The Pilhofer Lab investigates microbial interactions in an interdisciplinary approach, with cryo-electron tomography (cryoET) as key-method.

We offer exciting projects to highly motivated candidates with a strong background in Microbial Ecology or Environmental Microbiology. The goal is to establish and apply cryoET as a new discovery tool in microbial ecology. Experience in cryoET is not required.

The Pilhofer Lab is embedded into a vibrant scientific environment at the Department of Biology ( We have access to world-class facilities with instruments for cryoEM, Raman imaging, time-lapse imaging, confocal/super-resolution light microscopy, microfluidics, FACS, mass spectrometry, and sequencing.   

Candidates are asked to please send their short motivation letter, CV and publication list by email to Martin Pilhofer ( ETH Zürich is an equal opportunity employer and offers attractive salaries.


More details:

The cryoEM modalities of single particle analysis and cryo-electron tomography (cryoET) have revolutionized the fields of structural biology and cellular biochemistry, and they enabled groundbreaking insights into primarily hypothesis-driven, mechanistic problems, using well-established model systems. High-throughput sequencing technologies have revolutionized microbial community studies and changed our view of the diversity of life. In order to understand how microbes function and interact with other cells, however, sequencing- and cultivation-based techniques must be complemented with experiments that elucidate phenotypes in situ at the single-cell level.

1) We will develop cryoET methods for their application to problems in microbial ecology. We will resolve technical challenges of cryoET application to complex environmental samples, including aspects of sample preparation, data collection, data analysis and data integration.

2) We will apply the new methods to outstanding biological questions to advance our understanding of microbial interactions, including e.g. multicellularity, bacterial contractile injection systems, and cellular evolution.

Application deadline: Open until filled
Start date: Flexible
Location: ETH Zürich, Department of Biology, Institute of Molecular Biology & Biophysics, Switzerland