Postdoctoral researcher: microbiome dynamics in food model systems

80%-100%, Zurich, fixed-term

The Laboratory of Food Systems Biotechnology (FSB) develops computational methods and utilizes "omics" technologies to study microbial ecosystems in food production and human health, with the ultimate goal of creating microbial communities and products that optimize food quality, safety, and human health.

We are seeking a postdoctoral researcher with expertise in biotechnology and molecular biology to lead a project using food fermentations as a model ecosystem for investigating microbial ecology dynamics and the evolution of multi-species communication.

Project background

Fermented foods and beverages are a nutritionally and culturally significant component of human diets globally, as well as a primary source of microorganisms and microbial metabolites that shape both food quality and human health. They also serve as an experimentally tractable model for testing hypotheses of microbial ecology and evolution.

The position is located in the Institute of Food, Nutrition, and Health at ETH Zurich within the Laboratory of Food Systems Biotechnology (Prof. Dr Nicholas Bokulich). The Bokulich laboratory develops bioinformatics methods and software for microbiome research, including QIIME 2, and applies these tools to study microbiomes at the interfaces of foods and human health.

Job description

You will use molecular, deep sequencing, metabolomics, and genetic manipulation (random and targeted mutagenesis) methods together with high-throughput phenotypic screening for deep investigation of inter-kingdom interactions in model ecosystems and food matrices, in pursuit of generalizable "rules of life" that transcend these systems.

Your profile

You are a self-motivated scientist with outstanding academic qualifications, superb interpersonal and written communication skills, and enthusiasm to engage with a friendly and collaborative team of interdisciplinary scientists. You are comfortable working with a mixture of molecular biology, microbiology, and bioinformatics techniques, including experience with transposon mutagenesis or related random mutagenesis methods. Experience in metagenomics/microbiome research, metabolomics, python programming, and robotics platforms for laboratory automation are also bonuses but not required. You should also have a strong interest in teaching, and will have the opportunity to supervise thesis/student projects as well as classroom teaching. 

Key Qualifications

  • Doctoral degree in microbiology, molecular biology, food microbiology, biology, ecology, or other relevant fields.
  • High degree of independence, motivation, and drive for discovery
  • High level of experience in molecular biology techniques, including with transposon mutagenesis or related methods
  • Skilled in biological/statistical data analysis
  • Excellent interpersonal communication, teamwork and organizational skills
  • English language proficiency
  • Strong record of scientific communication and publications.
  • Demonstrated leadership and teaching abilities.

Desired Qualifications

  • Enthusiasm for laboratory automation
  • Proficient Python 3 programming
  • Experience with metagenomics methods
  • Experience with metabolomics methods
  • Experience with Git or other software version control systems
  • Experience working with high-performance computing environments and/or cloud computing environments.
  • German language proficiency

Your workplace

Your workplace




We offer

ETH Zurich is a family-friendly employer with excellent working conditions. You can look forward to an exciting working environment, cultural diversity and attractive offers and benefits.

Working, teaching and research at ETH Zurich

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.

We look forward to receiving your online application with the following materials:

  • A letter of intent (1-2 pages) that describes your interest and suitability for the  position, specific goals/ideas/interest in the project, and succinctly conveys your scientific mission
  • An updated curriculum vitae including a list of publications, education, and relevant experience
  • A 1-page description of your top 1-3 scientific achievements.
  • Names and contact information of 2-3 professional references

Please note that we only consider completed applications that are submitted through our online application portal. Applications sent via email or postal services will not be considered.

For further information about the group please visit our website. Questions regarding the position can be directed to Prof. Dr Nicholas Bokulich by email (see website for contact information) (no applications). 

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.

Curious? So are we.

We look forward to receiving your online application with the following materials:

  • A letter of intent (1-2 pages) that describes your interest and suitability for the  position, specific goals/ideas/interest in the project, and succinctly conveys your scientific mission
  • An updated curriculum vitae including a list of publications, education, and relevant experience
  • A 1-page description of your top 1-3 scientific achievements.
  • Names and contact information of 2-3 professional references

Please note that we only consider completed applications that are submitted through our online application portal. Applications sent via email or postal services will not be considered.

For further information about the group please visit our website. Questions regarding the position can be directed to Prof. Dr Nicholas Bokulich by email (see website for contact information) (no applications). 

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.