PhD Project: Evolution of metabolic cross-feeding interactions

Dr. Christian Kost, Experimental Ecology and Evolution Research Group, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology

A 3-year PhD position is available in my lab at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany. This DFG-funded project will study the evolution of metabolic cross-feeding interactions within bacterial model communities. Using an approach of experimental coevolution between members of the same or different bacterial species, this project aims at (i) identifying the impact of genetic relatedness, and (ii) determining the role of phenotypic heterogeneity during the evolution of cooperative cross-feeding interactions. By combining individual-based modelling with detailed analyses of derived genotypes (whole-genome re-sequencing) and phenotypes (i.e. microscopic analyses on a single-cell level, chemical analyses), unprecedented mechanistic insights into the dynamics that shape the evolution of cooperative cross-feeding interactions can be gained.

The project is part of the DFG-funded Priority Programme “Phenotypic Heterogeneity and Sociobiology of Bacterial Populations” ( and will be conducted in close collaboration with other experimental and theoretical working groups.

The position requires a master’s degree in biology (or a related field). The successful candidate should be highly motivated, be able to work independently, and have a strong background in microbiology, evolutionary biology and/ or ecology. Previous research experiences in bioinformatics, theoretical biology, analytical chemistry, or molecular biology are advantageous.

My group offers an international, dynamic, and interactive scientific environment as well as state-of the art, newly equipped laboratories. Information on our scientific work including recent publications can be found here.

Please do not hesitate to contact me (; ++49 (0) 3641 57-1212) for informal enquiries.

Your application should consist of:
i) Letter of motivation (max. 2 pages: Why you think the project is relevant, why are you interested in it, and what makes you a suitable candidate?)
ii) Statement of research experience and interests (max. 1 page)
iii) CV (incl. grades of B.Sc and M.Sc)
iv) Publication list (if applicable)
v) Names and e-mail addresses of three academic referees

Please send your application electronically as a single PDF file to Dr. Christian Kost ( Screening of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.