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 Subsurface Environmental Processes Group (Eawag and ETH Zurich) and the Environmental Microfluidics Group (Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering at ETH Zurich) are seeking two dynamic and motivated doctoral students for a project to study microbial ecology in soil analogues. The positions are funded by two recently awarded grants, an EU - Innovative Training Network (ITN) Grant (CoPerMix) and an ETH Research Grant.
Two PhD positions on “Microbial ecology in soil studied through microfluidic soil analogues”
The subsurface hosts critical processes for the availability of life-sustaining resources. In this environment, bacteria play a major role in triggering chemical reactions and mediating biogeochemical processes. Soils and aquifers are typically highly heterogeneous in the spatial distribution of fluid flow velocities and chemicals, such as pollutants or nutrients. Bacteria in such environments are therefore exposed to heterogeneous hydrodynamic and chemical landscapes. The focus of these two PhD projects will be on (1) measuring the chemotaxis control on bacterial diffusivity in heterogeneous nutrient fields and (2) quantifying the population dynamics of competing strains. The students will have the unique opportunity to learn, develop and apply a range of cutting-edge experimental techniques, including microfluidic technology, image analysis and state-of-the-art microscopy. Measurements will be guided by and compared with theory developed within the projects. Findings will help advance an important new paradigm in soil ecology – the importance of microscale processes and dynamics - and will carry fundamental implications for our ability to predict the response of soil microorganisms to environmental perturbations.

The successful candidates will have a background in either physics, engineering, biology or biophysics, or related areas, with a strong quantitative inclination and a desire to work experimentally at the interface between biophysics, microbiology, and microbial ecology. The student will have the opportunity to work in a highly interdisciplinary, cutting-edge, fast-paced research environment, to interact with researchers from many different disciplines, to gain skills in a number of technologies, to learn about fundamental biophysical and ecological processes in microorganisms and to interact with world-class collaborators. The ability to work independently, but also to interact and collaborate within a team, will be great assets. The project will be jointly supervised by Dr. Joaquin Jimenez-Martinez (Eawag and ETH Zurich, SEP Group) and Prof. Roman Stocker (ETH Zurich, Stocker Lab).

We look Forward to receiving your online application including a CV, full transcripts from undergraduate studies (both Bachelor and Masters), a brief (1-2 page) statement of research interests, and at least 2 (preferably 3) letters of reference. Review of applications will begin on September 1 and continue until the positions are filled, with the positions to start as early as January 1, 2021.

Eawag offers a unique research and working environment and is committed to promoting equal opportunities for women and men and to support the compatibility of family and work. Applications from women are especially welcome. For more information about Eawag and our work conditions please consult www.eawag.ch and www.eawag.ch/en/aboutus/working/employment.

For further information about the position, please contact Dr. Joaquin Jimenez-Martinez by email at joaquin.jimenez@eawag.ch or jjimenez@ethz.ch (no applications).

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