WP 7.3 - PhD

Survival and resuscitation mechanisms of desert soil bacteria

Duration of contract: Up to 4 years 
Planned starting date: Summer 2024 
Place of work: University of Vienna

Main supervisor: Dagmar Wöbken (CV | Lab Homepage
Supervision team: Christina Kaiser, Holger Daims, David Berry

 

Project description:

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 mechanisms of desert soil microorganisms that allow desiccation survival and resuscitation. This will be achieved by applying genome-resolved metatranscriptomics of desert soil microbial communities. In situ community transcription patterns will be combined with single-cell activity assays (such as heavy water-NanoSIMS) to detect anabolically active cells and process measurements. 

The ideal candidate for this position should have a background in microbiology or microbial ecology and experience in molecular tools to investigate diverse microbial communities (such as amplicon sequencing). The candidate should be excited to apply cutting-edge molecular approaches to identify active community members (i.e. via stable isotope probing) and interested in -omics data analyses. 

 

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