Eawag, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, is an internationally networked aquatic research institute within the ETH Domain (Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology). Eawag conducts research, education and expert consulting to achieve the dual goals of meeting direct human needs for water and maintaining the function and integrity of aquatic ecosystems.
The Department of Environmental Microbiology (Umik) invites applications for three
PhD positions on controlling Legionella in building plumbing systems

Legionella pneumophilia is an opportunistic bacterial pathogen and causative agent of both Pontiac Fever and Legionnaire’s disease. Concerningly, Legionnaire’s disease incidence is rising, with a 35% increase in the number of cases in Switzerland between 2016-2018. Legionnaire’s disease is caused by inhalation of aerosolized Legionella spp., for example via showering and/or cooling towers for buildings with Legionella spp. colonizing the plumbing. Dealing with Legionella in building plumbing is a multi-disciplinary challenge ranging from basic to applied research and involving stakeholders from academia, industry and government.

Within this context, Eawag is leading a multisite collaboration with the Swiss Federal Government (BLV), the technical university of Lucerne (HSLU), the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss-TPH) and the cantonal laboratory of Zurich (KLZH), with further support from a global network of experts on Legionella spp., building plumbing, and health effects. The project is focused on informing management strategies to address contributions of the built environment to the increasing incidence of Legionnaire’s disease. Specific foci of the project include: 1) improving methods for Legionella spp. detection and control in plumbing systems, 2) investigating both operational and ecological strategies for Legionella spp. control, and 3) assessing risk-based water quality guidelines targeting Legionella spp. and potential impacts on Legionnaire’s disease.

If you are excited about this topic, and you hold an M.Sc. in biology, environmental sciences, environmental engineering, public health, or related field, you are invited to apply. Prior experience in a microbiology laboratory is a strong asset. Fluency in German, French or Italian is an asset but not required. The candidate must be eager to execute one or more of several techniques including (but not limited to) molecular and microbiological laboratory work, environmental sampling, epidemiology, risk assessment, and modeling. The candidate must be willing to work in a team environment. We offer a very dynamic and collaborative research environment which profits from state-of-the-art infrastructure and support. In addition, the PhD student(s) will interact with aforementioned collaborators, including leading international researchers in the field. The student will be registered in the Environmental Systems Science Department at ETH Zurich. Project intended start date is on or after 1 March 2020.

Please submit your application by 15 January 2020. Please include a letter of motivation (1 page max.) explaining why you think you fit this position well, a CV (with publications, if applicable), and the names and contact information of two references.

Eawag offers a unique https://www.eawag.ch/en/aboutus/working/researchenvironment/ and is committed to promoting equal opportunities for women and men and to support the compatibility of family and work. For more information about Eawag and our work conditions please consult https://www.eawag.ch/en/ and www.eawag.ch/en/aboutus/working/employment.

For further information, please contact Dr Frederik Hammes (frederik.hammes@eawag.ch) or Dr Tim Julian (tim.julian@eawag.ch).

We look forward to receiving your application. Please send it through this webpage, any other way of applying will not be considered. A click on the button below will take you directly to the application form.

Eawag: Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology