PhD Project in Geomicrobiology/Biogeochemistry
Center for Applied Geoscience, Institute for Geosciences
The research group for Geomicrobiology at the Institute for Geosciences at the University of Tübingen is looking for a PhD student (Geochemist, Geoecologist, Environmental Microbiologist) who will work on:
‘Microbial humic substance electron shuttling to Fe(III) minerals‘
Microorganisms can not only use dissolved and thus easily bioavailable electron acceptors such as O2, nitrate or sulfate but also poorly soluble Fe(III) minerals. Since these Fe(III) mineral particles cannot be taken up by the cells into their interior, these organisms have developed strategies to transfer the electrons released from cytoplasmic organic matter oxidation to the exterior of the cell and from there to the Fe(III) minerals.
A variety of fascinating electron transfer strategies have been demonstrated to occur including close contact direct electron transfer, complexation/dissolution of Fe(III), the development of conductive cellular appendices, so-called nanowires, and the use of redox-active organic molecules as electron shuttles.
However, many questions remain regarding the exact mechanism of microbial electron shuttling. This PhD project will determine under which environmental conditions electron shuttling via redox‐active humic substances is occurring. In particular we will determine i) the contribution of diffusion-controlled processes versus fast hopping of electrons via cascades of electron shuttles and ii) the spatial distances over which electron shuttling is possible. This interdisciplinary project includes field work (sampling and isolation of natural organic matter) and laboratory experiments ranging from cultivation of microbes, synthesis and characterization of Fe(III) minerals, design of experimental setups, of use of voltammetric iron microelectrodes and chemical analysis of aqueous and solid phases using state of the art spectroscopic techniques such as Mössbauer Spectroscopy. The project is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).
We are offering a PhD position in an interdisciplinary, international, young and dynamic team of geochemists, microbiologists, molecular ecologists, and geoscientists. This position provides an opportunity for the candidate to be creative and innovative, and to work on a challenging topic that combines various fields within environmental sciences. Ideal candidates should have a solid background in geochemistry, environmental microbiology and biogeochemistry. Applicants must have the ability to work independently and in a team, have excellent management and communication skills and should be highly motivated and committed to pursuing interdisciplinary research. Good computer and language skills (English) are necessary. The candidate will have the opportunity to present his/her results in international journals and conferences.
The starting date is January 15th 2016 or as soon as possible thereafter. The employment (TVL E13, 50%, 3 years) will be arranged by the administration of the University of Tübingen. Disabled persons will be preferred in case of equal qualification.
Applications including CV, motivation letter, overview of techniques and methods used in the past should be send by email before November 15th 2015 to:
Prof. Dr. Andreas Kappler, Geomicrobiology group, Center for Applied Geosciences, University of Tübingen Sigwartstrasse 10, D-72076 Tübingen, Germany, Phone: +49-7071-2974992
More information including recent publications can be found on our website: http://www.geo.uni‐tuebingen.de/arbeitsgruppen/angewandte‐geowissenschaften/geomikrobiologie/workgroup.html
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