The project seeks to understand (the evolution of) metabolic interactions between phototrophic and heterotrophic microorganisms and the "self-organization" of ecosystems. The tasks for the PhD project are primarily computational and include reconstruction and constraint-based analysis of genome-scale metabolic models of microbial organisms, in particular cyanobacteria.
The project is inspired by recent works that provide novel insights into phototroph-heterotroph interactions and division of labour in marine ecosystems. In collaboration with experimental partners, our aim is to develop quantitative computational models that explain the trade-offs and metabolic prerequisites of such interactions. In particular, our hypothesis is that the concept of "cellular resource allocation" offers a unique and novel angle to understand the constraints and energetic trade-offs that govern the emergence of dependencies between photo- and heterotrophic microorganisms. The planned work directly builds upon our recent works to describe microbial/cyanobacterial resource allocation and growth:
- Sharma S and Steuer R (2019) Modeling microbial communities using biochemical resource allocation analysis. J. R. Soc. Interface 16: 20190474.
- Zavřel T et al. (2019) Quantitative insights into the cyanobacterial cell economy. eLife 2019;8:e42508
- Reimers AM et al. (2017) Cellular trade-offs and optimal resource allocation during cyanobacterial diurnal growth. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. pii: 201617508.
In addition to the usual requirements (a passion for the topic, a university degree (typically M.Sc. in an appropriate field), very good programming skills in python or matlab, ...), the ideal candidate would have some experience with/strong interest in computational models of metabolism, constraint-based analysis of metabolism, biochemistry, comparative genomics and/or related concepts.
The formal call and further instructions are available on the webpage of the HU (in german only, Reference: DR/012/21, the german text takes precedence): https://www.personalabteilung.hu-berlin.de/de/stellenausschreibungen/wissenschaftliche-r-mitarbeiter-in-m-w-d-mit-65-v-h-d-regelm-arbeitszeit-e-13-tv-l-hu-drittmittelfinanzierung-befristet-bis-31-12-2023
The position will be embedded into the highly collaborative scientific environment here at the Institute for Theoretical Biology (ITB) in the center of Berlin, and offers further training opportunities, as well as the possibility to visit and work closely with our experimental partners.
Deadline for applications is March 2, 2021.