Two Open PhD Positions (m/f/d), University of Innsbruck, Austria

Postdoc Position 2019 in Austria, University of Vienna

Two Open PhD Positions: The Institute of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmacognosy, at the University of Innsbruck, Austria, is offering two exciting PhD positions in the field of Microbial Natural Products Research. These positions are set to start in October 2023 and are part of the ENDRUST project, focusing on the role of endophytes in rust defense in Norway spruce trees. This project is funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) and is a collaborative effort between the departments of Pharmacognosy, Microbiology, and Botany at the University of Innsbruck.


DesignationTwo Open PhD Positions (m/f/d)
Research AreaMicrobial Natural Products Research
LocationInstitute of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmacognosy, University of Innsbruck, Austria
Start DateOctober 2023
Application DeadlineSeptember 30, 2023

Project Description:

Two Open PhD Positions (m/f/d) in Microbial Natural Products Research

The project, titled “ENDRUST – Role of endophytes in rust defense in Norway spruce,” aims to investigate the potential role of fungal endophyte communities in inducing rust resistance in Picea abies trees in Tyrol province, Austria. The research will focus on identifying fungal taxa associated with rust resistance and exploring the production of natural products by these endophytes to combat phytopathogens. It is a multidisciplinary project involving pharmacognosy, microbiology, and botany.

Job Description: We are seeking highly motivated PhD candidates who are passionate about microbial natural products research. The selected candidate(s) will:

  • Isolate and analyze fungal endophytes from rust-susceptible and resistant trees.
  • Conduct LC-MS/MS-based untargeted metabolomics analysis of selected fungal strains.
  • Perform mass spectrometry- and bioactivity-guided isolation of metabolites.
  • Elucidate the structures of antifungal metabolites.
  • Investigate the potential of selected strains to produce new, unique, and cryptic natural products using silent genes activation techniques.
  • Collaborate with internal partners at the University of Innsbruck for phylogenetic and microbiological studies.
  • Conduct in vivo and in natura studies to assess the efficacy of isolated metabolites.
  • Manage the project, write publications/reports, and participate in national or international conferences.

Qualifications Required:

PhD Candidate 1:

  • Master’s degree in Pharmacy, Chemistry, or a related field.
  • Strong background in natural products isolation and purification (especially from fungi).
  • Proficiency in structure elucidation techniques such as 1D and 2D NMR, HRMS, ECD, and computational methods.
  • Experience with non-targeted metabolomics approaches and LC-MS/MS-based dereplication of natural products (preferably using molecular network).
  • Experience in performing bioassays is a plus.

PhD Candidate 2:

  • Master’s degree in Microbiology, Fungal Biology, or related fields.
  • Proficiency in sterile working techniques, molecular techniques, phylogenetic analysis, and bioassays.
  • Experience in fungal isolation, cultivation, identification, activation of silent genes, OSMAC approach, etc.
  • Experience in fungal natural products isolation and related techniques.
  • Familiarity with plant pathogens and related bioassays is a plus.

Duration and Salary: The positions are for a maximum period of three and a half years, with an initial contract of 9 months. The salary will be based on personal costs according to FWF regulations, with an employment commitment of 60-75%.

Application: Interested candidates are requested to submit the following documents in one PDF file:

  • Motivation letter
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV) including a list of publications
  • Diploma and transcript of Master’s degree
  • Diploma and transcript (or equivalent degree)
  • Abstract of Master’s or diploma thesis (1-2 pages)

Please send your application, including the above-mentioned documents and any further questions, to the project PI, Dr. Mostafa Alilou, at, no later than September 30, 2023.

Join our research team and contribute to cutting-edge studies in Microbial Natural Products Research while pursuing your PhD at the University of Innsbruck. Don’t miss this opportunity to make a significant impact in the field of pharmacognosy and microbiology. Apply now!



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