Post-doc position in microbial ecology

Utrecht University

Supervisor:  Dr. Alexandre Jousset, leader of a research team tackling the ecology and evolution of beneficial plant-associated microbes. The project is part of a Dutch consortium aiming to eradicat Ralstonia wilt disease. The project be embedded within the Ecology & Biodiversity research group, a dynamic research group combining experts in biodiversity, microbiology and soil ecology. The goal of the group is to develop ecological solutions for a sustainable world. It provides an array of state-of-the-art facilities including flow cytometry, automated robot platforms, automated qPCR, confocal microscopy and controlled growth chambers.

Job description:
“We seek a post-doctoral researcher to investigate the relationship between
microbial biodiversity and plant pathogen suppression. The project is part of a
larger consortium dedicated to eradicating Ralstonia solanacearum, a pathogen
threatening agriculture worldwide. Currently, this disease cannot be controlled,
and new methods are therefore required, such as targeted biological control.
The present project will develop multi-species and multi-trophic microbial
communities for biocontrol from a collection of bacterial strains, bacteriophages
and protists cultures. In a first phase, synthetic communities of varying
biodiversity and composition will be evaluated in vitro in order to unravel the
assembly mechanisms underlying efficient and reliable pathogen suppression. The
most promising communities will then be tested in in hydroponic systems to
evaluate their ability to eradicate the pathogen and prevent new plant infection.
The successful candidate should have a strong background in microbial ecology,
evolution or phytopathology. Preference will be given to candidates having
demonstrated the ability to use experimental communities to address ecological
questions. The candidate is expected to work as an independent researcher in
close interaction with the research group. We seek a creative and critical
analytical researcher who is skilled in data interpretation. The candidate should
have a proven ability to write scientific publications in high-standing peerreviewed
international journals. Expertise in statistics is a strong advantage, as is
experience in modeling and/ or bioinformatics.”

Additional information. Please contact Dr. Alexandre Jousset (

  • Background in microbial ecology and / or phytopathogy-
  • Ability to work as an independent researcher within a wider research team
  • Experience in the isolation and characterisation of microorganisms
  • Expertise in statistics (R language)
  • Ability to perform and publish high quality research, demonstrated for instance by
    a strong publication record in international peer-reviewed journals.
  • Excellent level of written and spoken English

Temporary position for 2 years. The gross salary will depend on previous qualifications and experience – between € 2552 and €4082 (scale 10 according to the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities). Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8 % and a year-end bonus of 8.3 % per year.


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