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Postdoctoral fellow - Imaging Microbial Communities

European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) - Zeller Team

About the team/job

The European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) is one of the highest-ranking scientific research organisations in the world. The Laboratory’s Headquarters is located in Heidelberg (Germany), with additional sites in Grenoble (France), Hamburg (Germany), Barcelona (Spain), Hinxton (UK) and Rome (Italy). The Structural and Computational Biology (SCB) Unit at EMBL Heidelberg pursues an ambitious research programme in integrated structural and computational systems biology, bridging between various temporal and spatial scales, from molecules to ecosystem.

In the Zeller Team we combine computational and experimental research to study the human gut microbiome. To this end, we develop computational tools and more recently also imaging techniques and cellular assays. In collaboration with other microbiome research groups at EMBL, we apply these techniques to gain new insights into community function and microbe-host interactions underlying the onset and progression of diseases and modulating therapy outcomes.

In a project that is part of EMBL's Human Ecosystems Transversal Theme, we aim to characterize microbe-host crosstalk at spatial and cellular resolution using multiple omics and imaging approaches. Towards this goal, we collaborate with the Korbel and Saka groups, the Advanced Light Microscopy Facility at EMBL as well as the Surgery and Pathology Departments of the Heidelberg University Hospital. This interdisciplinary setting provides unique opportunities for data integration across domains and modalities (including human single cell and spatial omics data). 

Your role

We are seeking a postdoctoral researcher to establish imaging techniques for microbial communities in vitro and in situ within host tissues. Multiplex fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) will reveal unprecedented views on the spatial organization of microbial communities, interactions between these microbes with various host cell types within tissues, and how this cross-talk impacts host physiology in the context of diseases such as cancer. The ideal candidate shares our fascination about the complex microbe-host interactions underlying many (patho-)physiological processes within the human holobiont. She/He will drive the development of novel fluorescence imaging strategies tailored to the study of microbial communities. Towards this goal she/he will make use of the existing resources in microbial cultivation to validate the approaches in vitro. Moreover, she/he has a keen interest to explore the potential of these approaches in addressing both basic research questions as well as biomedical applications jointly with collaborating research groups. 

You have

  • A PhD in molecular/cell biology, biochemistry, biophysics, microbiology or related field
  • Substantial experience with microscopy, preferably fluorescence imaging (FISH), and ideally also in biochemical/cellular assay development
  • The ambition to establish novel technologies for studying microbial communities showing persistence and dedication in overcoming challenges
  • An interest (perhaps also prior experience) in quantitative analysis of bioimaging data, e.g. to reveal spatial correlations between cell types
  • Good communication and interpersonal skills
  • Fun working in an interdisciplinary, open-minded team. 

You might also have

  • Experience in microbiology, infection biology, microbiome or cancer research
  • Broader experience with various microscopy / imaging techniques
  • Experience in working with mammalian cell culture, organoids and/or tissues
  • Working knowledge of programming/scripting, biological data analysis, and/or lab automation/robotics 

Why join us

EMBL is an inclusive, equal opportunity employer offering attractive conditions and benefits appropriate to an international research organisation with a very collegial and family friendly working environment. The remuneration package comprises a competitive salary, a comprehensive pension scheme, medical, educational and other social benefits, and the availability of an excellent child care facility on campus. 

What else you need to know

We are Europe’s flagship research laboratory for the life sciences – an intergovernmental organisation performing scientific research in disciplines including molecular biology, physics, chemistry and computer science. We are an international, innovative and interdisciplinary laboratory with approximately 2000 employees from many nations, operating across six sites, in Heidelberg (HQ), Barcelona, Hinxton near Cambridge, Hamburg, Grenoble and Rome. Our mission is to offer vital services in training scientists, students and visitors at all levels; to develop new instruments and methods in the life sciences and actively engage in technology transfer activities, and to integrate European life science research. Please note that appointments on fixed term contracts can be renewed, depending on circumstances at the time of the review.

Location: Heidelberg - Germany
Salary: Not Specified
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 23rd November 2021
Closes: 2nd January 2022
Job Ref: HD02066
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