PhD position in bioelectrochemical enrichment of metals

The University of Bremen is offering (under the condition of job release) at the earliest possible date:

Ph.D. position in bioelectrochemical enrichment of metals
Salary group 13 TV-L (75 %), 36 months

in an interdisciplinary project at the interface of microbiology, electrochemistry and material sciences. The motivation of this PhD project is the search for new technological approaches for the extraterrestrial fabrication of metal alloys under tough environmental constraints, in particular the limitation of utilizing mineral and energy resources available in situ on Mars or Moon. More specifically, the project aims at exploring bio-based possibilities to extract iron species from regolith and enrich them as purified iron compounds. These compounds are then used in steel-making processes based on non-conventional metallurgy. In this sub project, microbial electrochemical technologies such as microbial fuel cells (MFCs) and microbial electrolysis cells (MECs) will be used for enhanced production and selective recovery of metal ion species. Microbial communities developing in MFCs will be characterized using state-of-the-art tools such as high-throughput sequencing, metagenomics and metatranscriptomics.

Within the new research initiative in close collaboration with the Hochschule Bremen (HSB), Ph.D. students are supervised by a team of experienced scientists ranging from electrochemistry, material sciences to microbiology and biomimetics. Additional training and support are offered by international graduate Programmes within the MAPEX Center for Materials and Processes, the MarMic Graduate School and the Biomimetic-Innovation-Centre (HSB). These offers include expert as well as skills and methods courses, coaching, networking opportunities, and the opportunity to compete for internal funds. Ph.D. students have the opportunity to acquire expert knowledge in their field and a solid background across many disciplines involved in the interdisciplinary project.

Specific tasks will include:
1. Setting up and running novel microbial electrochemical enrichments
2. Characterization of metal ions and solid metal compounds by chemical and spectroscopic methods
3. Extraction and analysis of nucleic acids from bioreactor samples
4. Investigation and optimization of conversion efficiency and energy demands
5. Bioinformatic and statistical analysis of data
6. Opportunity for scientific qualification in the context of a PhD degree

Your profile:
• A completed MSc or diploma degree in Microbiology, Biochemistry, Electrochemistry, Material Sciences or a comparable program
• Interest in interdisciplinary research
• Interest in developing new methods for microbial fuel cell technology
• Skills in (bio)informatics would be advantageous
• Working in teams, visiting collaboration partners

The goal of the MAPEX is the system-oriented research and development of materials and processes for sustainable transport and energy applications. The centre merges the know-how of more than 1000 scientific and technical staff, 480 of which are doctoral candidates, active in the fields of natural and engineering sciences as well as mathematics and aiming at a thorough understanding of the process-properties-performance relationships in materials.
MarMic is the International Max-Planck-Research School (IMPRS) with a focus on marine microbiology at the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology. Since its foundation in 2005 the Biomimetics-Innovation-Centre at the Hochschule Bremen has been coordinating research activities in the fields of fundamental interdisciplinary research and development.

The University of Bremen follows a diversity strategy. It strives to increase the number of women in the academy and strongly encourages applications from suitably qualified female candidates. International applications and applications of academics with a migration background are explicitly welcome. Disabled persons with the same professional and personal qualifications will be given preference. The employment is fixed-term and governed by the Act of Academic Fixed-Term Contract, §2 I (Wissenschaftszeitvertragsgesetz – WissZeitVG). Therefore, candidates may only be considered for appointment if they still have the respective qualification periods available in accordance with § 2 (1) WissZeitVG.

Institution contact information

Information regarding the open PhD position can be obtained by contacting Sven Kerzenmacher (Bioelectrochemistry;, Michael Friedrich (Microbiology; and Jan-Henning Dirks (Biomimetics;

We look forward to receiving your e-mail application in English including CV, letter of motivation, and reference contacts!



External link

PhD position “Design of a Bioelectrochemical Biogas Plant”

The Research Group Environmental Process Engineering at the University of Bremen (Germany) seeks candidates for a PhD position (36 months) in the field of designing a bioelectrochemical biogas plant. Candidates should hold a Master’s degree (or equivalent) in
Chemical & Environmental Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Biotechnology (or related fields)

*Your tasks*
The underlying idea of this project is the integration of a microbial electrolysis cell into the biogas plant. At the MECs anode, organic acids are oxidized to carbon dioxide, releasing electrons. These electrons can in turn be used at the cathode to reduce protons to molecular hydrogen. By the electrochemical oxidation of organic acids at the anode, the acidification of the fermenter can be prevented while at the same time pure hydrogen is obtained, which can be further used e.g. to produce valuable chemicals. Your tasks include the characterization and development suitable electrode and membrane materials to construct the microbial electrolysis cell. Based on these materials, an MEC design suitable for integration into the biogas plant shall be developed, and implemented into a model biogas plant. Finally, the complete system will be extensively characterized and limited processes identified. Special regard shall be given to the prevention of hydrogenotrophic microbial growth at the cathode, which would reduce the hydrogen yield.

