Website University of Pisa, Department of Biology

Available 3 PhD positions on the topic “Integrative systematics and metagenomics for the study of ciliates and their bacterial symbionts”.


We are actively looking for competitive, not-Italian candidates

Candidates having any combination of the following expertise are especially welcome:

Ciliate biology, Protistology, evolutionary biology, ciliate or protist cell culturing, bacterial symbiont biology, traditional morphology and morphometric, taxonomy, systematics, evolution, host-symbiont interaction and co-evolution, silver nitrate and protargol cell staining, scientific hand drawing for taxonomic purposes, Scanning Electron Microscopy, Transmission Electron Microscopy, ecology, in vivo experiments with protist, advanced statistics, microbial ecology, molecular biology, molecular systematics, Next Generation Sequencing, bioinformatics, Linux, metagenomics assembly programs, metagenomic analysis, transcriptomics, comparative genomics, phylogenomics, metabolic pathway reconstruction, Rickettsiales and/or Verrucomicrobiales biology and genomics, microbiome characterization and analysis, bacterial and parasitic fish disease, wastewater treatment


Deadline for the application 19th July at 1.00 p.m. (Italian time, bureaucratic procedure is a bit complex)


All interested scholars are invited to contact each of us for any information, advice, or also for an “informal” pre-evaluation of their own Curriculum Vitae.

Our contacts are:

Letizia Modeo, email:

Giulio Petroni, email:


Please consider that probably one candidate will be selected to work mainly in Integrative Systematics while the other mainly in Metagenomics.


Please also note that scholars who already get a PhD outside Italy or students who will defend their diploma/master within 31/10/2017 are as well eligible for the application.

Interested candidates should submit the application before deadline (19th July at 1.00 p.m. Italian time) following instruction available at the links:


In the application, candidates will have to upload:

·         a detailed and signed Curriculum Vitae,

·         copy of University certificates with marks (foreign candidate MUST submit all certificates attesting their university qualification also translated in English),

·         copy of a valid identity document (e.g. identity card or Passport),

·         Any other material they consider useful for their evaluation such as: reference letters, publications, copy of the thesis, name and contact information of possible referees, a motivational letter, a letter in which they accept to spend one year abroad for research purpose in case it is required by supervisors, etc.


Applicants will have to pay a fee of 60 Euro (from abroad it can be paid online with credit card, paypal or bank transfer).


Based on the evaluation of uploaded documents, admission to oral examination will be decided and notified within the 1st of September 2017

Oral examination is scheduled on the 6th of September 2017, starting at 9.00 a.m.

Oral examination can be performed also via Skype. Applicants willing to use this facility will have to send a specific document (“Allegato D”) signed by a public officer (e.g. University supervisor), who must be present and guarantee for the correctness of the skype call that will have to be performed from a public office (e.g. University).

Positions starting date: 01/11/2017


Details about PhD positions:

·         One position with fellowship (about 1040 euro/month net for 3 years) is open to any candidate

·         One position with fellowship (about 1040 euro/month net for 3 years) is reserved to candidates who defended their diploma/Master outside Italy. For this reason we are especially looking for FOREIGN applicants

·         One position is without fellowship but we hope there will be the chance to find financial support with special programs or setting up collaborations with foreign laboratories. Please consider that PhD students without fellowship do have special support to get free housing in Pisa


PhD students will work in team with other Italian and foreign senior researchers, PhD and postdoc students. Our Unit has a long tradition of studies on morphology, ultrastructure, molecular phylogeny, and genomics of ciliated protist and their bacterial symbionts, as demonstrated by numerous papers published by our research group. For information, please visit Research Gate pages of:

Giulio Petroni:

Letizia Modeo:

Sergei Fokin: and

Franco Verni: .


Selected candidates will also have the possibility, and will be encouraged, to spend research periods abroad (in laboratories outside Italy). During research period abroad the fellowship will be 50% increased.


Best regards

Giulio and Letizia