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Dr. Aurele Vuillemin

Dr. Aurele Vuillemin
Building A 71, Room 426 (Büro - Wissenschaftler/in)
14473 Potsdam

Function and Responsibilities:

Project manager of the FET Project PROSPECTOMICS

Research Interests:

Geologist with a PhD in geomicrobiology and 10 years of research experience in microbial ecology and limnogeology.

Highly trained in: Project management, scientific writing, wet lab procedures, PCR techniques and next generation sequencing (barcoded libraries, metagenomics, metatranscriptomics), data analysis, limnogeology, stratigraphic multiproxy, mineral authigenesis, drilling operations and field sampling.

After a Master in carbonate sedimentology, I moved to the field of geomicrobiology and investigated microbial populations in two lacustrine systems, namely a nitrogen-limited periglacial lake (Laguna Potrok Aike) and a phosphorus-limited tropical lake (Danau Towuti). I then worked on deep biosphere metabolic activities in abyssal clay from the North Atlantic and planktonic-benthic microbial populations in the Namibian oxygen minimum zone, using DNA/RNA Illumina sequencing. I presently work as project manager on PROSPECTOMICS to complement geological and geophysical prospecting of hydrocarbons with molecular tools.

External links:



Research Gate

Google Scholar


Web of Science


10.2017-12.2020: Postdoctoral research: Next generation sequencing surveys of the marine deep biosphere evidence a high taxonomic diversity, but do not account for ecological functions or growth rates. My work tackled this issue by extracting both DNA and RNA from oxic and anoxic deep abyssal clay of the Northern Atlantic Ocean. We applied quantitative PCR assays targeting taxonomic and functional genes, and Illumina sequencing of 16S rRNA genes, metagenomic and metatranscriptomic libraries. (LMU Munich, Orsi's Lab)

04.2015-06.2017, Eigene Stelle DFG grant (VU 94/1-1): Inspected the formation of authigenic minerals associated with microbial activity in ferruginous sediments from Lake Towuti, Indonesia. This research was part of the ICDP-funded Towuti Drilling Project. Microbial reduction processes and organic matter degradation in the sediment induce neoformation of minerals during early diagenesis (e.g. siderite, magnetite, vivianite). Mineral features and isotope compositions were compared to microbial assemblages (i.e. environmental DNA) and used as modern biosignatures for the Proterozoic ferruginous oceans. (GFZ Potsdam)

10.2013-03.2015, Early Postdoc.Mobility SNSF grant (P2GEP2_148621): Addressed the link between biogeochemistry and microbial populations in the sediments of Lake Towuti, Indonesia. Due to its iron-rich settings, the lake is ideal to study metal reduction processes and their influence on the sediment composition during early diagenesis. (GFZ Potsdam)

07.2008-06.2013, PhD thesis: “Characterizing the Subsurface Biosphere in Laguna Potrok Aike Sediments (Argentina) – a Case Study -" mainly focused on deep microbial populations in the sediment of the maar lake Potrok Aike, Argentinean Patagonia (ICDP-funded PASADO project). The approach included microbiological and geochemical methods such as 16S rRNA fingerprinting (DGGE, cloning, illumina), cell count, methane and fatty acid biogeochemistry and their related isotope compositions, pore water chemistry, phosphorus speciation and others. This thesis was awarded the CHGEOL Award 2013. (University of Geneva)

08.2006-04.2008, Master's thesis: “Contribution to the study of cement stratigraphy using a multi-methodological approach”, was centered on carbonates diagenesis using cathodoluminescence, X-ray microfluorescence, fluorescence microscopy, fluid inclusions and image analysis. This Master was awarded the 2008 ELSTE Price. (University of Geneva)


February 2021: Project manager in the frame of the FET Project PROSPECTOMICS, GFZ Potsdam

2017-20: Postdoc position at the Orsi's Lab, LMU Munich

2015-17: DFG Temporary Position as Principal Investigator, GFZ Potsdam

2013-15: SNSF Early Postdoc Mobility fellowship GFZ Potsdam

2008-13: PhD in Earth and environmental sciences (geomicrobiology),  University of Geneva

2007-08: Master's degree in Earth and environmental sciences (carbonate sedimentology), University of Geneva

2003-06: Bachelor's degree in Earth and environmental sciences, University of Geneva


DFG Project VU94/3-1

DFG Project VU94/1-1

SNSF Project P2GEP2 148621


2020: Editor's Choice at FEMS Microbiology Ecology, December 2020

2019-2020: LMU Mentoring Program awarded

2018: Editor's Choice at FEMS Microbiology Ecology, February 2018

2017-2019: LMU Mentoring Program awarded

2017: Seal of Excellence, Marie-Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship 2016

2013: CHGEOL Award 2013,  for Ph.D Thesis

2008: ELSTE-Augustin Lombard Price 2008, Master's Thesis

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