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Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology: Graduate Fellowship on Animal-microbe Symbiosis

(posted 2020-12-30)

The Max Planck Research Group on Mutualisms offers a graduate position in microbial symbiosis, evolutionary biology and developmental biology.


Housed in the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, the research group studies the molecular basis behind the establishment of host-microbe symbioses. Contextualized through our work on leaf beetles and their pectinolytic mutualists, and by leveraging a broad range of methodologies, our aim is to study these partnerships across multiple biological scales.

Available projects:

Symbiont role in shaping leaf beetle physiology and ecological range

Outlook and responsibilities:

Candidates will be trained to combine computational and experimental approaches in order to characterize the molecular underpinnings behind the establishment of specialized symbioses in herbivorous beetles. Specifically, we are interested in how symbionts are integrated into their hosts’ developmental cycle, and the regulatory and physiological implications of long-term coevolution between host and microbe. The ideal candidates are expected to apply their expertise and interests in molecular biology, ecology, genomics, proteomics and/or microscopy to formulate hypothesis-driven research and participate in collaborations with other members of the group.

The laboratory is part of a collaborative environment equipped with state-of-the art infrastructure and a highly collegial community. With access to excellent core facilities within the Institute for Developmental Biology (including platforms for microscopy, proteomics, and metabolomics, and sequencing and high-performance computing facilities), the applicant will be in a position to develop and pursue independent multidisciplinary questions, consistent with the dynamic research environment in Tübingen and its International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS).

Applicants should have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in biology, entomology, evolutionary biology, bioinformatics, developmental biology, microbiology, chemistry or a related field. Prior research experience in sequence data analysis, physiology, bioinformatics, fieldwork, and/or molecular techniques are desirable. We offer a stimulating environment, a tractable study system, and the opportunity to combine a number of approaches to better understand the intricacies of host-microbe symbioses.

Application information:

Expected start date in position: Summer/Fall 2021. Funding is available throughout the length of your training. A completed application includes emailing the following to Dr. Hassan Salem (

1) A statement of research interests (1-2 pages), describing how your past experiences will inform your future research in the group.
2) Curriculum vitae (1-2 pages).
3) Contact information for two references familiar with your background and training.

Please include all the materials in a single .pdf file. Applications are due on January 30th, 2021.

Additional information: