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PhD Project in Microbial Molecular Ecology-Dispersant impacts on oil degrading microorganisms

PhD Project in Microbial Molecular Ecology

The research group for Microbial Molecular Ecology in the Geomicrobiology department at the University of Tübingen is looking for a PhD student (Environmental Microbiologist, Molecular Ecologist) who will work on:

Dispersant impacts on oil degrading microorganisms

In marine environments, chemical dispersants are routinely applied after oil spills. Dispersants are used to dissolve oil accumulations, prevent oiling of coastlines, and disperse oil in the aqueous phase, which is believed to stimulate microbial oil biodegradation. In contrast, very recently it was shown that chemical dispersants can suppress microbial activity of hydrocarbon-degrading populations, however, the mechanisms (e.g. overgrowth by dispersant degraders or inhibition by dispersant compounds, etc.) remain largely unknown.

This PhD project will identify and examine active hydrocarbon degraders in the presence and absence of dispersants as well as active dispersant degraders in the presence and absence of hydrocarbons. In particular, stable-isotope probing (SIP) and/or NanoSIMS microcosm experiments will be carried out using 13C-labeled compounds. Illumina sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene in combination with SIP will identify active microorganisms from the microcosms. Fluorescence in situ hybridization will be applied to visualize and quantify microbial populations of interest. Omics techniques, i.e. Proteomics, will be used to identify proteins that are expressed in the presence of dispersants. Proteomics data will be the basis for the development of molecular assays (e.g. qPCR) that will be used to track microbial responses to dispersants in environmental samples.
We are offering a PhD position in an interdisciplinary, international, and dynamic team of molecular ecologists, microbiologists, geochemists and geoscientists. This position provides an opportunity for the candidate to be creative and innovative, and to work on a challenging topic that gets international, public attention and combines various fields within environmental sciences. Ideal candidates should have a solid background in molecular ecology and environmental microbiology. Applicants must have the ability to work independent and in a team, have excellent management and communication skills and should be highly motivated and committed to pursuing interdisciplinary research. Very good computer and language skills (English) are necessary. The candidate will have the opportunity to present his/her results in international journals and at conferences.

The starting date is March 1st 2016 or as soon as possible thereafter. The project is funded by the Baden-Württemberg Stiftung within the framework of the Elite Program for Postdocs. 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 January 15th 2016 to:

Dr. Sara Kleindienst, Microbial Molecular Ecology Group, Geomicrobiology, Center for Applied Geosciences, University of Tübingen, Hölderlinstr. 12, D-72074 Tübingen, Germany, Phone: +49-7071-2975496
Email: sara.kleindienst@uni-tuebingen.de

More information including recent publications on the advertised PhD topic can be found on the website: http://www.geo.uni-tuebingen.de/arbeitsgruppen/angewandte-geowissenschaften/forschungsbereich/geomikrobiologie/members/sara-kleindienst.html
How to apply:
Applications including CV, motivation letter, overview of techniques and methods used in the past should be send by email
Kontakt für Bewerbungen
Dr. Sara Kleindienst, Microbial Molecular Ecology Group, Geomicrobiology
Center for Applied Geosciences
University of Tübingen
Hölderlinstr. 12
D-72074 Tübingen
Phone: +49-7071-2975496
Email: sara.kleindienst@uni-tuebingen.de
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Über Institut für Geowissenschaften

The Center of Applied Geosciences (ZAG) is one of the largest universitzy research centers in Europe focusing on applied environmental research in the subsurface. For more technical information see http://www.uni-tuebingen.de/zag.

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