PhD Position in Biology

University of Munster Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity

The DFG funded Research Training Group “Evolutionary Processes in Adaptation and Disease” (EvoPAD) at the University of Münster, Germany, invites applications for a

PhD Position in Biology

(salary level TV-L E13, 65%)

The position is fixed term for 36 months, to be filled at the earliest possible date. Currently, the regular working time for full (100%) employment is 39 hours and 50 minutes per week.

The DFG-funded Research Training Group “Evolutionary Processes in Adaptation and Disease” (EvoPAD, GRK 2220) unites biological, medical, and philosophical research at the University of Münster. The core idea is to use the theory of evolution to understand processes leading to adaptation and/or disease. The PhD students within the RTG make use of evolutionary thinking to address basic and medical questions.

The successful candidate will work on transposon dynamics in response to environmental changes supervised by Dr Francesco Catania and Prof Jürgen Gadau at the Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity. Transposable Elements (TEs) populate the genome of essentially all living beings. As the mobilization of TEs is potentially deleterious, cells have evolved molecular machineries that keep it in check. However, environmental stress can disturb these machineries, activating the propagation of TEs and/or impacting the excision of TE-derived sequences. What are the consequences of these stress-induced TE dynamics? This question is the focus of this project, which pays particular attention to the possibility that stress-induced TE dynamics are not entirely random. It leverages a computational approach – comparative genomics/transcriptomics – and uses the single-celled ciliate Paramecium and multicellular eukaryotes as model systems.

For a detailed project description, please visit the EvoPAD website:


  • outstanding master’s or equivalent degree in biology or a related field
  • bioinformatics skills
  • proven qualifications with particular relevance to EvoPAD projects
  • capacity to formulate and solve research problems and effectively interpret research results
  • willingness to interact with colleagues in an interdisciplinary setting
  • motivation to manage a PhD project and participate in our multidisciplinary qualification program
  • fluency in written and spoken English (knowledge of German is not required)

How to apply

The application should include:

  • CV containing details of former academic education and degrees, professional experience, publications, fellowships/awards, conference contributions, languages, and further relevant skills and abilities
  • cover letter stating the candidate’s expectation from EvoPAD, motivation to join the project and possible start dates
  • master’s thesis abstract
  • certificates of bachelor and master’s degrees
  • two letters of recommendation (either included with the application documents or sent directly to by the referees)

The University of Münster is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to increasing the proportion of women academics. Consequently, we actively encourage applications by women. Female candidates with equivalent qualifications and academic achievements will be preferentially considered within the framework of the legal possibilities.

The University of Münster is committed to employing more staff with disabilities. Candidates with recognised severe disabilities who have equivalent qualifications are given preference in hiring decisions, unless other project-related reasons apply.

Applications should be sent by email as one PDF file (max. 5 MB) to the EvoPAD Coordinator Dr Kristina Wensing ( no later than 31 July 2020. Review of applications will start 6 July 2020.