PhD student – “Genetic mechanisms of calcareous sponge biomineralization”

We are looking for a highly motivated PhD student to work in the 3-year project “Genetic mechanisms of calcareous sponge biomineralization” funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). The project will be carried out at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) München, Germany, at the faculty of Geosciences (Department of Earth- and Environmental Sciences, Palaeontology & Geobiology).

Calcareous sponges (Phylum Porifera, Class Calcarea) are the only sponges with carbonate spicules, while other sponge classes have siliceous spicules. In the project, a combination of transcriptomic and proteomic approaches will be used to identify the genetic biomineralization toolkit of calcareous sponges. The function of novel biomineralization genes will be studied by in vitro and in vivo experiments, and implications for the evolution of biomineralization in sponges and animals in general will be explored. The PhD candidate will join an international and dynamic lab focusing on the geobiology and evolution of marine animals. More information about the lab can be found at

The successful applicant has a Master’s degree in Biology, Geobiology or a related field, has a strong interest and/or background in non-bilaterian marine invertebrate biology and is capable to work self-reliantly. The candidate is required to be experienced in standard molecular biological methods, should be able to familiarize himself or herself with new procedures, and should be confident to optimize molecular protocols and workflows. Molecular methods applied in the project include RNA work, next-generation sequencing (NGS) library preparation, RNA in situ hybridization, protein extraction and recombinant protein expression in E.coli. Basic bioinformatics skills for the analyses of NGS data (or the willingness to learn such methods) would be beneficial. The working language of the group is English.

The project is aimed to start latest in Jan 2017, payment will be according to the German state employees salary scheme TV-L (65% TV-L 13).

Please sent an email including a cover letter with a statement of interest, a CV, transcripts of the Master’s degree, and a contact address for a reference, all combined into a single pdf file, until October 15th, 2016 to Dr. Oliver Voigt ( Applications will be reviewed after this date. For further questions regarding the project or pre-application inquiries please sent an email to

The LMU Munich is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer and has an affirmative action policy for the disabled.

Dr Oliver Voigt
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Palaeontology & Geobiology
Richard-Wagner-Straße 10
80333 Munich, Germany

Tel.: +49 (0) 89 2180 6635

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