PhD Student Positions in the Group of Dagmar Woebken


The Woebken Group is accepting applications for PhD student positions.


Microorganisms in drylands have to endure long periods of drought, interrupted by unpredictable and very short periods of rain. Dormancy - an inactive state or a state of reduced metabolic activity - has long been regarded as a prerequisite for desert soil microorganisms to survive such drought periods. However, as dormancy cannot be sustained indefinitely, phases of resuscitation must also play an important role for long-term survival of desert soil microorganisms and thus for maintaining microbial diversity in one of the harshest environments on the planet.


In this project, we are investigating the desiccation survival mechanisms of soil microorganisms and the molecular mechanisms of resuscitation. This will be achieved by applying genome-resolved metatranscriptomics of desert soil microbial communities, building upon knowledge gained by our recent metagenomic investigation of biological soil crusts from the Negev Desert, Israel. In situ community transcription patterns will be combined with single-cell activity assays, employing a recently developed heavy water-NanoSIMS assay to detect anabolically active cells, and process measurements.


Candidates should had a MSc degree in microbiology, molecular biology or a related biological discipline, or a degree in ecology with a focus on microbial ecology. The applicant should be highly motivated with a strong interest in microbial ecology and microbial survival. More specifically, the applicant should have practical experience in molecular biology, microbial community analyses (e.g. via 16S rRNA genes; experience in genome/-omics analysis will be highly favored), bioinformatic skills and a solid knowledge of statistical data analysis is preferred, but not mandatory. Proficiency in spoken and written English is mandatory. The ability to work and communication in a team is essential.

For additional details, please see the pdf.

Please enclose the following documents to your application:

  • Letter of motivation (1-2 pages)
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • University certificate(s), including grades
  • Two letters of recommendation


Please send your application as a pdf to with the subject "PhD-position Survival and Resuscitation".