Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

Microbial predator-prey interactions affected by wheat rhizosphere microbiome exudates

 

Applications are invited for a PhD fellowship/scholarship at Graduate School of Technical Sciences, Aarhus University, Denmark, within the Environmental Science programme. The position is available from 1 February 2021 or later.

Title:
Microbial predator-prey interactions affected by wheat rhizosphere microbiome exudates

 

Research area and project description:
The PhD student will be part of a large international and vibrant collaboration between Aarhus University, Denmark’s Technical University, University of Copenhagen, North Carolina State University and several others. The collaboration project is part of the INTERACT (Decoding the Rhizobiota Interactome for Improved Crop Resilience) project financed with 60 MDKK by the Novo Nordisk Foundation. INTERACT (https://ccrp.vcl.ncsu.edu/content/interact) is one of three projects joined in CCRP (Crop Collaborative Resiliency Program). The overall aim of INTERACT is to decode microbial interactions in the complex soil matrix, in relation to soil biogeochemical status, water stress as well as pathogen attack, and to establish the impact of these interactions on plant performance. Thus, INTERACT will provide a science-based platform for new agricultural practices and biotechnological solutions enabling plant producers to manage their production ecosystems in a resource-efficient way with limited environmental footprint based on an in-depth understanding of key ecological functions in the rhizosphere. Research on communication in and between protists, bacteria and fungi in rhizosphere and soil environments is the main focus. Much is unknown about the significance of soil microbes, especially through chemical communication and signalling, on rhizobiome development and function. INTERACT will provide critical novel insight into the rhizosphere ecology, as a basis for actively influencing the assembly of effective rhizosphere communities to support plant health and productivity, either through biotechnological or agronomic approaches.

The role of this specific PhD project is to increase our mechanistic understanding of signalling events driving microbiome assembly by focusing on the predator–prey interactions in the rhizosphere. The response of single or multiple strains of protist to individual microbial strains (archaea, bacteria or fungi) as well as microbial consortia will be tested for predation, growth, activity of prey, and exometabolite production in simple rhizosphere systems. By metagenomics and transcriptomics, significance and activity of specific genes for protist activity, predation and exometabolite production will be identified and followed. The PhD position involves contributing to new knowledge on the impact of protist predators on rhizobiomes and the communication by exudates among predators and prey. The project will allow the dissection of the molecular mechanisms among the rhizosphere community members, their diversity, assembly and succession, and the impact of grazing.

 

Qualifications and specific competences:
Suitable applicants to the PhD position must have a Master’s degree in Microbiology, Molecular biology, or Environmental or Agricultural Microbiology, with a desire to work in an international environment and participate in cross disciplinary collaboration with national and foreign partners. An exchange research stay of 3 - 6 months in another research environment is a requirement.

 

Place of employment and place of work:
The place of employment is Aarhus University, and the place of work is Department of Environmental Science, Environmental Microbiology and Circular Resource Flow Section, Frederiksborgvej 399, 4000-Roskilde, Denmark.

 

Contacts:
Applicants seeking further information are invited to contact:

PhD supervisor Professor Anne Winding (aw@envs.au.dk; +45 30254675),
Professor Peter Stougaard (pst@envs.au.dk)
Scientist Rumakanta Sapkota (rs@envs.au.dk).

INTERACT project manager at Dep. Environmental Science at AU is Department Head, Professor Carsten Suhr Jacobsen.

 

Application procedures

Before you apply

Information and attachments:

Please be aware that you must have all relevant appendices, attachments, addresses for referees, etc. ready when you apply, as the entire application must be uploaded to the system in one go.

Documentation of language skills:

The English language requirement at the graduate school is comparable to an “English B level” in the Danish upper secondary school (“gymnasium”).

