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PhD candidate in the field of mummy microbiome research

The Eurac Research Institute for Mummy Studies is internationally renowned for its research on the Iceman and other mummified and skeletal human remains of different periods from all over the world.

Our research assesses the microbiome composition in mummified human remains. There is increasing evidence that mummified human remains still contain traces of the original endogenous microbial community members. Often, however, this ancient microbiome is masked by the DNA of post-mortem upgrown organisms and environmental microbial contaminations. Therefore, mummy microbiome research can discover both traces of the ancient host microbiome and metabolic key-players in the mummy ecosystem that potentially foster a slow but constant degradation process of unique mummified remains. The aim of our research is therefore to characterize both the ancient endogenous and still active microbial community members in mummified human remains.

We are looking for a microbial ecologist with expertise in advanced molecular, bioinformatics and microscopic techniques and an interest in applying innovative methods to the field of mummy microbiome research.


  • In-depth taxonomic characterization of the microbial community members in various mummified human remains from all over the world
  • Comparison of ancient and modern human microbiomes
  • Characterization of the still active microbial community members: Implications for the conservation of the human mummies.



  • We are looking for a highly motivated and independently working young researcher with a conceptual and practical background in the application of a holistic microbial ecology approach on the ancient human remains.

To decipher both the ancient endogenous microbiome and the still active microbial community members this holistic approach combines molecular biology (DNA/RNA based analysis) and shotgun metagenomics (binning, assembly, taxonomic/functional assignment, phylogeny) with microscopic analyses of the microbes (Fluorescence in situ Hybridisation).

  • Experience in most of the mentioned areas/techniques is requested.
  • Proficiency in spoken and written English is mandatory.

We offer:

  • Up to three years of appointment as a PhD student - the position is available as early as September 2019
  • The candidate will work in a young and international team in a highly stimulating research environment.
  • Eurac Research is an equal opportunity employer and is a Great Place to Work®

How to apply:

Interested candidates should submit their application (containing a pdf-file with a short cover letter and a detailed CV including a brief description of research interests and of the educational background) by 31.05.2019 to the following address:

Eurac Research
Institute for Mummy Studies

Viale Druso 1 – 39100 Bolzano
Email: mummy.studies@eurac.edu- www.eurac.edu
Tel: +39 0471 055 560

Please note that only applications send via e-mail and stating "PhD mummy microbiome" in the subject can be considered.

For further information please contact Frank Maixner: Tel: +39 0471 055 567

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Viale Druso, 1 / Drususallee 1
39100 Bolzano / Bozen - Italy
Tel: +39 0471 055 055
Fax: +39 0471 055 099
Email: info@eurac.edu
Partita IVA: 01659400210
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