Collective behaviour of heterogenous nematode groups

Supervisor: Dr. Serena Ding

The Genes and Behavior group headed by Dr. Serena Ding is seeking a doctoral student to join our research on heterogeneous nematode swarms. We are broadly interested in how and why nematodes behave collectively. To address our research questions, we use a combination of genetic, behavioural, and modelling techniques to study aggregation and swarming behaviour in groups of nematodes including C. elegans.

For this project, we are specifically interested in how heterogeneous group compositions affect the phenomenology and the adaptive outcome of nematode swarms in the context of collective chemotaxis. We envision, for example, groups comprising both leader- and follower-type of worms that collectively navigate chemical gradients.

You will join our interdisciplinary team at the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behaviour and also benefit from close interactions with the Centre for the Advanced Study of Collective Behaviour. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to work with state-of-the-art behavioural imaging, tracking, and analysis techniques.


  • MSc in behavioural science or a related field
  • Enthusiasm for research and attention to detail
  • Willingness and ability to work both independently and collaboratively
  • Strong quantitative data analysis skills; proficiency in at least one programming language (Matlab, Python), or willingness to learn one
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills in English
  • Prior experience working with C. elegans and/or fluorescence imaging is beneficial but not necessary

The position is fully funded for four years starting October 2023 (TVöD salary scale 13, 65%). 

The University of Konstanz and the Max Planck Society are equal opportunity employers that are committed to providing employment opportunities to all qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, or disability. They seek to increase the number of women in those areas where they are underrepresented and therefore explicitly encourage women to apply  (Equal opportunity). Persons with disabilities are explicitly encouraged to apply.

They will be given preference if appropriately qualified (contact +49 7531 88 4016).

Go to Editor View