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Current Projects of the DK+


The graduate student program offers a unique multidisciplinary PhD training on Microbial Nitrogen Cycling approached from the three complementary areas of Microbial Ecology, Functional Genomics and Ecosystem Research at the University of Vienna. Our mission is to provide an excellent interdisciplinary education, extensive laboratory training and international networking.

Ten PhD positions were funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) for up to 4 years from January 1, 2016 until the end of the project in December 2019 in Vienna. After a rigorous interview process, we assembled an international team of excellent students from diverse backgrounds to join our labs.

Additionally, ten PhD students from the participating labs working in relevant topics were also included in the educational measures of the program and supported financially.

In the following links you can find more information about the projects, principal investigators and students of the DK+ and their activities, including conference presentations:


Terrestrial Ecosystems and Eukaryote/Microbe Interaction


Impact of N-processes in animal-bacteria associations - PI: Silvia Bulgheresi, PhD student: Gabriela Paredes

Unraveling microbial nitrogen utilization and turnover in soil by Chip-SIP - PI: Andreas Richter, PhD student: Joana Silva

Plant-microbe interaction in the nitrification process - PI: Wolfram Weckwerth, PhD student: Arindam Ghatak

Effects of nutrients on N-fixation of Lotus spp. and Rhizobium strains - PI: Stefanie Wienkoop, PhD student: Sebastian Schneider

Investigating factors that govern biological N2 fixation in soil by CHIP-SIP - PI: Dagmar Woebken, PhD student: Marlies Dietrich


Metabolic Flexibility and Niche Differentiation


Post-genomic characterization of Nitrospina, a major marine nitrite oxidizer - PI: Holger Daims, PhD student: Anna Müller

Relation between the age and morphology of marine snow and N cycling - PI: Gerhard Herndl, PhD student: Paul Steiner

Model-based optimization of cultivation conditions for nitrifiers - PI: Thomas Rattei, PhD student: Javier Geijo 

Differential gene expression in ammonia oxidizing archaea - PI: Christa Schleper, PhD student: Logan Hodgskiss

Importance of cyanate as substrate for nitrifiers - PI: Michael Wagner, PhD student: Johanna Wiesinger




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