Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (EAWAG)

PostDoc or PhD position on molecular methods for the detection of infectious disease agents in wastewater

Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (EAWAG)

Duebendorf, Zurich, Switzerland

Eawag, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, is an internationally networked aquatic research institute within the ETH Domain (Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology). Eawag conducts research, education and expert consulting to achieve the dual goals of meeting direct human needs for water and maintaining the function and integrity of aquatic ecosystems.

The Department of Environmental Microbiology (Umik) invites applications for a PostDoc or PhD position on molecular methods for the detection of infectious disease agents in wastewater.

Throughout the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in Switzerland, we have been actively monitoring wastewater for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA. Our work has led to time series data on SARS-CoV-2 RNA concentrations in wastewater from six wastewater treatment plants across Switzerland, translation of the data into wastewater-derived effective reproduction numbers and time series data on SARS-CoV-2 Variants of Concern from wastewater. We are also actively working on faster, sequence-independent approaches for detection of Variants of Concern in wastewater.

Within this context, we are developing and applying methods for detection, quantification and sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 and related infectious disease agents in wastewater. The advertised position is focused on advancing these methods, including further development of viral and bacterial target gene enrichment, multiplexed digital and quantitative PCR assays and sequencing approaches. New methods will be rapidly applied to ongoing surveillance efforts, with an ultimate goal of transferring new methods and knowledge to relevant stakeholders. This work will be conducted in the context of a large, interdisciplinary project including environmental microbiologists, environmental engineers, epidemiologists and bioinformaticians. The goal of the project is to advance environmental surveillance of wastewater to derive public health information in Switzerland and internationally.

If you are excited about this topic, and have a background (MSc or PhD) in microbiology, molecular biology, environmental sciences, environmental engineering, public health, or related field, you are invited to apply. Prior experience in molecular methods, including RNA/DNA extraction and qPCR/dPCR is necessary. Experience in virology, sequencing (PacBio, Illuminaand/or Nanopore) with associated bioinformatics is beneficial.

We expect the candidate will interact with multiple academic, government and non-government institutional collaborators, including leading international researchers in the field. The position requires close collaboration with Prof. Dr Tamar Kohn (EPFL) and Dr Christoph Ort (Eawag); candidates hired within the scope of a PhD must meet the requirements for enrolment at EPFL and will consequently have joint affiliation. PhD funding is for up to four years; PostDoc funding is for up to three years. The candidate must be willing to work in a team environment. We offer a very dynamic and collaborative research environment which profits from state-of-the-art infrastructure and support. Project intended start date is flexible dependent on availability of the candidate.

Application evaluation is on a rolling basis and will continue until the position is filled. Please include a letter of motivation (one page maximum) explaining why you think you fit this position well, a CV and the names and contact information of two references.

Eawag is a modern employer and offers an excellent working environment where staff can contribute their strengths, experience and ways of thinking. We promote gender equality and are committed to staff diversity and inclusion. The compatibility of career and family is of central importance to us. For more information about Eawag and our work conditions please consult and

For further information, please contact Dr Tim Julian.

We look forward to receiving your application. Please send it through this webpage, any other way of applying will not be considered. A click on the link below will take you directly to the application form.

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