Postdoctoral Position (m/f/d) | Cross-kingdom metabolic interactions in the root microbiome

Updated: about 2 months ago

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Job Offer from April 15, 2021

The Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research (MPIPZ) in Cologne, Germany, invites applications for a postdoctoral position in the field of microbial ecology, plant-microbe interactions, functional genomics, and metabolomics. The position is available in the Multitrophic Plant-Microbe Interactions group headed by Dr. Stéphane Hacquard for an initial period of two years, with the possibility of extension.


In the Multitrophic Plant-Microbe Interactions group, we aim at understanding the fundamental mechanisms that underlie the structure and functions of multi-kingdom microbial consortia colonizing plant roots. By combining microbial community profiling data from natural Arabidopsis thaliana populations, with the use of reference microbial culture collections and gnotobiotic plant systems, we dissect how both host-microbe and microbe-microbe interactions impact microbial community structure and plant health.


The initial project will aim at testing the hypothesis that metabolic interactions between bacteria and fungi drive assembly and modulate functions of the A. thaliana root microbiota. By using a simplified, yet representative synthetic community comprising geographically widespread bacterial and fungal root commensals, we aim at identifying mechanisms by which specific exo-metabolites drive assembly and activity of the root microbiome. The project aims to provide novel insights into how metabolic interactions between root microbiota members can explain co-existence and maintenance of multi-kingdom microbial commensals in plants roots.


In addition to a PhD in biochemistry or molecular plant-microbe interactions, the applicant should have knowledge in the use of Linux/Unix and R. The position requires a combination of wet lab expertise (microbiology, molecular biology, metabolomics) and bioinformatics (microbial genomics and metatranscriptomics). Previous experience on metabolomics is highly appreciated, but not mandatory. The candidate should be able to design her/his own experiments and analyse complex biological datasets. Proven ability to work in a team at the interface between biology and bioinformatics is essential. Very good organizational and communication skills are desired. Good command of the English language, the working language of our group, is required.

Payment / Position

The position is available immediately. Selected candidates will be invited for online interviews. Salary and working hours are in accordance with the funding guidelines of the Max Planck Society for junior scientists. Working hours are fulltime; payment and benefits are according to the German TVöD-Bund. The Max Planck Society is committed to increasing the number of individuals with disabilities in its workforce and therefore encourages applications from such qualified individuals. Furthermore, the Max Planck Society seeks to increase the number of women in areas where they are underrepresented and therefore explicitly encourages women to apply.

Your application

If we have sparked your interest and you would like to apply, please upload your complete application documents as a single pdf file to our online application platform by May 31, 2021. You application should include: 

  • a letter of motivation,
  • a research idea section (1 page max, “link between previous work and advertised project” ),
  • a curriculum vitae with list of publications, and
  • the names and addresses of at least two referees.
  • If you have any questions about the position before applying, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Stéphane Hacquard at: .

    Multitrophic Plant-Microbe Interaction Group
    Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research
    Carl von Linné Weg 10
    50829 Cologne

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