Postdoctoral research associate ("Microbial pyrite formation – a novel energy metabolism")

The research group Geomicrobiology within the Department of Microorganisms of the Leibniz-Institute DSMZ - German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures offers the position of a Postdoctoral research associate  ("Microbial pyrite formation – a novel energy metabolism").

The appointment will be initially for 2 years and is subject to extension based on a positive interim evaluation. The salary level will be according to TV-L 13. The position is offered as full time and is not appropriate for part time work.

Pyrite is the most abundant iron-sulfur mineral in sediments. Over geological times, its burial in sediments controlled oxygen levels in the atmosphere and sulfate concentrations in seawater. The exergonic reaction of FeS with H2S to form FeS2 (pyrite) and H2 was also postulated as an early form of energy metabolism on primordial Earth. In a recent publication in PNAS (, we could show that a stable enrichment of microorganisms can mediate pyrite formation at ambient temperature and gain energy from this process. The aim of this project will be to decipher the pathway of pyrite formation and to identify those microorganisms in the enrichment, which drive this process. This will be achieved by a combination of metagenomics and metatranscriptomics, FISH analyses combined with RAMAN spectroscopy, electron microscopy, and cultivation-based approaches.

We seek a highly motivated and creative person with a track record in the fields of microbial physiology, molecular microbiology, and geomicrobiology. Candidates should hold a doctoral degree in microbiology or a similar research field. Working experience in meta-omics techniques, bioinformatics analyses, microscopy techniques and cultivation work is a pre-requisite. Familiarity with running bioreactors is considered as a plus.

The Leibniz Institute DSMZ ( is one of the largest and most diverse bioresource centers in the world. The DSMZ offers a lively and international working place and forms together with neighboring institutes a strong center for basic and applied research. The medieval city center of Braunschweig as well as close proximity to the Harz National Park and to major German cities such as Berlin and Hamburg offer a wide range of recreational and cultural activities. The institutes of the Leibniz Association strive to increase the proportion of female scientists. Disabled applicants with identical qualification will be preferentially selected. The DSMZ is an equal opportunity employer, supports balanced work-life career development, and holds the certificate of the audit berufundfamilie.

For further information please contact Prof. Dr. Michael Pester ( Please send your complete application documents including a CV, motivation letter, copies of certificates, two reference letters, and at least two publications in a single pdf file to

Application deadline:
Start date: Open until filled
Location: Leibniz Institute DSMZ, Braunschweig, germany