)222 369 491

If you are interested in this position please visit our website www.workingatnioz.com and apply for this job.



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