Date Posted
13 Oct 2024

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PhD Project
University of Tübingen

c-di-GMP signaling in Pseudomonas aeruginosa

13 Oct 2024

NOTE: this position listing has expired and may no longer be relevant!

Position Description

The project is focused on how bacteria sense and transduce environmental signals in order to adapt to and survive in certain niches. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a highly versatile bacterium and a major cause of the poor clinical outcome of cystic fibrosis patients. The goal of the project is to increase our understanding on how the bacteria adapt to the lung of cystic fibrosis patients, which is an oxygen limited environment. In previous work we identified three regulators of P. aeruginosa that are involved in stimulating the production of the exopolysaccharide alginate under anaerobic conditions (Schmidt et al. Environmental Microbiology; PMID: 26743546). When overproduced, alginate provides protection against antibiotics and phagocytosis. One of the regulators is a diguanylate cyclase that synthesizes the second messenger c-di-GMP specifically when oxygen is limited. This study aims to elucidate the mechanisms underlying the impact of varying oxygen tensions on the regulatory module by employing a variety of techniques including molecular biology, protein biochemistry, mass spectrometry and fluorescence microscopy.

The 3 year project is part of and funded by the national collaborative research center SPP1879 “Nucleotide second messenger signaling in bacteria” that was established this year by the DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft – German Research Foundation). The salary will be paid under TV-L.

The Interfaculty Institute of Microbiology and Infection Medicine (IMIT) at the University of Tübingen provides an attractive research and training environment for the PhD students: The collaborative research center SFB 766 “The bacteria cell envelope: Structure, Function and Infection Interface” as well as the Interfaculty Graduate School of Infection Biology and Microbiology (IGIM) are established at the University, which is also a partner institution of the German Center for Infectious Research (DZIF). The candidate will have the opportunity to receive extensive training in scientific, technical and soft skills. The PhD student will also be encouraged to present their work at national and international conferences.

We are seeking a candidate with a strong interest in protein-protein interactions that is highly motivated by the prospect of discovery. The candidate should hold or expect to receive a Master degree in Biology or Life Science preferably with a focus on microbiology, biochemistry, or closely related fields. Demonstrated experience in molecular biology and protein biochemistry is a must. Successful candidates are able to work independently and as a team member.

How to Apply

Applicants should send a letter of motivation, summary of master thesis, detailed CV, contact information of one or two references and copies of university certificates online or by email to Dr. Sandra Schwarz ( The position is now open and applications will be accepted until the position has been filled. The University of Tübingen promotes gender equality and encourages particularly women to apply. Preference will be given to physically handicapped persons if they are equally qualified.

Position Category: Medical & Biological Sciences. Position Type: PhD Project. Position Tags: infection, adaptation, protein interactions, and signaling. Salary: €20'000 - €30'000.