PhD Position in Evolutionary Ecology

100%, Zurich, fixed-term

Our group at ETH Zurich has a position for a PhD student to study co-evolutionary dynamics in the “killer yeast” model system.

Project background

The “killer yeast” system features eco‑evolutionary interactions among plants, animals and fungi, as well as viruses. The core of the system is the winemaking yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which is mostly found in ephemeral fruits. Yeast modify their niche to drive the coevolution of mutualism between themselves and Drosophila flies. Yeast is also used as a host by various double stranded RNA viruses. Certain dsRNA virus combinations (dsRNA L-A virus and M satellite dsRNA) convert the yeast to a killer phenotype providing the yeast strain with a competitive advantage over other coexisting strains. The actors in the killer yeast system - S. cerevisiae, dsRNA viruses and Drosophila are all excellent research models in their own right with well-established population genetic, -omic and ecological toolboxes. The system is suitable for both field and laboratory studies, which are expected to be part of the developed PhD project. We invite applications from candidates who are interested in studying the coevolutionary dynamics and population ecology of the interacting species, whilst focusing on topics that are not only of broad interest within fundamental research, but also highly relevant to more applied fields (e.g. winemaking).

Job description

The position is for four years, during which the PhD dissertation at ETH Zurich is expected to be completed. The PhD candidate will be supervised by Dr. Claudia C. Buser and Prof. Jukka Jokela of the Aquatic Ecology group at the Institute of Integrative Biology at ETH Zurich.

Your profile

We are looking for a highly motivated, enthusiastic and independent person with a passion for science. Candidates for this position should have a strong interest in evolutionary ecology and microbiology. They should be open to learning new skills in experimental hypothesis testing, population genetics and evolutionary biology. Formally, candidates need to hold a MSc degree in biology, environmental sciences or another relevant field.

Your workplace

We value diversity

In line with our values, ETH Zurich encourages an inclusive culture. We promote equality of opportunity, value diversity and nurture a working and learning environment in which the rights and dignity of all our staff and students are respected. Visit our Equal Opportunities and Diversity website to find out how we ensure a fair and open environment that allows everyone to grow and flourish.

Curious? So are we.

To apply, send a single combined pdf to including (1) cover letter, (2) CV, (3) contact details for 2-3 referees. We will start reviewing applications after 15th of September and continue until the position is filled. The position is for four years, during which the PhD dissertation at ETH Zurich is expected to be completed. The earliest available start date is likely to be winter 2020.

About ETH Zürich

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.