English language qualifications comparable to an “English B level” are documented by one of the following tests:

  • TOEFL test (internet-based), minimum score: 83. The graduate school does not accept the paper-based test, nor the TOEFL ITP test. Remember to ask the test center to send your test results to Aarhus University in order to enable verification of your test results. Aarhus University’s TOEFL code is 8935.
    Currently, the TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition test (available in selected areas) will also be accepted.
  • IELTS (academic) test, minimum average score: 6.5 points/
  • Cambridge English Language Assessment:
    Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency (CPE)
    Cambridge English: Certificate of Advanced English with grade A,B or C (CAE)
    Cambridge English: First Certificate with grade A (FCE)

When to take the test and how to upload the documentation:
The test result must not be more than two years old at the time of application.

The English language test should be taken before applying for admission and uploaded under “language skills documentation” in the online application form.

It is possible to apply for admission before you have taken the test. In this case documentation stating that you have signed up for a test (please state expected submission date) must be uploaded. If the test result is not part of the original application the test result is to be sent to gsts@psys.au.dk no later than one month after the application deadline.

The following applicants are exempted from documenting their English qualifications/taking a test:

  • Applicants with citizenship from the following countries: Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States, or one of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway or Sweden).
  • Applicants with a Bachelor’s or Master’s programme completed in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, or the United States. In this case, please upload your Bachelor’s or Master’s diploma under the section ”Language skills documentation”.
  • Applicants with a Bachelor’s or Master’s programme completed at a Danish university for which the requirement was English B level at the time of admission. In this case, please upload your Bachelor’s or Master’s diploma under the section ”Language skills documentation”.

The programme committee may request further information or invite the applicant to attend an interview.

 

How to apply:

1)      Find the application form:
Go to https://phd.tech.au.dk/for-applicants/apply-here/ - Note, the online application system opens on 1 September 2020.
Choose November 2020 Call with deadline 1 November 2020 at noon (11.59 AM CEST).
You will be directed to the call, and must choose the programme “Environmental Science”.

2)      Fill in the following information:

  • Personal information
  • Academic background
  • Admission
  • Financing (if any)
  • Study: In the dropdown menu you must choose the project: “Microbial predator-prey interactions affected by wheat rhizosphere microbiome exudates”
  • Source (how you found out about the call)

Next to some of the information fields you will find a number. Click on the number to get further directions on how to fill in the information field/what information is needed.

3)      Application attachments:
Please be aware that you cannot submit the application if one or several of these documents have not been uploaded.

If you wish to upload more than one document under each section, you must scan/merge all documents into one large PDF file and upload this. Please note that we reserve the right to remove scientific papers, large reports, theses and the like. Instead you can indicate a URL where the information is available.

All information in the application must be in English or Danish, preferably English. A certified English translation is required for documents written in languages other than English or one of the Scandinavian languages (i.e. Norwegian, Swedish or Danish) languages.

As a minimum all applications must include (pdf-files only, max. 20 MB, no zip):

  • One reference (template for references)
  • Curriculum vitae,
  • Motivation (max. 1 page)
  • Transcripts, grade point averages (weighted and unweighted), and diploma(s) for both Bachelor’s and Master’s degree. If the original documents are not in English or one of the Scandinavian languages (i.e. Norwegian, Swedish or Danish) then copies of the original documents as well as a certified English translation must be attached.
  • Project description (½-4 pages). For technical reasons, you must upload a project description. When - as here - you apply for a specific project, please simply copy the project description above, and upload it as a PDF in the application. If you wish to, you can indicate an URL where further information can be found. Please note that we reserve the right to remove scientific papers, large reports, theses and the like.
  • Documentation of language skills if required.

After submission of the application, you will receive a confirmation e-mail with an application ID, you should use for reference if needed.

The graduate school reserves the right to verify the authenticity of your educational diploma and transcripts:

  • Request additional information to verify an application.
  • Reject the application if it is proven, or if the University has reasonable belief, that the information provided is false or if the applicant refuses to provide the requested information, whether or not an offer has already been made. 
  • For further information on applying, assessment procedures, etc. please see the GSTS Application Guide.

 

Please note:

  • The programme committee may request further information or invite the applicant to attend an interview.

 

All interested candidates are encouraged to apply, regardless of their personal background. 

19582 / i43