Postdoctoral Fellow in Microbial Symbioses


At the Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences at Stockholm University, research and education are conducted in an international environment. The subject areas are Ecology and Evolution, Ecotoxicology, Marine Biology, Plant Physiology and Plant Systematics. Some of the research has direct environmental and societal relevance and the approach is often broad and interdisciplinary. About 140 people are working at the Department, of which ca. 35 are teachers and researchers and 50 are PhD students.

Project description
The position will be associated with the project on marine planktonic symbioses. Several lineages of marine heterocystous cyanobacteria form symbioses with marine eukaryotic plankton, e.g. diatoms. The symbioses differ in where the symbiont is located in the host cell: in the cytoplasm, between the cell membrane and the frustule, or outside the frustule. So far, we know that nitrogen (N) is provided to the diatoms from the symbiotic cyanobacteria, but how other elements, such as trace metals, are shared or competed for is unknown.

Iron (Fe), is one element that is important to both partners. The genomes of the diatoms are not sequenced, but environmental transcriptomes are available. The number and types of genes important for Fe acquisition in the cyanobacterial symbionts vary depending on symbiont cell location. The function of these genes is known in parallel model systems. The project aims to develop methods for identifying Fe acquisition in the both partners using a variety of methods, such as RNA-seq, Raman spectroscopy, and gene reconstruction approaches coupled to single cell methods. Field expeditions (15-30 days) for sample collections are also a possibility.

Main responsibilities
The position involves research in developing genetic reconstruction assays for insertion of putative genes into mutants to identify functionality in the marine cyanobacterial symbionts. Cultivation and maintenance of wild type and mutant strains, implementation of stable isotope experiments and preparing and overseeing samples for SIMS analyses are tasks involved in the position.

Other experiments will involve field-based collections and/or enrichment samples for RNA-seq analyses. 

Qualification requirements
Postdoctoral positions are appointed primarily for purposes of research. Applicants are expected to hold a Swedish doctoral degree or an equivalent degree from another country.

Assessment criteriaThe degree should have been completed no more than three years before the deadline for applications. An older degree may be acceptable under special circumstances, which may involve sick leave, parental leave, clinical attachment, elected positions in trade unions, or similar.

In the appointment process, special attention will be given to research skills (e.g. assay development, cultivation, work with cyanobacteria and/or bacteria, experience handling large datasets), and publication history.

Since this project includes a symbiotic association of a diatom and a cyanobacterium, the selected candidate should possess expertise and knowledge in plankton physiology, trace metal chemistry, and environmental sampling. In particular, expertise on genetic reconstruction assays and troubleshooting, characterization of transporter activity and cultivation and maintenance of cyanobacteria and/or diatom cultures.

Previous experience in field expeditions (e.g. ocean-going cruises) are also good qualifications but not necessary.

Terms of employment
The position involves full-time employment for a maximum of two years, with the possibility of extension under special circumstances. Start date is preferably 1 Sept 2020 or as per agreement and respect for the current pandemic.

Stockholm University strives to be a workplace free from discrimination and with equal opportunities for all.

Further information about the position can be obtained from Dr. Rachel A. Foster +46 8 16 12 07,

Union representativesIngrid Lander (Saco-S), telephone: +46 708 16 26 64,, Alejandra Pizarro Carrasco (Fackförbundet ST/Lärarförbundet), telephone: +46 8 16 34 89,, and (SEKO).

ApplicationApply for the position at Stockholm University’s recruitment system. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the application is complete in accordance with the instructions in the job advertisement, and that it is submitted before the deadline.

Please include the following information with your application

  • Your contact details and personal data
  • Your highest degree
  • Your language skills
  • Contact details for 3 references

and, in addition, please include the following documents, preferably written in English.

  • Cover letter
  • CV – degrees and other completed courses, work experience and a list of publications
  • Research proposal (no more than 2 pages) describing:
    – why you are interested in the field/project described in this advertisement
    – why and how you wish to complete the project
    – what makes you suitable for the project in question
    – your future goals (1-2 sentences)
  • Copy of PhD diploma
  • Publications in support of your application (no more than 3 files).

The instructions for applicants are available at: Instructions – Applicants.

You are welcome to apply!

Stockholm University contributes to the development of sustainable democratic society through knowledge, enlightenment and the pursuit of truth.

Closing date: 31/07/2020


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