The Faculty of Biology of the University of Freiburg is offering a

PhD Position in the area of Microbiology: Infection mechanisms of archaeal viruses.

Starting-date: at the earliest possible date

The research group ‘Archaeal virus host interactions’ is studying infection mechanisms of archaeal viruses. Archaea are ubiquitous microorganisms that form a separate domain of life. Compared with bacteria and eukaryotes, relatively little is known about the cell biology and ecological roles of archaea. A prominent feature of archaea is the extraordinary diversity of their viruses. Archaeal viral particles have many unique shapes and properties not encountered in bacterial and eukaryotic viruses. We focus on the infection strategies of archaeal viruses and study the molecular mechanisms underlying essential steps of the viral infection cycle, such as attachment, entry and release of the host cell. Since these processes take place at the cell surface, we are also actively studying the archaeal cell surface and surface appendages using the halophilic euryarchaeon Haloferax volcanii as a model. Studying the infection mechanisms of archaeal viruses can provide insight into the evolutionary history of viruses and help to understand adaptation to extreme environments.

In the framework of a recently awarded Emmy Noether grant, we offer an excellent opportunity to engage into an exciting PhD project that combines microbiology, genetics, microscopy and biochemical tools in the context of a dynamic and enthusiastic work environment, with state-of-the-art equipment and various chances for national and international scientific collaborations.

We are looking for a doctoral researcher for this project. Your responsibilities will include:

  • Isolation of viruses infecting haloarchaea
  • Development of a genetic system for a new Haloarchaeal strain
  • Application of several microscopy techniques to study the infection strategies of selected viruses.
  • Identification of proteins important for the viral infection cycle.

Your profile includes:

  • A Master’s degree with top grades in biology, chemistry or biotechnology
  • Proven interest in the above indicated research fields
  • Previous experience with viruses of archaea/bacteria, electron/light microscopy or microbial genetics
  • Very strong command of English; knowledge of German is an advantage.

Please hand in:

  • Letter of intent detailing why you are interested in this specific project and how your previous research qualifies you for the project (up to 1,500 words)
  • Curriculum Vitae with list of publications (if applicable)
  • Certified copies of your university degree(s) with grades (Bachelor and Master certificate/ Diploma certificate and transcript)
  • Short summary of your Master’s thesis (up to 1,000 words)
  • Work sample (chapter from recent thesis or journal article, up to 5,000 words)
  • a tangible proof of your fluency in English, i.e. certificate (TOEFL, Cambridge certificate, IELTS); German “Abitur” is eligible as proof of fluency in English 
  • Suggestion of two referees with contact details

Your documents will not be returned after the application process. For this reason, please submit copies only.

The salary will be determined in accordance with TV-L E13 (65 %).

We are particularly pleased to receive applications from women for the position advertised here.

Please send in a complete and convincing application with the above-mentioned supporting documents, by 31.03.2019 at the latest. Please send your application to the following address in written or electronic form:


Dr. Tessa E.F. Quax
University of Freiburg
Institute for Biology II- Microbiology
Archaeal virus-host interactions
Room 02.038
Schänzlestrasse 1
79104 Freiburg

E-Mail (only one single pdf file), stating as subject ‘00000440’:
tessa.quax[at]biologie.uni-freiburg.de

For further information, please contact Dr. Tessa E.F. Quax by phone:  +49-(0)761 203 2631 or E-Mail tessa.quax[at]biologie.uni-freiburg.de