PhD position on microbe-microbe interactions

A 4-year PhD position is available at the National Laboratory of Health, Environment, and Food (NLZOH), Maribor, Slovenia. The research will focus on exploring the mechanisms by which commensal skin microbiota inhibit the growth of Staphylococcus aureus.

Project Description:

Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that often begins in childhood and can persist into adulthood. The exact cause of AD remains unknown, likely involving a complex interplay of genetic, environmental, and immunological factors. Recent research suggests a strong link between the skin microbiome and AD. Individuals with AD often exhibit an imbalanced skin microbiota, with fewer beneficial or commensal microorganisms and an increased presence of potentially harmful bacteria such as S. aureus. This project aims to identify and understand commensal skin microbes that can inhibit S. aureus growth. To this end, we will:

  1. Define a core "healthy" skin microbiome by comparing the skin microbiome of a healthy cohort, AD patients and AD patients in remission.
  2. Establish a culture collection of S. aureus and skin microbiota associated with the "healthy" microbiome.
  3. Perform competition experiments between S. aureus and members of the 'healthy' microbiome using in vitro and in vivo assays.
  4. Perform transcriptomics and metabolomics to identify mechanisms of inhibition.

This will be a collaborative effort with Dr. Christian Jenul's group (University of Leicester, UK) who have extensive expertise in S. aureus biology.


Required Qualifications:

  • Master's degree in microbiology, immunology, biotechnology, medicine, or other relevant fields.
  • Experience with molecular biological techniques, microbial cultivation, and data analysis.
  • Strong written and spoken English for effective communication in an international research setting.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience with skin microbiomes or immune-related diseases.
  • Ability to work independently, manage time effectively, and demonstrate strong organizational skills.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills for successful teamwork.


Living in Maribor, Slovenia:

Maribor, the second-largest city in Slovenia, offers a rich cultural environment with renowned museums, historical landmarks, and a vibrant theater scene. The city also boasts excellent educational institutions and stunning natural surroundings, with the Pohorje Mountains just a short distance away. Additionally, Maribor provides a favorable living environment with relatively low costs and a friendly community.


How to Apply: 

Interested candidates should submit their CV, a one-page motivation letter, a reference letter, and a completed application form ( to Please submit your application materials before April 15, 2024. The stipend is government-funded, thus requiring an average grade at the Master's level of 8 and above (Slovenian grading system - highest grade 10).


Application Deadline: April 15, 2024

For further information, please contact Dr. Nejc Stopnisek at

Application deadline:
Start date:
Location: Maribor, Slovenia