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Postdoctoral position on “Microfluidics for the study of microbiomes” in Zürich

Studierende finden an der ETH Zürich ein Umfeld, das eigenständiges Denken fördert, Forschende ein Klima, das zu Spitzenleistungen inspiriert.


100%, Zurich, temporary

The Environmental Microfluidics Group of Prof. Roman Stocker at the Institute of Environmental Engineering at ETH Zurich and the Microbial Systems Ecology Group of Prof. Martin Ackermann at the Institute of Biogeochemistry and Pollutant Dynamics at ETH Zurich and Eawag are jointly seeking a dynamic and motivated postdoctoral researcher with extensive expertise in microfluidics to work on multiple projects on human and environmental microbiomes. The position is funded by a recently awarded Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) grant on Microbiomes. This position is part of a large collaboration encompassing 20 partner groups from five Swiss universities and one University Hospital, and will be shared between the groups of Prof. Roman Stocker (ETH) and Prof. Martin Ackermann (ETH, Eawag).

Project background

Microbiomes consist of diverse communities of microorganisms which, by engaging in complex and often evolving interactions, regulate the functioning of human bodies or natural ecosystems. Despite their crucial role in regulating human health and environmental processes, there are currently few means to control, manage or redirect malfunctioning microbiomes, and we understand little about the potential impact of large-scale interference with their function. A deeper understanding of microbiomes is crucial for the development of technologies to diagnose imbalanced microbiomes, prevent disorders and provide predictive tools for their restoration.

Job description

The focus of this position will be on the development of experimental tools, with a strong focus on microfluidics, to build synthetic and engineered microbiomes, such as those operating in the human gut, on plant leaves, on sludge granules, in animal model systems and beyond. By bringing and further developing extensive expertise in microfabrication and microfluidic operation, the ideal candidate will provide critical support to researchers across the NCCR consortium, with opportunities to be exposed to a broad range of scientific questions, coauthor publications with multiple collaborators, and advance the field of microfluidics applied to microbiome research. 

Your profile

The successful candidate will have a solid background in engineering, with a particular focus on microfluidic technology and microfabrication techniques and their application to biological problems, and a strong desire to work in a highly interdisciplinary environment at the interface between biophysics, microbiology, and microbial ecology. Demonstrated skills in microfluidics through a diverse range of projects and fabrication methods will be highly desirable. The researcher will have the opportunity to work in a cutting-edge, fast-paced research environment, to interact with researchers from many different disciplines, to learn about fundamental biophysical and ecological processes in microorganisms and to interact with world-class collaborators. The resources and goals of this NCCR will provide a setting for contributions at the forefront of microfluidic engineering for microbiome research. The ability to work independently, come up with creative and innovative engineering solutions, and work collaboratively with multiple partner groups will be fundamental. 

ETH Zurich
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.

We look forward to receiving your online application including a CV, full transcripts from undergraduate studies (both Bachelor and Masters), a brief (1-2 page) statement of research interests, at least 2 (preferably 3) letters of reference, and 2 selected papers. Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through the ETH online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered.

The review of applications will begin on June 1, 2020, with the position to start as early as September 1, 2020, or as soon as filled.

For questions regarding the position should be directed to Dr. Francesco Carrara by email at carrara@ifu.baug.ethz.ch (no applications).

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