PhD position: The functional basis of lifespan and fecundity in Temnothorax ants

Application deadline May 25th 2018

The Institute of Organismic and Molecular Evolution at the University of Mainz is searching for a field / research assistant (65% TVL E13) for the research project

The functional basis of lifespan and fecundity in Temnothorax ants

We invite applications for a field / research assistant (2 months, extension possible) for an ant collection trip to the Chiricahua Mountains Arizona followed by transfer of ant colonies to lab nests at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Germany. Our project aims at understanding the evolution of life history traits such as lifespan and fecundity and their functional transcriptomic basis. Our model systems are Temnothorax ants, in which workers and queen lifespan vary between one to over twenty years. Field work includes searching for ant colonies in rock crevices and transfer to vials with an aspirator. In this project, we will use experiments, RNA-seq and RNAi gene knockdowns and epigenetic inhibitors to study the regulation and connectivity of gene regulatory pathways linked to longevity and fecundity. The position requires a Master degree in Biology. Candidates with an interest in an academic career in Evolutionary Biology will be preferred, as the successful candidate may be able to continue on this project for his / her PHD. We are searching for a highly motivated student with a strong background in evolutionary genetics and behavioral ecology. Previous research experience with social insects, ant collection, transcriptomics are advantageous, but not required. Students from every nationality are encouraged to apply. The working language of the laboratory is English. For more information on the position, especially the long-term perspectives, please contact us.

Interested candidates should send an application (as a single pdf e-mail attachment) containing a letter of motivation, a brief statement of their research experience and interests, a curriculum vitae (including grades of their B.Sc and M.Sc), and the names and email address of 2 potential referees to Prof. Dr. Susanne Foitzik ( or Dr. Barbara Feldmeyer (


Deadline for applications is May 25th 2018. Skype-interviews will be scheduled on June 5th 2018, on-site interviews about 2 weeks later. Fixed starting date due to the field season in Arizona will be August 11th 2018.

Prof. Dr. Susanne Foitzik

Dr. Barbara Feldmeyer

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