Open positions:


Two fully funded PhD positions in Plant Cell Biology

Two 3.5-years PhD positions are offered at the University of Vienna & University of Applied Life Sciences (BOKU), Austria. The successful candidate will enroll for PhD studies at the University of Vienna and become a member of the Vienna Doctoral School of Ecology and Evolution (VDSEE)

  •  Project description

Toxic or just a nuisance – how mosses cope with heavy metal stress

Increasing concern about pollution in the environment demands tools to determine metal accumulation in plants. Mosses are widely used for metal biomonitoring on a phenomenological level, but there is no fundamental understanding of the metal dynamics and factors governing adsorption and toxicity. Most studies focus on single metals, despite clear indications that metal combination and complexation play a crucial role. We will use a combination of state-of-the-art imaging techniques, such as light, fluorescence and electron microscopy, x-ray fluorescence imaging and x-ray absorption spectroscopy to track metal adsorption, speciation and dynamics in moss plantlets. These studies will be complemented by biochemical analysis and x-ray scattering and diffraction to determine any changes in ultrastructure and composition of the cell wall.

We will gain important insights into the co- and cross-playing effects of different metals and metal compounds, thus shedding light on the underlying coping mechanisms of plants when confronted with environmental contamination. The project is a joint effort by the groups of Ingeborg Lang at the Department of Functional and Evolutionary Ecology (UNIVIE) and Helga Lichtenegger at the Institute of Material Physics (BOKU).

  •  Qualifications

We are seeking two highly motivated PhD students for this joint project with a master‘s degree in biology, molecular biology materials science, physics, (bio-)chemistry, biotechnology, (bio-)engineering or related area and a strong interest to work in the field of biophysics, plant biochemistry and physiology.

  • Funding

The positions is fully funded (30h/week) by a FWF grant (P-336070-B) for 3.5 years.

  • Application procedure

Please send your applications with all relevant information, including a motivation letter clearly stating the interest in the project, your curriculum vitae, full transcript of grades (with grade key in English) and the contact details of at least two references, to or

Application deadline: 17th Oct 2022

Starting date: November 2022


Gender equality, diversity and non-discrimination

© Manuel Lavoriero

The University pursues a non-discriminatory employment policy and values equal opportunities, as well as diversity ( The University lays special emphasis on increasing the number of women in senior and in academic positions. Given equal qualifications, preference will be given to female applicants.

The University of Vienna has an institutionalised gender equality policy and within this framework VDSEE strives to strengthen the career development of female scientists at all qualifications levels and to support compatibility between family and work/training.

The Gender Equality and Diversity unit of the University of Vienna provides services which, based on the issue of gender equality, aim at ensuring equal opportunities for all university members.