Postdoctoral Fellowship in Insect-Microbe Eco-Physiology

University of Copenhagen


Postdoctoral Fellowship in Insect-Microbe Eco-Physiology, University of Copenhagen

The Department of Biology in the Faculty of Science at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark is offering a Postdoctoral fellowship in insect-microbe eco-physiology, commencing 1 September 2019 or as soon as possible thereafter. The University of Copenhagen provides a top-notch research environment and the city of Copenhagen provides a vibrant cultural scene.    


Scientific environment  

The fellowship will be part of a research project financed by an ERC Starting Grant based in the thriving research environment of the Centre for Social Evolution ( (embedded within the Section of Ecology and Evolution), and will involve fieldwork in the Panamanian tropical rainforests at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute ( The successful applicant will have experience and interest in ecology, evolution, physiology, microbial ecology and molecular techniques.  


Project Description  

Insect-microbe symbioses often involve food exchange among interacting partners, but the nutritional dimensions underlying these transactions are often difficult to study. My lab has developed techniques for studying these dynamics using symbioses involving social insects as models for such inquiry. The project will focus on the remarkable lineage of fungus-farming leafcutter ants that harvest fresh vegetation and convert it into nutritional compost to produce fungal crops as food in underground nests. The postdoc will explore how these ants have managed to grow their domesticated fungi across extreme contemporary rainfall and temperature gradients and across diverse climates over millions of years. Projects will combine ecological field experiments in Panamanian rainforests and integrative laboratory studies of cultivar gene expression to resolve the mechanisms enabling resilient industrial-scale farming by leafcutter ants within diverse tropical insect communities.  


Job description  

The position is available for a 2-year period and your key tasks as a Postdoctoral Fellow at SCIENCE are:  

  • To manage and carry through your research project

  • Write scientific articles and grant proposals

  • Disseminate your research

  • To travel to and perform field research in tropical rainforests  

Formal Qualifications 

  • PhD in Biology with good results (including publications and conference presentations

  • An interest in fieldwork, eco-physiology, microbial ecology, and symbiotic interactions

  • Experience with sequencing, including -omics is desirable, but not required

  • Creativity and ability to be both team-oriented and independent

  • Experience with fungal culturing techniques is a plus

  • Embrace of an international research environment and interdisciplinary research

  • A proven record of excellent English speaking, reading and writing skills.  

Terms of employment   

The position is covered by the Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff.   


Terms of appointment and payment accord to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State.   


The starting salary is currently at a minimum DKK 426.625 including annual supplement (+ pension up to DKK 72.952). Negotiation for salary supplement is possible. 


Application Procedure  

The application, in English, must be submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.   


How to apply  

Applications must include: 

  • Cover letter

  • Statement of research interests and reasons for applying to this position (max 2 pages)

  • Curriculum vitae (including a list of publications)

  • Copies of relevant diplomas and transcripts (PhD, Master and Bachelor)

  • Separate reprints of 3 particularly relevant papers

  • Full contact details (name, address, e-mail, telephone numbers and addresses of 2-3 professional referees).   

In addition to the fulfilment of the above-mentioned qualifications, the main criterion for selection will be the research potential of the applicant, the match with the project and good interpersonal skills. Additionally, my research group and the University of Copenhagen strive to reflect the diversity of society and welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.   


The deadline for applications is 15 March 2019, 23:59 GMT +1.    


After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the Interview Committee. Afterwards, an assessment committee will be appointed to evaluate the selected applications. The applicants will be notified of the composition of the committee and the final selection of a successful candidate will be made by the Head of Department, based on the recommendations of the assessment committee and the interview committee.   

The main criterion for selection will be the research potential of the applicant and the previously mentioned skills. You can read more about the recruitment process at  



For specific information about the Postdoctoral Fellowship please refer to the website of Assistant Professor Jonathan Shik (, or contact him at, Direct Phone: +45 31152140.   

In your application, please refer to


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