ENAC – PhD position to investigate the product(s) of microbial uranium reduction

We are offering a 100% PhD researcher position to investigate the products of microbial uranium reduction for a duration of 4 years at the Environmental Microbiology Laboratory (EML), School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering (ENAC), at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) in Lausanne, Switzerland. EML has a strong record in uranium biogeochemistry and this project builds on that expertise.

Uranium is a contaminant is the subsurface as a result of its mining and processing for the production of nuclear fuel. The remediation of uranium contamination includes its reduction by microorganisms such as Shewanella oneidensis, MR-1. This project deals formation of a non-crystalline uranium product that is poorly understood. It involves using a combination of microbiology, chemistry and thermodynamics to unravel the fundamental characteristics of this material. The thermodynamic studies will be carried out during a research stay of 18 months at the Institute for Nuclear Waste Disposal of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany to work with Dr Xavier Gaona. At EPFL, the student will work with Dr Karin Meibom to generate mutants and Dr Barbora Bartova for electron microscopy characterization in addition to the primary advisor (Prof. Rizlan Bernier-Latmani).

Your job

  • Carry out laboratory experimental work with uranium and bacteria or chemicals
  • Participate in microscopic analyses of the samples
  • Generate bacterial genetic mutants
  • Perform experiments to constrain the thermodynamic parameter of uranium products
  • Participate in general laboratory tasks
  • Take classes required by the doctoral school
  • Write publications
  • Attend and present at international conferences

We expect

  • Educational background in chemistry or microbiology
  • A mixed microbiology and geochemistry background is an asset
  • Computer skills: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Prism
  • Language: fluent English
  • Willingness to move to Germany for 18 months
  • Self-motivation, scientific curiosity, critical thinking and rigor in experiment work
  • Good communication skills and ability to work as part of an international team
  • Enthusiasm, willingness to learn, good organizational skills, versatility

We offer

  • An opportunity to develop a scientific career in the context of an interdisciplinary project
  • A unique opportunity to learn high-end techniques and approaches
  • The opportunity to build a scientific network in the field of environmental geochemistry
  • Excellent educational conditions and competitive remuneration
  • A multi-cultural and stimulating scientific environment

How to apply

Please send the following documents as a single pdf file to [email protected]:

  • A letter of motivation
  • Copy of your CV
  • Two references
  • Copy of your Master degree
  • Copy of your Bachelor degree

The position is to start in 2022 (exact start date is negotiable).

Deadline: Applications will be evaluated starting December 31st.

This is a one year contract renewable for a maximum of 4 years according to EPFL rules

For reference of past research please visit: https://www.epfl.ch/labs/eml/.