*Your profile*
We are looking for highly motivated individuals with excellent scientific record. Successful candidates must be good experimentators and possess strong communication skills. Ideally, the candidates have previous experience in the fields of (bio-)electrochemistry.

*What we offer*
The University of Bremen and its Center for Environmental Research and Sustainable Technology offer an excellent scientific environment for interdisciplinary research. The full-time position (salary level 100% E 13) is affiliated to the Research Group Environmental Process Engineering. Our interdisciplinary research is focused on fundamentals, materials, and processes for sustainable environmental engineering and biotechnology.

Institution contact information

Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Sven Kerzenmacher
University of Bremen
Research Group Environmental Process Engineering



External link

1st ISMET Virtual meeting: update

The 1st ISMET Virtual meeting will gather researchers and industry affiliates to present and discuss the latest advances in the Microbial Electrochemistry and Technology field.

This three-day meeting will have three keynote talks with outstanding researchers from the field, and several short presentations that covers different topics, including fundamental research on extracellular electron transfer processes, design of bioelectrochemical systems and electrode materials, as well as mode of operating of these systems. It will also accounts for two poster sessions where the ISMET community will have the opportunity to present the latest discoveries of the Microbial Electrochemistry and Technology field. The Innovation and Discovery award from the ISMET will also be announced.

Join us in the 1st Virtual Meeting from the ISMET community. This meeting will be free for ISMET members.

Nomination for the ISMET Awards 2020 open

Nomination for the ISMET Awards is open until August 30th 2020 

  • Best Scientific Discovery Award
  • Innovation Award for Breakthrough Technological Advancement

Nominations for both ISMET Awards are to be sent before August 30th 2020 to the ISMET Awards committee at the following address: by the Supervisor of the publication or work being nominated.
Papers or technical innovations eligible for the awards must be published between July 1st 2019 and July 30th 2020. See the awards section for detailed information.

The award nomination should contain the following:

  • Full name and affiliation of the nominee.
  • Full name and affiliation of the nominator.
  • Statement that nominee was graduate student or postdoctoral researcher or industry affiliate at the time of publication.
  • Statement that the nominee and nominator are members of ISMET in good standing.
  • For Discovery Award: An attachment with the publication for which the nominee is being nominated.
  • For Innovation Award: Paper or relevant documentation describing the breakthrough technological innovation.

First virtual ISMET meeting

We invite you to participate in the 1st Virtual ISMET Meeting. It will take place from 7th to 9th October 2020, and will reunite scientists from all the word to discuss the recent discoveries on microbial electrochemical technologies.

In this three-day meeting, there will be short presentations covering different topics of this field, including fundamental research on extracellular electron transfer processes, design of bioelectrochemical systems and electrode materials, as well as mode of operating of these systems, and two poster sessions.

The award winners of the innovation and discovery ISMET awards will be announced, and the new ISMET board members from the three ISMET regions will also be presented.

Given the current situation due to the COVID-19, and to guarantee that the ISMET community stays in touch with the community, we invite you to participate in this Virtual Meeting. No registration fee is required, but the payment of the ISMET membership is mandatory.

In order to track the number of participants, and to certificate your ISMET membership you have to register in this event.

Thank you,

​The organizing commitee,

Catarina, Fernanda and Lucinda

PhD position for Microbial Electrosynthesis

The Cluster of Excellence SE²A ‐ Sustainable and Energy Efficient Aviation is a DFG‐funded interdisciplinary research center investigating technologies for a sustainable and eco‐friendly air transport system. Scientists from engineering, economics, chemistry and biology are working on the reduction of drag, emissions and noise, life‐cycle concepts for airframes, improvements in air traffic management and new technologies for energy storage and conversion.

The objective of the project “Fundamentals of ElectroFuel Synthesis for Aviation” is to lay the scientific foundation for the production of liquid aviation fuels via electrosynthesis and bioelectrosynthesis. It is an interdisciplinary project carried out at the TU Braunschweig in close collaboration between the Institute of Environmental and Sustainable Chemistry (Electrosynthesis & microbial electrosynthesis ‐ Prof. Uwe Schröder), the Institute of Biochemical Engineering (Bioelectrosynthesis ‐ Prof. Antje Spiess) and the Institute of Thermodynamics (Molecular Dynamics Simulation ‐ PD Dr. Raabe).
The offered position will be dedicated to the investigation and development of microbial electrosynthesis routes for a selective and efficient aviation fuel synthesis.

