Job Advertisement Leibniz-HKI-53/2021

The Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology – Hans Knöll Institute – (Leibniz-HKI, investigates the pathobiology of human-pathogenic fungi and identifies targets for the development of novel natural product-based antibiotics. The department of Microbial Pathogenicity Mechanisms invites talented and highly gifted candidates to apply as a

Doctoral Researcher (f/div/m) in Microbial Pathogenicity Mechanisms

for three years initially.

Research Areas: Microbiology, Mycology, Infection Biology

This project is part of the DFG-funded Priority Program SPP 2225 Exit strategies of intracellular pathogens.

Project background: 

Fungi infect billions of people annually, kill as many people as tuberculosis or malaria and are a major problem for healthcare. Candida albicans is a major opportunistic fungal pathogen and frequently causes superficial or even fatal infections. However, most humans are asymptotically colonized by this fungus as a part of their commensal microbiota. We are a leading research group in the investigation of Candida spp. pathogenicity mechanisms including their interaction with immune cells, their nutrient acquisition strategies, their evolution and adaptation in pathogenicity, the mechanisms involved in the commensal-to-pathogen shift and their capacity to cause host damage.

In this project, the successful applicant will use sophisticated in vitro model systems to investigate important aspects of C. albicans' interaction networks during confrontation with macrophages. The overarching goal is to elucidate the pathogenicity mechanisms which lead to escape of C. albicans from macrophages after phagocytosis.

Candidate´s profile:

We expect a Master´s degree (or equivalent) in Life Sciences (e.g. Biology, Biochemistry, or Microbiology). Furthermore, the applicant should be able to perform team-oriented as well as independent work. Experimental background in one or more of the following subjects are beneficial: Microbiology, Infection Biology, Immunology, Cell Biology. Practical experience in cell culture, fluorescence microscopy and fungal genetics is an advantage. Very good communication skills in English are necessary.

We offer:

The successful candidate will be hosted in the department Microbial Pathogenicity Mechanisms. The Leibniz-HKI is embedded in the outstanding scientific environment of the Beutenberg Campus providing state-of-the-art research facilities and a highly integrative network of life science groups. We offer a multifaceted scientific project with excellent technical facilities, a place in a dynamic, committed team, as well as strong scientific collaborations. The PhD candidate will participate in the structured program of the International Leibniz Research School and become an associated member of the Jena School for Microbial Communication.

Salary is paid according to German TV-L (salary agreement for public service employees). As an equal opportunity employer, the Leibniz-HKI is committed to increasing the percentage of female scientists and therefore especially encourages them to apply.

For further information:

Prof. Dr. Bernhard Hube | +49 3641 532 1400 |


Complete applications in English, including a cover letter with a brief statement of research experiences, a CV with a complete list of publications, and the addresses of two possible referees should be submitted via the Leibniz-HKI online application system. The deadline for the advertisement is November 5, 2021, but applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.


König A, Hube B, Kasper L (2020) The dual Function of the fungal toxin candidalysin during Candida albicans-macrophage interaction and virulence. Toxins 12(8), 469. (Review)

König A, Müller R, Mogavero S, Hube B (2020) Fungal factors involved in host immune evasion, modulation and exploitation during infection. Cell Microbiol 23(1), e13272. (Review)

Sprenger M, Hartung TS, Allert S, Wisgott S, Niemiec MJ, Graf K, Jacobsen ID, Kasper L, Hube B (2020) Fungal biotin homeostasis is essential for immune evasion after macrophage phagocytosis and virulence. Cell Microbiol 22(7), e13197.

Westman J, Walpole GFW, Kasper L, Xue BY, Elshafee O, Hube B, Grinstein S (2020) Lysosome fusion maintains phagosome integrity during fungal infection. Cell Host Microbe 28(6), 798-812.

Kasper L, König A, Koenig PA, Gresnigt MS, Westman J, Drummond RA, Lionakis MS, Groß O, Ruland J, Naglik JR, Hube B (2018) The fungal peptide toxin Candidalysin activates the NLRP3 inflammasome and causes cytolysis in mononuclear phagocytes. Nat Commun 9(1), 4260.