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PhD student—Systems ecology of pathogenic biofilms

The Biozentrum of the University of Basel is one of the leading life sciences institutes in the world. It consists of 30 groups and 500 employees that research how molecules and cells create life, spanning the scale from atom to organism. Founded in 1971, the Biozentrum has been the birth place of many fundamental discoveries in biology and medicine, spawning several Nobel Laureates.

We are looking to recruit a PhD student to join the group of Simon van Vliet starting from January 2022. Our group uses interdisciplinary approaches to study how interactions between bacterial cells affect the dynamics of multispecies biofilms. In this project we will focus on biofilms that cause chronic lung infections. Cells in these biofilms interact with each other by exchanging dozens of different molecules. Together, these interactions can significantly alter the growth and antibiotic tolerance of the biofilms, leading to worse disease outcomes or treatment failures. We will use state of the art experimental and computational techniques to develop a quantitative understanding of how cell-cell interactions affect the dynamics of these biofilms. Our eventual aim is to identify new strategies to suppress biofilm growth or reduce their tolerance to antibiotic treatment.

Your responsibilities
You will be responsible for developing the experimental parts of the project; this includes growing biofilms in microfluidic devices and characterizing them using time-lapse confocal microscopy and RNA sequencing. Moreover, you will perform the data analysis and interpretation. Depending on your interests and skills you could also contribute substantially to developing the mathematical models used in this project.

Your profile
We are looking for a curious and motivated applicant with a background in the life sciences, nanoscience, or interdisciplinary studies. Applicants with a background in physics or other quantitative science who have an affinity for lab work are encouraged to apply too. A Master’s degree or comparable qualification is required. We believe that the best science is done in diverse, inclusive, and interactive environments and we encourage applications from underrepresented groups.

We offer
We offer a highly interdisciplinary and stimulating environment with many opportunities for personal and professional development. Salary and benefits are attractive. Basel is an international city with people from 150 nations. Located on the border where three countries meet—Switzerland, Germany, France—it is Europe’s most important life sciences hub. Basel provides a high standard of living and a rich and varied cultural atmosphere.

Application / contact
Please send your application by email to simon.vanvlietunibasch and include a cover letter explaining why you want to join the group, your CV, and the contact information of three references. Please apply by October 31st, 2021.

For further information see or contact us at simon.vanvlietunibasch.