Postdoc Position: Infant intestinal microbiota

We are seeking a postdoctoral researcher to join a team of researchers studying the influence of child gut microbiota on development of metabolic-related disorders.

The symbiotic microorganisms colonize all mucosal body surfaces of newborns and play a key role in shaping the development and maturation of immune system. In the intestine, the first vigorous immune response to colonizing bacteria after birth occurs at weaning. This response termed "weaning reaction" is critical for generating an immune memory that prevents the susceptibility to multiple inflammatory pathologies in adult mice (Al Nabhani et al., Immunity 2019, Nature Metabolism 2019). In the framework of ERC starting project, we are seeking to gain knowledge regarding the microbiological mechanisms that affect the induction of the weaning reaction. The project will involve cultivation of bacteria and fungi under controlled laboratory conditions, incubating with stable isotope tracers, and conducting biogeochemical and molecular biology (metagenomics, transcriptomics, metabolomics) analyses. In this role you will: analyze interactions between host and microbial symbionts (fungal and bacterial); contribute to the conception, design, and execution of research to address questions in host-microbial interactions; collaborate with other scientists and technical personnel; perform independent research and lead new projects in the area of gut microbiome research and mouse experimentation.

The post-holder will be supported by a well-funded interdisciplinary research program in a young and dynamic environment at the Department for BioMedical Research (DBMR), University of Bern, and at the Department of Visceral Surgery and Medicine, Inselspital Bern, Switzerland. We work closely with groups of Prof. Andrew Macpherson and Prof. Stephanie Ganal-Vonarburg, and we are involved in joint lab meetings and journal clubs. We are now developing an international and national collaborative network in which the postdoc will be involved.

We are requesting candidates to please explain work related experience around the topics below within submitted Cover Letter:
• Experience in designing, running, and analyzing data from microbial ecology studies
• Experience with bioinformatics and statistical analyses of metabolic pathways, functional gene patterns and microbial community assembly
Required Minimum Qualifications
The candidate should have a strong interest in gut microbiota and mucosal immunology and a PhD degree by the time that they start the job.

Preferred Qualifications
• Experience with cultivation techniques for fungal, or bacterial interactions studies
• Publication record in the peer-reviewed literature reflecting intellectual leadership and scientific creativity
• Demonstrated ability as an independent and innovative experimentalist
• Experience analyzing 'omics datasets (metagenome, metatranscriptome, or metabolomics)
Our offers
We provide excellent scientific opportunities in a highly motivating environment with a multidisciplinary approach to microbial ecology and mucosal immunology discussions as well as seminars with wide-range topics. The project offers a special opportunity to be trained on experimental immunology using germ-free and gnotobiotic mouse models. We offer close supervision with ample support and interesting discussions. We support also participation in international and national research conferences. We assist postdoc for an independent global scientific career through and after the project.

Starting date: September 2022 or on agreement
Duration: 2-4 years
Application Contact
Please send your application before July 30th, 2022, including a short letter of interest, curriculum vitae with description of your professional experience, a list of publications, a list of 2 contact referees or their references letter as a single pdf-file by email to: Prof. Ziad Al Nabhani:

Applications will be considered on an on-going basis. A first contact is usually established through an informal Skype/Zoom interview (~15 minutes).