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.
Environmental Chemistry of Biomolecules Group at Eawag opens a
PhD Student Position in Environmental and Analytical Chemistry
The goal of the PhD projectis to investigate production dynamics and transformation kinetics of toxins and bioactive secondary metabolites that define bloom forming cyanobacteria (cyanoHABs). We will work with lake samples covering seasonal variation and laboratory cultures with varying degrees of community complexity. Therefore, we will use a high-throughput analytical workflow by high-resolution tandem mass spectrometry including target and suspect screening of cyanopeptides.

The selected PhD candidate will participate in a collaborative, cross-disciplinary project involving four groups in ecology, microbiology, environmental chemistry, and dynamical systems theory, to study the temporal and biological processes leading to the emergence of cyanoHABs. The project aims to understand the ecological and evolutionary mechanisms triggering cyanoHABs in lake ecosystems, and develop predictive models. The PhD student in environmental and analytical chemistry will be responsible for collection of data from Swiss lakes and microcosm studies in the laboratory, analysing production dynamics and transformation kinetics of secondary metabolites from different cyanobacteria.

The duration of the PhD position will be 4 years. The PhD degree will be awarded by ETH Zurich. The candidate will be based in the department of Environmental Chemistry at Eawag in Dübendorf supervised by Dr Elisabeth Janssen. The project is funded in collaboration with the groups of Dr Francesco Pomati, Dr David Johnson, and Rudolf Rohr. A total of three PhD students, two Research Assistants and one Postdoc will be hired together as a cluster for this project. The PhD candidates will benefit from close collaboration with the whole project team, including the PIs’ groups and external collaborators. The international and cross-disciplinary nature of this synergistic project will be ideal for promoting skill acquisition, independent thinking and future scientific career development of the student.

We are looking for a highly motivated person with interests in environmental chemistry and integrating natural production of toxins and their transformation kinetics in surface waters. The project is cross disciplinary and would benefit from a creative and open mind. At least 50% of the work will be experimental laboratory and field work, while the remaining 50% will be dedicated to data processing and analysis.

The successful candidate is expected to hold an MSc degree in Chemistry or Environmental Chemistry, has experience in analytical chemistry (liquid chromatography, ideally mass spectrometry), demonstrated skills in scientific communication (e.g., report, thesis, paper writing), and a willingness to learn and expand skills into mass spectrometry workflows and data analysis for suspect screening. First experiences with programming in R, working with transformation studies of organic molecules, and culturing of (cyano) bacteria will be additional valuable assets. Fluency in English is required.

Eawag is a modern employer and offers an excellent working environment where staff can con-tribute their strengths, experience and ways of thinking. We promote gender equality and are committed to staff diversity and inclusion. The compatibility of career and family is of central importance to us. For more information about Eawag and our work conditions please consult www.eawag.ch and www.eawag.ch/en/aboutus/working/employment. Eawag is located within the Zürich metropolitan area, and the city of Zürich is continuously ranked among the top cities in the world for quality of life and is within close proximity to the Swiss Alps.

The review process of candidates will start on 23 August 2021, therefore submission is encouraged by 22 August 2021. Application should include a cover letter with a concise statement about your previous education and research experience, your vision for the future and in particular your motivation to work on this project (2 pages maximum), a curriculum vitae including (if applicable) the list of publications or MSc/BSc thesis, copies of your academic qualifications, and names and contact information of 2-3 academic references (please do not include letters with the application). The preferred start date will be late 2021 / early 2022.

For further information, please contact Dr Elisabeth Janssen

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