A two-year postdoctoral fellowship on comparative metabolomics of termite fungus cultivars and microbial communities is available from February 1st, 2021 or as soon as possible thereafter, at the Department of Biology at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
The fellowship is part of the 5-year ERC Consolidator Grant project Disease-free social life without antibiotic resistance to Prof. Michael Poulsen (https://www1.bio.ku.dk/english/staff/?pure=en/persons/227714).
The application of antimicrobial compounds produced by hosts or defensive symbionts to counter disease has been identified a number of organisms, but we know little about why antimicrobials do not trigger rampant resistance evolution. Fungus-farming termites have evolved a sophisticated agricultural symbiosis that in stark contrast to virtually any other organism, does not suffer from specialised diseases.
The project involves comparative metabolomics of fungal cultivars, termite guts and fungus gardens across the evolutionary history of the termite symbiosis, and will involve fieldwork in Africa. The fellow will have experience and interest in metabolomics techniques, and antimicrobial compounds and their evolution, and will work closely with a PhD student.