Research training group "Translational evolutionary research"

14 Doctoral Positions within the Research Training Group 2501 on Translational Evolutionary Research (RTG TransEvo)

Evolution is the central theory of the life sciences. The core objective of the RTG TransEvo is to study and promote its key relevance to applied problems. Unintended outcomes of human intervention often result from actions that influence natural selection. For example, the usage of antibiotics or anti-cancer drugs in medicine, of pesticides in agriculture, or human perturbation of the earth's ecosystems directly change natural selection and thereby affect the evolution of organisms. Therefore, the development of sustainable solutions to such emerging challenges can only be achieved by explicit consideration of the influenced evolutionary processes. Yet, to date, the translation of evolutionary concepts to applied problems is only rarely attempted. In turn, the required experimental tests in these areas have the potential to further advance evolutionary theory – to the mutual benefit of translational and basic research. Thus, the overarching aim of the RTG TransEvo is to train two main competences among doctoral candidates: On the one hand, the use of knowledge and concepts from fundamental research in evolutionary biology in order to enhance our understanding of current challenges in applied fields and, on the other hand, the use of the novel insights obtained in order to enrich our understanding of evolution. The RTG TransEvo will promote the translation of evolutionary thinking into three applied fields: (i) medicine, (ii) food production, and (iii) wildlife conservation.
The training of doctoral candidates is explicitly interdisciplinary and organized in tandem projects. Each of these consists of two sub-projects that address a related problem, yet use distinct albeit complementary research approaches, directly generating potential for synergistic interactions. The different tandem projects are interconnected at various levels, which will aid the establishment of a stimulating, interdisciplinary research network for the doctoral candidates. The doctoral research projects will be developed together with the chosen PhD students. The frameworks for research topics are given below. The RTG has a total of 14 sub-projects and thus 14 individual doctoral projects (3 year fixed term positions, TV-L, TV-ÖD E13 65%), for which we invite applications from highly motivated and well-qualified candidates.

The deadline for applications is August 15, 2019.
The selection week will be held from October 8-10
the program itself starts on December 1, 2019.

The university endeavours to increase the proportion of women in research and teaching and therefore urges appropriately qualified women to apply. Priority is given to women who have equal aptitude and professional performance.

The university is committed to the employment of severely disabled people. For this reason, severely disabled applicants will be given preferential consideration if they are suitably qualified.

We explicitly welcome applications from people with a migration background.

Applications must include: a letter of motivation (max. 1 page), curriculum vitae, a list of 3 preferred PhD topics (from among the offered projects) plus a short explanation of the preferences (max. 1 page), the names and addresses of 2 referees (who are familiar with the applicant's work).

We explicitly ask you to refrain from submitting photographs/application photos.

Please send the application as a single PDF-file by August 15, 2019 to:

If you have any questions on the RTG program or individual projects, please also contact Dr. Sabrina Koehler (

- Description of tandems and doctoral projects -

Tandem 1: Evolutionary management of harvested populations

Doctoral Project 1.1: Fisheries-induced evolution (PI Thorsten Reusch)

Doctoral Project 1.2: Evolutionary fishery economics and management (PI Martin Quaas)


Tandem 2: Evolution of sugar beet and its associated pathogens: implications for plant breeding and disease control

Doctoral project 2.1: Genetic analysis of leaf spot resistance (PI Christian Jung)

Doctoral project 2.2: Plant pathogen evolution on cultivated and wild plant hosts (PI Eva Stukenbrock)


Tandem 3: Evolution and spread of plasmid-borne antibiotic resistance

Doctoral project 3.1: Plasmid evolution in the food industry (PI Tal Dagan)

Doctoral project 3.2: Mathematical modelling of the evolution and spread of plasmid mediated antibiotic resistance (PI Hildegard Uecker)


Tandem 4: The evolution of human pathogens under antibiotic therapy

Doctoral project 4.1: Adaptation of Mtbc to antibiotic treatment (PI Stefan Niemann)

Doctoral project 4.2: Efficacy of sequential therapy against clinical Pseudomonas (PI Hinrich Schulenburg)


Tandem 5: Characterizing trade-offs of the human FUT2 gene for the improvement of gut health

Doctoral project 5.1: Relationship between Lactobacillus diversity and host FUT2 genotype (PI Charles Franz)

Doctoral project 5.2: Evaluating the gut microbiome for adaptation to host Fut2 genotype (PI John Baines)


Tandem 6: Evolution of key life history events – the sex-specific link between fertility, pregnancy and longevity

Doctoral project 6.1: Late-life fertility and longevity in humans (PI Almut Nebel)

Doctoral project 6.2: Pregnancy/late-life fertility and longevity in sex-role reversed pipefish (PI Olivia Roth)


Tandem 7: The evolution of pancreatic cancer cells under chemotherapy

Doctoral project 7.1: Experimental analysis of the evolution of pancreatic cancer cells under chemotherapy (PI Susanne Sebens)

Doctoral project 7.2: Mathematical modelling of the evolution of pancreatic cancer cells under chemotherapy (PI Arne Traulsen)