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PhD Student (m/f/div)

Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology
Bremen (DE)
E 13 TVöD Bund, 65%
Closing date
1 Jan 2024

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Computing, Life Science, Physics
Job Type
PhD Position
Employment - Hours
Full time
Fixed term


The Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology is a research institute of the Max Planck Society. It was founded in 1992 in the State of Bremen and employs around 200 staff members. In close collaboration with numerous university and non-university research institutions, we explore the diversity and function of microorganisms in the ocean and their interactions with their environment. Scientists from all over the world, engineers, technicians, and administrative staff together make an important contribution to global marine and environmental research.

In the Organosulfur Cycling Group we are searching for a

PhD Student (m/f/div)

The position is part of the DFG-funded research project OSSY.

Project in the field of organosulfur biochemistry, microbiology, and bioinformatics
The project led by Dr. Eileen Kröber aims to investigate the consumption and cycling of organosulfur compounds in marine chemosynthetic symbioses. A wide diversity of chemosynthetic symbioses (these are associations where the chemosynthetic bacteria provide their eukaryotic hosts with nutrition by assimilating inorganic and organic carbon) inhabit environments which are nutrient limited, such as seagrass meadows, coral reefs, or mangroves. However, at the same time these environments are hotspots for the production of organosulfur compounds such as dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) and dimethylsulfide (DMS). The importance of organosulfur compounds for the biology and ecology of the oceans has only recently become clear. It is now recognized that organosulfur compounds play a key role in biogeochemical cycles, ranging from critical sources of sulfur, carbon, and energy for marine microorganisms to affecting the Earth’s climate. Despite the realization of their importance, our understanding of how organosulfur compounds are produced, consumed, and cycled is still limited. Given that nutrition is often limited in the environments where chemosynthetic hosts thrive, the ability to use organosulfur compounds can provide a valuable source of energy and carbon to the symbiosis. We aim to determine whether organosulfur compounds, such as DMSP, DMS, DMSO, and MeSH, are important carbon and sulfur sources for marine chemosynthetic symbioses, and how widespread the cycling of these compounds is in diverse marine chemosynthetic symbioses. To achieve these objectives, the candidate will analyze metagenomes, metatranscriptomes, and metaproteomes of various marine chemosynthetic symbioses. The analysis will also focus on determining whether predicted metabolic pathways for organosulfur compounds are expressed and functional in these symbioses. The candidate will also perform functional enzyme characterization and functional genomics to complement the meta-omics analysis. Overall, the project aims to provide insights into the role of organosulfur compounds in marine chemosynthetic symbioses and how they contribute to the carbon and sulfur cycling.

What we expect from you:
A completed master’s degree in bioinformatics, microbiology, or related fields
Knowledge in the analysis of complex datasets via bioinformatics (especially metagenomics and metatranscriptomics)
Skills in functional enzyme characterization and functional genomics (cosmid library preparation) will be highly beneficial
Applicants should be fluent in English, have excellent scientific writing skills, and should enjoy working in an international and interdisciplinary team

What we offer:
The position is offered as a three-year full-time appointment. The salary is according to the German system for public employees (E 13 TVöD Bund, 65%).

The Max Planck Society strives for equality and diversity. We welcome applicants regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disabilities.

Are you interested?
Deadline is January 1st, 2024. Applications for this position will only be accepted via our online application portal:

For further information, please contact Dr. Eileen Kröber (

We are looking forward to your application!

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