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PhD-position on the effects of the environment on pace of life and microbiome of bank voles

PhD-position on the effects of the environment on pace of life and microbiome of bank voles

We are seeking a highly motivated student for a PhD-position based at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. The student will join the project ”The role of environmental factors in maintaining adaptive pace-of-life variation in a mammal holobiont: an experimental evolution approach”.

In this project, we aim to investigate how environmental constraints experienced at different life stages influence the fitness of the mammal “holobiont”. According to the holobiont hypothesis an animal and its microbiome coevolve and should, therefore, respond to the environment as a unit. To test this idea, we will study the effects of environmental manipulations on the life history and physiology of the individual animal and associated changes in its gut microbiome (the community of commensal microbes inhabiting the gut). We will test hypotheses about the role of the microbiome in influencing the fitness of the animal host through lab and field experiments with established bank vole (Myodes glareolus) selection lines.

The student will have an opportunity to conduct experiments with captive voles in Krakow and participate in field experiments conducted in large field enclosures in central Finland. The project offers opportunities to learn state-of-the-art methods and a range of transferable skills, including physiological measurements, genomic analyses of the gut microbiome and the associated bioinformatics and statistical analyses. The student will collect and analyse data and prepare publications in close collaboration with an international team of researchers at the Jagiellonian University, Poland (Dr Anni Hämäläinen, Prof Pawel Koteja) and the University of Jyväskylä, Finland (Prof Phillip Watts, Dr Tapio Mappes, Dr Esa Koskela).

The successful candidate will have an MSc degree in a relevant field by July 2019; evidence of good quantitative/computational skills; and strong English language, communication, organizational and collaboration skills. Previous experience with small mammals, microbial communities, bioinformatics, animal physiology and/or evolutionary biology are considered advantageous.

The prospective student receives a generous stipend from the National Science Centre (NCN) grant (4500 PLN, excellent standard relative to the low living costs in Krakow) for 3 years, and a supplement to attend conferences and travel for field work. Additional scholarships may be obtained through PhD stipend programs of the Jagiellonian University. The official start date in the PhD program (graduate school) will be October 1st, 2019, but there may be a possibility for an interested student to begin earlier as a summer assistant.

The recruitment process consists of three stages: 1) the principal investigator of the project shortlists candidates based on application documents and an interview; 2) shortlisted students are invited to apply to a PhD program at the Jagiellonian University (a prerequisite for the NCN-funding); 3) the NCN stipend will be awarded to the best-qualified student among those accepted to the PhD program. See application details below.

For further information and informal inquiries, please contact Anni Hämäläinen (anni.m.hamalainen [at]


How to apply

The recruitment process consists of three stages:

1) Preliminary evaluation of candidates by the Principal Investigator of the project:

The applicant should send the following documents by email to the principal investigator, Dr. Anni Hämäläinen (anni.m.hamalainen [at]

1) A Curriculum Vitae (maximum 2 pages) including information on relevant academic achievements, publications, and awards, relevant experience and training. This document should also include the names, affiliations and email addresses of two people with first-hand knowledge of the applicant’s skills and past research experience.

2) A motivation letter in English, explaining how the applicant’s background and research interests make them a suitable candidate for the position.

3) A signed copy of a formal statement concerning the processing of personal data, available below.

Based on these documents, shortlisted candidates will be interviewed (typically via video conference).

The evaluation of applications begins May 1st, 2019 and continues until the position is filled.

2) Enrollment in a PhD program at the Institute of Environmental Sciences at Jagiellonian University.

One or more of the interviewed candidates will be invited to apply for a place in a PhD program at the Institute of Environmental Sciences at Jagiellonian University. A place in a PhD program is a prerequisite to being offered the NCN stipend.

Preference will be given to applicants to the PhD Program in Biology in English: In case none of the prospective students are accepted to the English program, applicants to the standard PhD program will be considered: (in Polish). The on-line registration for the programs will open, and details of the recruitment procedures will be announced, in April/ May.

Note that all applicants who are accepted to the graduate schools secure a PhD position at the Jagiellonian University and are eligible for internal funding. The NCN funding from the project grant will be awarded to a single student, chosen based on their qualifications (see below). 

3) Decision of granting the National Science Centre stipend:

From among the candidates accepted as PhD students at Institute of Environmental Sciences JU, the NCN funding beneficiary will be chosen by a selection committee based on regulations about scientific scholarships for young researchers in research projects financed by the National Science Centre. The criteria are as follows: scientific achievements, especially publications (50%), other achievements and honors related to scientific activity (awards, stipends, internships, workshops, etc.; 20%), competence in tasks required in the project realization (30%) (full description of the regulations is available here, in Polish:

Pliki do pobrania
A statement concerning the processing of personal data
Informacja o przetwarzaniu danych osobowych