PhD position: Maturation of the immune system by the intestinal microbiota

University of Bern
January 01, 2023
Offerd Salary:Salary: according to the University of Bern guidelines.
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Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Negotigation
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PhD position: Maturation of the immune system by the intestinal microbiota


We are recruiting a PhD student to study the immune-microbial relationship early in life and consequences of their perturbation on lifelong host health.

Starting date: December 2022 or on agreement. Duration: 3-4 years.


The symbiotic microorganisms (microbiota) colonize all mucosal body surfaces of newborns and play a key role in shaping the development and maturation of immune system. In the intestine, exposure to gut microbiota induce an immune response ("weaning reaction") which influence the susceptibility to multiple inflammatory pathologies later in life (Al Nabhani et al., Immunity 2019, Nature Metabolism 2019). In the framework of ERC starting project, we are seeking to gain knowledge regarding the immunological and microbiological mechanisms behind the weaning reaction. We aim to assess the dietary and microbial components that influence the generation of weaning reaction and impact the susceptibility to develop both obesity and colon cancer. The successful candidate will work on the project using transgenic germ-free and gnotobiotics mouse models and acquiring variety of techniques including flow cytometry, scRNAseq and shotgun metagenomic sequencing.


We are looking for an enthusiastic and motivated candidate with an academic degree in life sciences or biomedical sciences acceptable for matriculation at a Swiss University. The candidate should be proactive, have excellent communication skills and possess an aptitude to work in a team as well as independently. Good knowledge of English is required. The ideal candidate must have a strong background in cellular and molecular biology and good knowledge in immunology. Prior expertise in flow cytometry and FlowJo analysis is an advantage.

Our offers

The PhD student will be supported by a well-funded interdisciplinary research program in a young and dynamic environment at the Department for BioMedical Research (DBMR), University of Bern, and at the Hospital University of Bern (Inselspital), Switzerland. We developed a national and international collaborative network in which the PhD student will be involved.

We provide excellent scientific opportunities in a highly motivating environment with a multidisciplinary approach to immunology and microbiology discussions as well as seminars with wide-range topics. The project offers a special opportunity to be trained on experimental mucosal immunology using germ-free and gnotobiotic mouse models. Bern, the capital of Switzerland, is located near the Swiss Alps and well connected to many European cities (Zurich, Milan, Paris, Munich). The successful applicant will be enrolled in the Graduate School for Cellular and Biomedical Sciences, University of Bern (www.

Salary: according to the University of Bern guidelines.

Application contact

Review of applications will start in October 2022, though applications will be accepted until a suitable candidate is found. Please send your CV including a list of publications, a motivational letter with statement of your research interests and two references (letters & contact information) as a single PDF-document by email to Prof. Ziad Al Nabhani (


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