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PhD Student (w/m) "Algae stress metabolism and culture stability in conventional and hydrogel-based photobioreactors"

Advertising institute: IBG-2 - Plant Sciences
Reference number: 2017-137

The Institute of Bio- and Geosciences - Plant Sciences (IBG-2) develops integrated concepts of sustainable intensification of plant and biomass production based on molecular, physiological and ecological expertise towards a knowledge based bioeconomy. We conduct research to improve understanding of biological systems and processes to contribute to a sustainable resource use.

We are looking to recruit a

PhD Student (w/m) "Algae stress metabolism and culture stability in conventional and hydrogel-based photobioreactors"

Your Job:

Microalgae can grow photosynthetically and deliver numerous resources from biomass to high value compounds. Heterogeneous conditions (day/night, temperature, biotic competition) threaten culture stability and predictability. Algae cultivation so far needs an experienced handler to judge culture status and react timely. To be able to implement microalgal production on larger scale within agricultural or urban areas and connect to existing product streams for synergy use, a higher state of automation and controllability shall be developed.
We will use a hydro-nanogel for better light dispersion and homogeneity within the photobioreactor (PBR) system. The characterization of algal culture reactions within this system shall lead to production protocols and decision parameters for culture handling as well as culture ‘steering’ methods by defined stresses, e.g. harvest through stress-induced flocculation or promoting production of metabolites of interest (antioxidants, storage molecules, bioactives).

The proposed PhD-project will screen algal stress reactions and growth dynamics under heterogeneous conditions and analyze the involved metabolites (intra/extracellular) and signaling compounds. Stress is then specifically induced to control the culture and promote metabolites, developing culture protocols within the PBR concept comparing to conventional concepts and identifying further potentials (harvest concepts etc.).

Possible species: Chlorella vulgaris, Scenedesmus obliquus, Nannochloropsis salina and consortia thereof
Methods: HPLC/capillary electrophoresis and others, environment sensors, algal cell culture, PCR, 18S

Your Profile:

  • background or interest in Phycology, Agriculture or Horticulture, Plant Physiology, Botany, chemical analytics (e.g. food)
  • Master degree (or equivalent) in natural sciences with an overall grade of at least ‘good’
  • strong English writing and communication skills
  • basic experience in laboratory work and preferably one or more of the abovementioned methods

Our Offer:

  • Working in an interdisciplinary environment as well as excellent facilities for biologic and biotechnical research
  • Opportunities to being part of the national and international scientific community
  • PhD students are encouraged to attend international conferences and visits abroad with a cooperating partner are planned
  • Specialized courses, summer schools, seminars by renown experts
  • International, interdisciplinary working environment on an attractive research campus, ideally situated between the cities of Cologne, Düsseldorf, and Aachen
  • A comprehensive further training programme, including English language courses
  • Flexible working hours and various opportunities to reconcile work and family life
  • Limited for 3 years
  • Salary and social benefits in conformity with the provisions of the Collective Agreement for the Civil Service (TVöD).


Forschungszentrum Jülich aims to employ more women in this area and therefore particularly welcomes applications from women.

We also welcome applications from disabled persons.

We look forward to receiving your application, preferably online via our online recruitment system on our career site, quoting the above-mentioned reference number.

Contact Human Resource Development
Anja Schurf
Tel.:+49 2461 61 9700


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