Deadline: 2015-01-11
Level Of Study: PhD

PhD student in the area of transmission of waterborne viruses-risk assessment

Eawag, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, is a Swiss-based and internationally networked aquatic research institute located in Dubendorf near Zurich. EPFL, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne, is a top-tier European research institution located in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. For a joint project, the Microbial Exposure and Human Health Group at Eawag and the Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry at EPFL (; Lausanne, Switzerland) are seeking a

PhD student in the area of transmission of waterborne viruses / risk assessment

The objective of this joint project is to evaluate the risks arising from the transfer of waterborne viruses between human skin and liquids. The magnitude of skin/liquid virus transfer is directly related to infection risks associated with, for example, collection of human and animal waste; swimming at contaminated beaches; contact with storm water run-off or sewerage; contamination of stored drinking water; hand hygiene; zoonotic infections; and hospital-acquired infections. Despite the importance of virus transfer at the skin/liquid interface, the processes that influence transfer remain unknown.

We are looking for highly motivated candidates with a Masters degree in environmental sciences or engineering, biology, chemistry or a related field, and with a strong interest in waterborne pathogens. The PhD student will carry out a thesis in the area of virus transmission at the skin/liquid interface. For this project, we will use a combination of virus culturing methods, chemical analytical and molecular biology techniques, as well as risk modelling tools.

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The overall goals include
elucidating the impact of solution and skin properties on viral transfer
collecting field data on virus-skin transfer
applying findings to quantify risks associated with various liquid-exposure scenarios (e.g., risks
  associated with urine collection for resource acquisition from urine diverting toilets).

The position will start after September 2014, and the main work location is Dubendorf (Eawag); occasional travel to Lausanne (EPFL) and Durban, South Africa (field site) may be required. The group language is English, therefore a good command of both spoken and written English is essential. PhD applicants must be accepted by the EPFL Doctoral School in order to pursue a PhD. For more information, please see

Deadline for applications is 15 September 2014 or until the position is filled.

For further information about Eawag and the PhD position, consult or contact Dr Timothy Julian, Email

We look forward to receiving your application including – a motivation letter, a CV, the name and contact information of at least two references and 1-2 page summary of your Master thesis (if available). Please send your application through this webpage, any other way of applying will not be considered. Please click on the following link, which will take you directly to the application form.

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