Doctoral Researcher (f/m/d) - Pathogen Evolution

Kennziffer: 173/2023


Pathogen Evolution

The Department of Pathogen Evolution at the Helmholtz Institute for One Health (HIOH) in Greifswald, Germany is offering a position as Doctoral Researcher (f/m/d).


Project description:

The offered PhD position is part of a large collaborative project involving the Helmholtz Institute for One Health (HIOH) and the University of Greifswald (UG), entitled Innovative approaches for monitoring and integrating environmental and biodiversity data.

Broadly, this project aims to tackle the challenge of monitoring micro- and mesoscale heterogeneity in environmental factors and biodiversity to contribute to the implementation of a One Health framework and ultimately hopefully contributing to the improvement of human, animal, and environmental health. Evidence suggests hosts and their pathogens may persist or disappear in an area depending on a complex interplay of microclimate and local biodiversity, which can vary drastically on a scale of meters to millimeters. The project will explore a variety of techniques to develop a monitoring toolkit that can be deployed in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and tropical Sub-Saharan Africa, with the ultimate aim of contributing to the HIOH’s One Health Surveilence Core Unit (OHS).

While we plan to give the PhD candidate considerable freedom in developing the specific PhD topic, we envision a project that incorporates molecular biology and the use of environmental DNA/RNA (eDNA/eRNA) to describe vertebrate and microbial communities, as well as the deployment of a large network of automated temperature loggers that will be combined with drone and satellite data. Data generated with these approaches could be combined to ask questions about how biodiversity varies along environmental gradients and work has the potential to include a specific disease angle. We hope to harness recent advances in molecular biology and environmental monitoring to provide insights into variation in environments and communities of hosts and their microorganisms at a high resolution, to contribute to understanding factors governing community assemblages and disease risk across heterogeneous landscapes.

Field work in MV could involve drained and rewetted mire habitats, including areas being developed for solar power, forests, and surrounding farmland. Field work in the Côte d’Ivoire could involve an environmental gradient from the interior of Taï National Park to surrounding villages, as well as areas being targeted for reforestation. Field work will be coordinated with the HIOH’s OHS and the UG. Key partners who will help shape the PhD project at the HIOH are Drs. Sébastien Calvignac-Spencer, Jan Gogarten, Lorenzo Lagostina, and Fee Zimmermann. At the UG key partners who will help shape the PhD project are Drs. Mia Bengtsson, Mathilde Borg Dahl, Philipp Lehmann, Tim Urich, and Haitao Wang. A post doc will be hired as part of the broader project, providing further opportunities for collaboration and supervision, while logger network infrastructure, including 600 ground loggers and 2,400 tree loggers are available for deployment for the project.



  • Master’s Degree/Diploma in Molecular Biology or Ecology or a related field of the life sciences
  • Molecular laboratory experience
  • Excellent English communication skills (written and spoken)
  • Ability to work independently and as part of an international team
  • Ability to work with GIS or other geographic information system is an asset, but not required
  • Experience working with temperature loggers or eDNA/eRNA is an asset, but not required
  • An ability to communicate in French, or the willingness to learn would be an asset, but is not mandatory
  • Experience working with large biological datasets would also be an asset

Disabled persons are given preference in the case of equal professional qualification. The HZI aims for professional equality between women and men. The position is suitable for part-time work.

We offer:

  • Modern laboratories with state-of-the-art analytical instrumentation
  • Ample biological profiling platforms (in vitro and in vivo)
  • A lively scientific community
  • 30 days vacation, (24.12. & 31.12. are considered as completely free days)
  • An annual additional payment (Weihnachtsgeld) analogue to § 20 TVöD
  • Social security included
  • DO IT- PhD initiative
  • Welcome Office
  • Buddy System for new doctoral researchers
  • Family Office, Child Holiday Care


Helmholtz-Institut für One Health Greifswald


Bei gleicher fachlicher Eignung erhalten Schwerbehinderte den Vorzug.


Die Stelle ist teilzeitgeeignet.




01.12.2023 oder später


3 Jahre


6 Monate


nach TVöD E13 (65%)



Bewerbungsschluss ist der  08.10.2023

Application: Applicants are required to complete the online application form here: select Job No. 173/2023).

For more details regarding the position, the eDNA and possible field work in the Côte d’Ivoire, please contact Dr. Jan Gogarten ( and Dr. Lorenzo Lagostina (

Further information about the institute and the department of Prof. Dr. Sébastien Calvignac-Spencer can be found on our website:

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