PhD Position in Microbiomics in Ophthalmology

University of Bern Clinic of Ophthalmology


PhD position in Microbiomics in Ophthalmology

100 %

PhD position is available at the Department of Ophthalmology, Inselspital Bern, to join the research group of Dr. Denise Zysset working in the field of microbiomics.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most frequent cause of blindness in the elderly. Our lab works on the cross-talk between the intestinal microbiome and retinal diseases such as AMD with a special focus on the role of the complement system, and between the ocular surface microbiome and ocular surface diseases such as dry eyes. Despite major research efforts in recent times, treatment options for AMD are only very limited. However, we have recently shown that compositional and functional alterations of the intestinal and the ocular microbiome are associated with AMD and dry eyes, respectively. Moreover, there is evidence that genetic risk factors including the complement system play an important role in the development of AMD. Preliminary data in our lab has indicated that single nucleotide polymorphisms in the gene encoding complement factor H are associated with relative abundances of microbial taxa. Since the microbiome may be modified by probiotics and antibiotics, findings of this study may have important implications for the prevention of sight threatening diseases.

The project encompasses the following tasks: The impact of the intestinal microbiome on retinal diseases as well as on the complement system, the impact of the ocular surface microbiome on ocular surface diseases, and the interaction of the intestinal with the ocular surface microbiome. For whole genome sequencing, we cooperate with the Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) Platform of the University of Bern and the Interfaculty Bioinformatics Unit (IBU) Germ free (GF) mice will be used to study possible associations of the intestinal and ocular surface microbiome with ocular diseases, working in the Clean Mouse Facility (CMF) of the University of Bern.
We are looking for a highly motivated student with a strong interest in microbiomics to join our group. Basic knowledge in microbiome analysis is an advantage. The position requires a degree in biological sciences. The introductory Course in Laboratory Animal Science is required. Fluent spoken and written English is a prerequisite for this position.
We offer
We offer a young and enthusiastic research group in a comfortable research environment with state-of-the-art research facilities at the attractive working location Inselspital in Bern. The remuneration is in accordance with the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) regulations and includes a temporary contract for up to 4 years. PhD students will be enrolled in the Graduate School for Cellular and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Bern.

The position is available as of now.

How to apply

Please send your application as a single PDF document including a motivation letter, CV and references
by email
to Dr. Denise Zysset: For questions regarding the project please also contact Dr. Denise Zysset. Applications will be accepted until the vacancy is filled.

In your application, please refer to


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