PhD position in breath metabolomics for enhancing dairy cattle welfare and health 100%, Zurich, fixed-term: The Group of Animal Nutrition, together with the Group of Analytical Chemistry and the Group of Air Quality and Particle Technology is seeking;

a motivated, team-oriented person with a strong interest in the interface of basic and applied research in agricultural and nutrition sciences to develop a non-invasive method as a tool for assessing rumen fermentation and microbial functions, and metabolic health in dairy cows, in order to improve the animal welfare. The duration of the position is three years, and starting date is expected to be in September 2023.

Project background

This interdisciplinary research project includes:

  1. Investigate the potential of using exhalomics (breath metabolomics) as a non-invasive tool for assessing rumen microbial functions and animal metabolic health in ruminant animals.
  2. Developing gas sensors for species in animal breath.
  3. Evaluating the effect of nutritional manipulations.
  4. Identifying and validating biomarkers for the health of animals.
  5. Evaluating and comparing the performance of various analytical platforms, and sensors.

Job description:

You are expected to conduct interdisciplinary research in animal nutrition and analytical chemistry. Affinity for animal experiments and laboratory work is essential. The job duties include,

  • to develop gas sensors;
  • to conduct in vivo experiments;
  • to conduct lab analysis;
  • to conduct statistical analysis and modelling;
  • to publish and present your research findings.

Your profile:

  • A master’s degree in Chemistry, Biology, Agricultural Science, Animal Science, Nutrition Science, Food Science, Veterinary Medicine, or related disciplines is a prerequisite for official doctoral admission at ETH Zurich.
  • A strong interest in electrochemistry, analytical chemistry, biology, nutritional physiology, microbiology, or statistics is preferable.
  • Communication capability in English is a must.

We offer

We offer exciting and future-oriented projects in highly motivated research groups with excellent experimental and laboratory facilities. These are provided at the ETH Hönggerberg (Groups of Analytical Chemistry and Air Quality and Particle Technology) as well as research centre AgroVet-Strickhof (Group of Animal Nutrition). Supervision will be close but allows independent work. Scientific writing and participation in scientific conferences are very much supported. 

We value diversity

In line with our values, ETH Zurich encourages an inclusive culture. We promote equality of opportunity, value diversity and nurture a working and learning environment in which the rights and dignity of all our staff and students are respected.

Curious? So are we.

We look forward to receiving your online application with the following documents:

  • CV incl. publication list (if applicable)
  • A statement (up to 1,000 words) describing your motivation, experience, and planned contributions to the position
  • Bachelor and master transcripts and certificates (incomplete MSc. transcript is fine if the candidate is finishing the MSc. study)
  • Names, affiliation, and contact details for three individuals willing to act as a reference
  • Master’s thesis as a pdf file (if applicable/available)

Please note applications sent via email or postal services will not be considered. Interested applicants must upload the following documents through the ETH Zurich online application portal.
Contact Prof. Niu ( and Prof. Wang (  for further questions. Applications will be reviewed immediately and are accepted until the position is filled.

Apply online now

About ETH Zürich:

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society.

Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.

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