Postdoc or PhD position on assessment of pathogens’ stability in wastewater

Eawag, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, is an internationally networked aquatic research institute within the ETH Domain (Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology). Eawag conducts research, education and expert consulting to achieve the dual goals of meeting direct human needs for water and maintaining the function and integrity of aquatic ecosystems. The Department of Urban Water Management (SWW) invites applications for

PostDoc or PhD position on assessment of pathogens’ stability in wastewater(80-100%)

Throughout the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in Switzerland, we have been actively monitoring wastewater for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA. Our work has led to time series data on SARS-CoV-2 RNA concentrations in wastewater from six wastewater treatment plants across Switzerland, translation of the data into wastewater-derived effective reproduction numbers and time series data on SARS-CoV-2 Variants of Concern from wastewater. In the context of wastewater-based epidemiology we have expanded the number of targets and we are also actively working on chemicals.We are developing and applying methods for detection, quantification and sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 and related infectious disease agents in wastewater. The advertised position is focused on advancing knowledge in the area of in-sewer transport and sampling – i.e. transformation, losses, recoveries, distribution between liquid and solid phase – aiming to better understand absolute numbers beyond relative trends. This work will be conducted in the context of a large, interdisciplinary project including environmental microbiologists, environmental engineers, epidemiologists and bioinformaticians. The goal of the project is to advance environmental surveillance of wastewater to derive public health information in Switzerland and internationally.

If you are excited about this topic, and have a background (MSc or PhD) in environmental sciences, environmental engineering, microbiology, molecular biology, public health, or related field, you are invited to apply. Prior experience in water quality modeling is necessary, performing lab- or full-scale transformation studies is an asset. Experience in molecular methods, including RNA/DNA extraction and qPCR/dPCR is beneficial.

We expect the candidate will interact with multiple academic, government and non-government institutional collaborators, including leading international researchers in the field. The position requires close collaboration with Prof. Dr Tamar Kohn (EPFL) and Dr Tim Julian (Eawag); candidates hired within the scope of a PhD must meet the requirements for enrolment at ETH and will consequently have joint affiliation. PhD funding is for up to four years; PostDoc funding is for up to three years. The candidate must be willing to work in a team environment. We offer a very dynamic and collaborative research environment which profits from state-of-the-art infrastructure and support. Project intended start date is flexible, dependent on availability of the candidate. 

Application evaluation is on a rolling basis and will continue until the position is filled. Please include a letter of motivation (one page maximum) explaining why you think you fit this position well, a CV and the names and contact information of two references. Eawag is a modern employer and offers an excellent working environment where staff can contribute their strengths, experience and ways of thinking. We promote gender equality and are committed to staff diversity and inclusion. The compatibility of career and family is of central importance to us. For more information about Eawag and our work conditions please consult www.eawag.ch and www.eawag.ch/en/aboutus/working/employment. For further information, please contact Dr Christoph Ort. We look forward to receiving your application. Please send it through this webpage, any other way of applying will not be considered. A click on the button below will take you directly to the application form.