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Postdoctoral Scholar in Microbiome Research (f/m/x)
The Helmholtz Centre Potsdam - GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences is the national centre for geosphere research. As a member of the Helmholtz Association we are part of the largest German scientific organization. With around 1,300 employees we develop a sound understanding of the systems and processes of the solid Earth as well as strategies and options for action to face global change and its regional impacts, to understand natural hazards and reduce associated risks, and to assess the influence of humans on the Earth's system.
As a partner in Geo.X, the GFZ has access to an excellent network of other geoscience institutions in Potsdam and Berlin. This largest regional concentration of geoscientific competence in Europe offers first-class cooperation and development opportunities. 
To complement our team in section 3.5 Interface Geochemistry in the Department of Geochemistry, we are looking for a: 

Postdoctoral Scholar in Microbiome Research (f/m/x)

Reference Number 4623

The post holder will become part of a dynamic international team from the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) in Potsdam, Germany and Aarhus University in Denmark, who together investigate microbial processes on the Greenland Ice Sheet in the framework of the ERC Synergy grant "Deep Purple"

We are seeking a highly motivated and enthusiastic scientist who wants to develop her/his/their skills in a complementary research environment, where different disciplines work closely together to obtain a holistic understanding of cryogenic algae-mineral interactions in snow and ice environments.

The main aim of the postdoctoral research will be to assess the changes in microbial diversity and function in cryophillic algae dominated habitats on the Greenland Ice Sheet. The focal point will be on seasonal field samples and their analyses using various 'omic' approaches with a special focus on eukaryotes. This work will be complemented by analyses of experimentally stressed field and culture systems. This way we hope to derive changes in functionality and pathways of gene expression related to the development of algal blooms during melting in the summer and re-freezing at the end of the season.

She/he/they will join the multidisciplinary, international and diverse Interface Geochemistry team of researchers led by Liane G. Benning, who is very committed to fostering a fully inclusive research environment. Non-discrimination and equal treatment are integral parts of our group policy. The appointed postdoctoral fellow will also spend up to several months in the Cryo-Microbiology group at Aarhus University and in other specialized laboratories in the world. Fieldwork, including camping on the Greenland Ice Sheet under harsh conditions is an integral part of the project.

Your responsibilities:

  • conduct original research related to molecular-microbiological processes shaping microbial communities in cryophilic terrestrial environments
  • elucidate phenotypic characteristics, substrate utilization patterns, and stress-encoding gene expression of cryophile algae from field and laboratory culture systems
  • develop and apply bioinformatic methods for eukaryotic analyses of complex sequencing data 
  • publish in international peer-reviewed journals; present research results at scientific meetings
  • lead and/or considerably contribute to writing of proposals for third-party funding
  • help co-supervise Masters and PhD students

Your qualifications:

  • MSc and above-average PhD in molecular microbiology, geobiology, biochemistry or equivalent showing evidence of a strong and ambitious research-oriented profile and documented research productivity
  • specialized knowledge of and practical experience in sequencing and bioinformatics of complex natural and cultured eukaryotic dominated samples
  • experience in experimental manipulations of analogue laboratory cultures for stress response analyses
  • polar field work is a part of the project, so willingness/experience in outdoor activities is a bonus
  • experience in working at the interface between microbiology and bio(geo)chemistry
  • capacity for interdisciplinary and international teamwork and excellent communication skills
  • documentable excellent publication and 3rd party funding records
  • proficiency in spoken and written English, German is an asset

Start date: 1st April 2021
Fixed-term: 36 months (with possibility of extension)
Salary: This position has been assessed as being salary group 13 according to “TVöD Bund (Tarifgebiet Ost)”. The salary group will be determined by the conditions of the collective wage agreement and the appropriate personal qualifications.
Working hours: full-time (currently 39 h/week); The position is, in principle, suitable for part-time employment.
Place of work: Potsdam

What we offer:

  • ambitious and varied tasks in a dynamic and international research environment
  • state-of-the-art equipment
  • public service benefits
  • extensive training opportunities
  • professional career advice offered by our in-house Career-Centre
  • flexible working hours and conditions
  • family friendly
  • support with finding a good work-life balance offered by benefit@work
  • institute day-care centre on site
  • working at the Albert Einstein science park on the Telegrafenberg in Potsdam 

Did we pique your interest?

If so, we are looking forward to receiving your application by the 15th January 2021. Please use our online application form only and you must submit the following documents:

1. Cover letter stating how you fit the above described required qualifications and how you see yourself fulfill the responsibilities of the post.
2. Detailed CV and full Publication list as well as details for 3 potential referees.
Equal opportunity is an inherent part of our personnel policy. Therefore, we explicitly welcome applications from qualified women. Severely disabled candidates with equal qualifications will be given preference according to the SGB IX.
Your personal data will be processed for the purpose of conducting the selection procedure on the basis of Art. 6 para. 1 b, Art. 88 GDPR in conjunction with Art. 26 of the Data Protection Act for the State of Brandenburg. After completion of the procedure, application documents will be deleted in compliance with data protection regulations. Members of the Cryo-Microbiology group of the Aarhus University, Denmark will be involved in the selection procedure. Your personal data will, of course, be treated confidentially and will be communicated to the involved person exclusively for the purpose of evaluating your professional suitability within the framework of this selection procedure. Once the procedure has been completed, the personal data will also be deleted there in compliance with data protection regulations.
In case of any further queries relating to the role’s responsibilities, please contact Liane G. Benning (benning@gfz-potsdam.de). If you have any general questions about the application process, please contact Ms Poralla on +49 (0) 331-288-28787.


Louise Poralla
Abteilung Personal
Gebäude G, Raum 429
14473 Potsdam
+49 331 288-28787
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