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Modelling and computer simulations of bacterial biofilms

Supervisor: Prof. Stefan Schuster, Bioinformatics, Friedrich Schiller University Jena;
Co-supervisor(s): Dr. Ákos Kovács Research Group Terrestrial Biofilms, Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Dr. Christian Kost, Research Group Experimental Ecology and Evolution, MPI-CE

Microbial communities are a topic of enormous, ever increasing interest in several disciplines of Science. Besides intense experimental work, also numerous theoretical and computational studies have been performed world-wide to elucidate the mechanisms of interaction within microbial communities and between microbes and host organisms (e.g. humans). This topic bears an enormous potential of applications in medicine and biotechnology.
In this project, we plan to do modelling and computational studies on Bacillus subtilis biofilms as a paradigmatic example of a cooperative microbial community. The project will involve systematic computational studies on phenotypic heterogeneity, the trade-off between motility and biofilm formation as well as bistability and multistability leading to a division of labour between different cells of B. subtilis . The effects of particular mutations in the genes responsible for production of particular matrix constituents, motility and sporulation will be examined. It is to be tested whether toxin production against cells of the same species (cannibalism) serves as a policing strategy against “cheater” cells. The methods to be used include individual-based models, dynamic modelling and evolutionary game theory. All models will be established and refined in cooperation with experimental groups within IMPRS.

We are looking for a highly-motivated PhD student with a background in Bioinformatics, Mathematics, Computer science, or in Biology or Biochemistry with a strong interest in computational science.

!!Application deadline is September 11, 2015!!

Contact detail

How to apply:
Please apply online at https://imprs-reg.ice.mpg.de
Send application to
The International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS)
Max-Planck-Institute for Chemical Ecology
Beutenberg Campus Hans-Knoell-Str. 8
D - 07745 Jena
You can also contact us via email: imprs2015@ice.mpg.de

Job profile

Working hours
Contract duration
Type of job
PhD Project
Work experience
job experience is not required
Germany (Thüringen)
Working place
07745 Jena
Area of expertise
Biology & Life Sciences, Chemistry