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PhD programme in Biology (27.08.2021)
The effect of aging on body temperature dependent antioxidative capacity, and thus oxidative stress: the burden of heterothermyh

Pursuant to § 7 sections 1 and 3 of Resolution No. 5/I/2020 of the Senate of the Jagiellonian University of 29 January 2020 on: the rules of recruitment for the Doctoral School of Exact and Natural Sciences at the Jagiellonian University in the academic year 2020/2021, the Director of the Doctoral School of Exact and Natural Sciences announces a competition for 1 doctoral student with a scholarship financed from the research project funds as part of the PhD programme in Biology.

Within the OPUS 20 project entitled "The effect of aging on body temperature dependent antioxidative capacity, and thus oxidative stress: the burden of heterothermyh", a commission set up at the School will conduct recruitment for the  PhD programme in Biology in the academic year 2020/21.

The project manager, dr hab Ulf Bauchinger offers an opportunity to complete the doctorates in the following area: "The effect of aging on body temperature dependent antioxidative capacity, and thus oxidative stress: the burden of heterothermyh".

After the interviews and the evaluation of the candidates, the Chairman of the committee presents a report to the Director containing a list of candidates recommended for admission to the school as part of the research project.

Schedule of the competition:

  • Opening of the competition: 10 September 2021r.
  • Application submission deadline: 19 September 2021r.
  • Entrance exams: 22-24 September 2021 r. 
  • Announcement of results: 27 September 2021 r.
  • Enrolment: 29-30 September 2021 r.

Detailed terms and procedures of admission

Project description:

As endotherms, mammals and birds have evolved the capacity to thermoregulate, an evolutionary achievement with profound impact on biology and ecology. Endothermy, however, does not necessarily entail a constant body temperature throughout a day, a year or a life time. Instead, many mammals are known to hibernate seasonally or enter torpor, reducing their body temperature by a few °C to several tens of °C below the normothermic level. Birds are known to also become torpid or and reduce body temperature during the night by rather a few °C with some exceptions of up to two tens of °C. These 
on first sight small temperature drops may, however, have profound effects on enzymatic activity. The rate of biochemical reactions in general, and enzymatic reactions in particular are highly temperature dependent, which also applies to enzymes that act as antioxidants against free radicals. They protect against the negative effects of oxidative stress through free radical scavenging and if this protective enzymatic action is reduced in its rate, free radicals may remain unchecked, which may lead to oxidative damage of biomolecules. Such oxidative damage risks functional integrity of biomolecules and is currently one of the most frequently forwarded driver of aging. This research is designed to understand how regulation of body temperature may be hampered by increasing age and how this impaired thermoregulatory capability may lead to increased oxidative stress when animals grow old. 
While it is well established for mammals, including us humans, that body temperature and the capacity 
to thermoregulate declines with increasing age, such data are virtually absent for birds, and in addition were never linked to oxidative stress. Our research project will provide thorough understanding how age 
in the context of senescence influences thermoregulation in birds. The second goal of our research is then to relate the thermogenic capacity of birds of different age to oxidative stress to test the hypothesis that body temperature is related to the rate of oxidative damage. 
For further information please contact Ulf Bauchinger (


Candidate profile

  • MSc in life science (biology, ecology, evolution, zoology or related)
  • interest physiological ecology and animal metabolism
  • experience, or at least interest in experimental work with birds /
  • excitement to perform research in an international team 
  • good level of spoken and written English
An additional advantage will be:
  • Achievements such as publications or conference presentations are considered advantageous