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Postdoc - Soil Microbiome Resilience to Freeze-Thaw


The laboratory for Microbiome Adaptation in the Changing Environment (MACE) lab is seeking Postdoctoral Researcher to join our team for 2-4 years.


Impacts of Freeze-Thaw Cycles on Microbiome Assembly, Resilience, and Function in Alpine Soils (2-4 years)
Alpine landscapes are rapidly transforming due to anthropogenic climate change. Climate warming and reduced snow cover increases the number of soil freeze-thaw cycles due to loss of snow insulation. This reduces microbial abundance and diversity which could in a deterministic way affect N and C mineralization, greenhouse gas (GHG) fluxes, and downstream ecosystem impacts. Compounding this, decreased snow cover potentially reduces input of cold-adapted microorganisms from snow to soil, as microbiomes have less time for selection of cold adapted features/taxa from harsh environmental pressures of the snowpack. This can decrease resilience of soil microbiomes to temperature fluctuations and freezing events.

This project will assess impacts of cold-adapted microorganism on the metabolic capabilities of the microbiome; addressing the question of “What are the molecular and mechanistic level impacts of increasing freeze-thaw cycles and decreased input of cold adapted microorganism on function, composition, and resilience of soil microbiomes?”. The overall approach of this project will include in situfield work, culturing, multi-omics, and computational methods. Furthermore, the overall project will aim to integrate multiple layers of data including biogeochemical parameters, metagenomics, metatranscriptomics, and metaproteomics in a united analysis.

The successful candidate will join the Alpine and Polar Environmental Research Centre (ALPOLE) at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland. The ALPOLE research center is based in Sion, Switzerland with a mission to address key challenges related to environmental change in Alpine and Polar regions undergoing rapid and unprecedented transformations.

Main duties and responsibilities

  • Perform original research in the area of soil microbiomes
  • Participate in experimental design and execution of the project
  • Logistical planning and participation in field work
  • Quantify climate-relevant greenhouse gas fluxes in experimental soil plots and microcosms
  • Reconstruction of microbial interactions via culture dependant and independent methods
  • Supervision of PhD students
  • Lead and contribute to publications inter-reviwed journals

We offer

  • A stimulating and international working environment in the new EPFL-Valais campus in Sion.
  • Competitive salary and excellent working conditions.
  • Opportunity to perform state-of-the-art research in one of the most dynamic scientific institutions in Europe.

To Apply

Only applications submitted through the online platform are considered. You are asked to supply your CV (including publications), a brief research statement (max 1 page), and contact details of three references.

For any clarification or questions please contact Prof. Altshuler directly at  ianina.altshuler@epfl.ch

Applications will be reviewed as they are received.


Contract Start Date : Flexible - Summer/Early Fall 2024

Activity Rate Min : 80,00 

Activity Rate Max : 100,00 

Contract Type: CDD

Duration: 2-4 years (renewable on a one-year basis) 

Reference: 858