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Thursday, 14 October 2010 00:04

PhD Thesis in Biogeosciences / Environmental Sciences

The research group for analytical microscopy in Environmental- and Biogeoscience at the Institute for Geosciences at the University of Tuebingen is currently looking for a motivated PhD student working on

“Quantitative mapping of toxic metals on the submicron-scale in cell-mineral aggregates formed by iron mineral precipitating and dissolving bacteria”.

In the environment, toxic heavy metals are often bound to iron-minerals and to organic matter produced by microorganisms. Understanding of the bonding mechanisms is crucial for assessing potential remobilization of toxic heavy metals. This will be tackled at the submicron scale by advanced analytical microscopy approaches.

The proposed interdisciplinary research project aims at identifying mechanisms and quantifying amounts of toxic trace metal bonding to cell Fe-mineral aggregates on the submicron and micron scale. Therefore, synchrotron-based techniques such as chemically sensitive tomography with 100 nm resolution based on scanning transmission X-ray microscopy (STXM) shall be developed and optimized further. Additionally, in a novel approach confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) will be applied and optimized for up-scaling the high-resolution STXM data to environmentally relevant spatial scales such as biofilms in the mm-range.

We offer a PhD position in a young and interdisciplinary, international team of geomicrobiologists and (bio-)geochemists working with state of the art synchrotron techniques, electron microscopy and other analytical microscopies. The position provides an opportunity to establish own ideas, creativity and self-responsibility. The candidate will have the opportunity to learn, use and to further develop cutting-edge analytical microscopy techniques such as synchrotron-based STXM, electron microscopy, and CLSM. Candidates will also have the possibility to practice and improve their skills to plan/perform laboratory experiments, to analyze the data, to discuss and to present the results in a friendly atmosphere.

Candidates should have a background in environmental sciences, geo-ecology, bio-geosciences, chemistry or physics and like to work as team players in a highly interdisciplinary field. Technical skills, a weakness for applied physics and some programming experience (e.g. LabView, Matlab, IDL) would be quite beneficial. Applicants should have good communication skills and be highly motivated and committed to pursuing interdisciplinary research particularly focusing on environmental issues. Good computer- and language skills (English) are required.
The studentship will be funded by the DFG. The candidate will be employed by the University of Tuebingen at TVL E13 (50%). The start date of the 3-year contract is December 2010 or as soon as possible thereafter. We particularly encourage female applicants to apply for this position. Disabled persons will be preferred in case of equal qualification.

Applications should be sent by email before 31-Oct-2010 to:
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Marion Schäffling
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Institut für Geowissenschaften

Ansprechpartner: Dr. Martin Obst, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it



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