The Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine ( is the largest Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Germany and is the National Reference Centre for Tropical Pathogens, a WHO Collaborating Centre and member of the Leibniz Research Association.

At the earliest possible date the Research Group Mosquito-virus-host interaction at the BNITM in Hamburg (Germany) is looking for a highly motivated

PhD Student (m/f/d)
- 65 % EG 13 TV-AVH -

For a challenging project on RNAi-based adaptive immunity in Aedes aegypti against arboviruses, we seek a highly motivated candidate to conduct experiments in cell culture and mosquitoes. 

Description of the project:
Mosquitoes transmit pathogenic arthropod-borne (arbo)viruses, like Dengue, Chikungunya and Zika viruses, causing outbreaks in different parts of the world. It is hypothesized that the efficiency of virus transmission (vector competence) of a mosquito, depends on its antiviral response. Mosquitoes (even of the same species) have been shown to differ in their antiviral response and thereby vector competence.
The project investigates the hypothesis of an inheritable adaptive antiviral response in Ae. aegypti, that primes mosquitoes and thereby shapes the vector competence of mosquitoes (ability to transmit virus infection). This adaptive antiviral immune response in mosquitoes results from previous encounters with viruses and depends on the production of viral DNA and the RNAi machinery.
For this, classical and molecular virology methods in combination with established knock out cell lines, silencing and next generation sequencing are employed. This combinational approach will enable us to investigate the hypothesis of an inheritable adaptive RNAi-dependent antiviral immune system in mosquitoes in detail and to identify differences as well as common features in this response for the main arbovirus families.

Your Profile: 

  • Completed Master´s degree in life sciences
  • Solid knowledge in molecular biology and cell biology
  • Practical experience in molecular biology and cell culture
  • Eligibility, willingness and physical fitness to work in biosafety level (BSL) 3 laboratories and insectaries
  • Solid knowledge in virology is a strong plus
  • Practical experience in RNA biology, BSL2/ BSL3 work and/ or mosquito handling is a strong plus
  • Motivation to learn new methods
  • Fluent oral and written English
  • Excellent organizational skills an ability to work independently and creatively
  • Detailed documentation of experiments and presentation of results
  • Strong team spirit and communication skills
  • Willingness and ability to supervise and train students at the Bachelor and Master level

Our benefits:

  • an interesting and challenging project in a modern research institution
  • integration into an open-minded and motivated team
  • a highly collaborative research team
  • chance to present the project at national and international conferences
  • a structured training program for PhD students (BNITM graduate school)
  • a central location at the Landungsbrücken, which is easily accessible by public transport
  • 30 days holidays per Year
  • flexible and family-friendly working hours
  • childcare subsidy
  • subsidy for HVV-ProfiTicket
  • company pension scheme
  • opportunities for further education and training
  • special conditions in selected sports and fitness clubs in Hamburg
Starting date will be as soon as possible. The position is initially limited to 3 years and is remunerated with 65% E 13 TV-AVH according to the rules of the public service under the TV-AVH (collective agreement of the “Arbeitsrechtliche Vereinigung Hamburg“).
audit berufundfamilie - Zertifikat

We support our employees in achieving a work-life balance and promote the professional equality of women and men. We strive to assist women in their scientific career, increase the number of women in research and reduce under-representation in all areas and positions in general. Applicants with disabilities will be given preference when equally qualified.

As a member of the Diversity Charter, the largest diversity management network in Germany, we are also committed to making diversity an integral part of our institute culture. It is our goal to create a working environment that is free of prejudice.
Please apply by 31st of May 2022 preferably via our online form  with the documents required: motivation letter, CV, high school and university certificates and the name and contact information of two references.
Alternatively you can submit your application referring to "PhD_Entomology" via postal mail to: Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine, Ms. Katja Bünger, HR Department, Bernhard-Nocht-Str. 74, 20359 Hamburg, Germany.
If you have any questions regarding the application process or the selection procedure, please contact Ms. Katja Bünger ( from the Human Resources Department.

For further questions please contact Dr. Esther Schnettler (, +49 (0) 40 42818-208).