ENAC – PhD student to investigate the inactivation of viruses by bacterial enzymes

Updated: 25 minutes ago

The Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry (LCE) in the Environmental Engineering Institute, EPFL, is seeking a

PhD student

to investigate the inactivation of viruses by bacterial enzymes.

Our group is interested in the fate of human viruses in the environment. Viruses enter natural water bodies via the discharge of wastewater, from where they can be transmitted to new hosts and cause a range of diseases from diarrhea to hepatitis and meningitis. The probability that a virus will encounter and infect a new host depends in part on its ability to persist in the environment. Yet, our understanding of the environmental fate of human viruses is far from complete. A significant blind spot is the role of microorganisms in reducing virus persistence. It is known that viruses are more rapidly inactivated in biologically active samples, though the underlying mechanisms are not understood.

The objective of this project is to characterize the role of enzymes produced by freshwater bacteria in virus inactivation. We will use chemostat experiments to cultivate microbial populations of different diversities, characterize the enzyme pool the produce, and investigate its ability to degrade viral capsids and cause inactivation. For this work, we will combine metatranscriptomics and protein mass spectrometry.

We are looking for candidates with a Master’s degree in environmental sciences, microbiology, biochemistry, chemistry or a related field. Prior experience in microbiology and/or mass spectrometry is beneficial. The successful applicant will closely collaborate with a second PhD student, as well as with scientists from the University of Vienna. A good command of both spoken and written English is essential.

We offer a fully funded 4-year position in stimulating international research environment, good research infrastructures and resources, a competitive salary, and the opportunity to live and work along the shores of beautiful Lake Geneva.

The position will start as soon as possible. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. PhD applicants must be accepted by the EPFL Doctoral School in order to pursue a PhD. For more information, please see http://phd.epfl.ch/edce

For further information about this lab and project, consult lce.epfl.ch or contact Prof. Tamar Kohn. For additional information about obtaining a PhD at EPFL, please consult http://phd.epfl.ch/prospective .
To apply, please send the following documents as a single pdf file to karine.maritz@epfl.ch :
• a letter of motivation
• your CV
• the name and contact information of at least two references
• 1-2 page summary of your Master thesis
• A transcript of the grades of your Master degree

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