PhD position - Intraspecific chemodiversity in Populus nigra

The project group Chemical Ecology of Poplar, Dr. Sybille B. Unsicker, in the Department of Biochemistry at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology offers a

3-year PhD position to study intraspecific chemodiversity in Populus nigra and consequences for insect herbivores


Throughout their lifetime, trees are attacked by a plethora of insects and pathogens and these attacks are heterogeneous in space and time within crowns of individual trees and within tree populations. The aim of this project is to investigate the chemodiversity in black poplar (Populus nigra) trees and furthermore to study the consequences of black poplar chemodiversity for insect herbivore and pathogen abundance and performance. In this project, classical ecological, chemical-analytical, and biochemical methods will be combined.

We are offering

a 3-year PhD position (funded by the German Research Foundation DFG) within the newly established research unit FOR 3000 „Ecology and Evolution of Intraspecific Plant Chemodiversity“. The position will ideally start on April 1st 2020. Payment will be based on the tariff contracts for the public service (65% E13). We provide an excellent research environment with enthusiastic scientists from different nationalities in the Department of Biochemistry (Prof. Gershenzon) at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany ( The PhD student will be associated with the International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS

Candidate requirements:

We look for a highly motivated candidate with a Master´s degree or equivalent in Biology, Environmental Sciences, Biochemistry or related disciplines, with a strong interest in Chemical Ecology. Experience and enthusiasm for field work and experimental design, practical experience in chemical analyses (GC-MS, LC-MS) and molecular biology, as well as statistical analysis (preferably R) and handling of large datasets will be a plus. We expect the candidates to be able to work both independently and in a team. Fluent verbal and written English communication skills are required and knowledge of German is an advantage. The candidate should have a German driver’s license (or equivalent).

How to apply:

The Max-Planck Society is an equal opportunity employer and strives to employ both genders equally, as well as to employ more individuals with disabilities. Therefore, we encourage all applicants, independent of their nationality, gender or disability, to apply for this position. Please send your application as a single pdf in English including a letter of motivation, summarizing your experience and future vision, CV of no more than 4 pages, list of publications and relevant certificates (degree certificates, etc.) and the names of two referees (including email address) to Dr. Sybille Unsicker

The application deadline is March 15, 2020. The position is available from April 1st 2020