This 3-years PhD researcher position will be dedicated to the fundamental investigation and development of microbial electrosynthesis routes for tailored aviation fuels (e.g., hydrocarbons and alcohols) based on biogenic compounds and on CO2. Emphasis will be put on understanding and tailoring microbial electrosynthesis for high reaction rate, selectivity, yield and energy efficiency. Thereby, an in‐depth investigation of bioelectrochemical hydrogenation and hydrodeoxygenation reactions and CO2 reduction processes will be performed. State‐of‐the art analytical and bioanalytical techniques, including Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy, Differential electrochemical mass spectrometry and HPLC‐MS will be used for the study of reaction mechanisms.

Institution contact information

Prof. Uwe Schröder, Institute of Environmental and Sustainable Chemistry, TU Braunschweig, Germany

Contact email address



External link

Urgent Notice: Postponement of the 5th Asia-Pacific and 5th European International Society of Microbial Electrochemistry and Technology Conference to 2021

In response to the pandemic of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) and in accordance with the relevant national regulations for the control of 2019-nCoV, the Board of Directors of the International Society of Microbial Electrochemistry and Technology in agreement with the local organizers of the 2020 Regional ISMET meetings has decided the following:

1. The 5th AP-ISMET conference hosted by the Harbin Institute of Technology (China) will be postponed to May 2021 and the 5th EU-ISMET hosted by the University of Girona (Spain) will be postponed to spring/ summer 2021 with the exact dates being determined. The exact dates to be determined and the topics and activities will remain unchanged.

2. For the participants of the AP-ISMET and the EU-ISMET who have completed registration and payment, all the conference activities registered for participation will be valid at the time of the conference and will continue to be implemented; possible reimbursement measures will be determined.

For updates of 1. and 2. please refer to the respective websites: and

3. The 5th NA-ISMET scheduled November 18-20 in Los Angeles, USA, will take place as planned, until further notice (follow on twitter: @na_ismet).

4. The 8th international meeting of the ISMET will be postponed to 21st to 23rd of September 2022.

5. ISMET will organize the 1st virtual international ISMET to take place in September 2020, further details will follow soon … so stay tuned.

On behalf of the Board of Directors
Annemiek ter Heijne (President) and Falk Harnisch (President-elect)
in agreement with the local organizing committees. 

PhD position on electron conduction in cable bacteria

Cable bacteria are filamentous bacteria that can conduct electrons across centimetre-scale distances and thereby metabolize distantly located electron donors and acceptors in aquatic sediment. The DNRF Center for Electromicrobiology at Aarhus University is looking for a motivated and talented PhD student to investigate how cable bacteria and their electron conductors work, based on the numerous options and challenges that this exceptional scale of biological electron transport poses for experimental studies.

Institution contact information

Department of Biology, Ny Munkegade 114-116, Aarhus C, Denmark.

Contact email address

External link

PhD position on genomic and ecophysiological diversity of cable bacteria

The DNRF Center for Electromicrobiology at the Department of Biology, Aarhus University is looking for a motivated and talented PhD student to work with cable bacteria. Cable bacteria are filamentous sulfide-oxidizing bacteria that conduct electrons across centimetre-scale distances in aquatic sediment. Most of the factors driving cable bacteria genetic divergence and evolution are currently unknown. The student will address the ecophysiology, taxonomic diversity, and evolution of cable bacteria using molecular approaches (metagenomics, amplicon sequencing, qPCR) as well as microcosm-scale experiments to profile the physiological characteristics of different cable bacteria strains or to perform competition experiments.

Institution contact information

Department of Biology, Ny Munkegade 114-116, Aarhus C, Denmark.

Contact email address

External link

PhD position in the field of enzymatic electrosynthesis

We are looking for a talented student with a strong background in biochemistry to fill a four-year PhD post within the Academy of Finland Fellowship project “Novel biocatalysts for a sustainable bioeconomy – enzyme structures enabling carbon dioxide valorisation at electrodes”.

Project description
This project is inspired by the recent discovery of an archaeal enzyme complex, which catalyses the reduction of CO2 at submerged electrodes. Within this project, it will be attempted to determine the structure of this archaeal enzyme complex and a functionally related bacterial enzyme complex and use this information for the development of novel electrosynthetic enzymes. Thereby, this project explores the possibility to decrease anthropogenic CO2 emissions by replacing oil-based processes for chemicals production with more sustainable bioprocesses.

Job description
The PhD student will be primarily based at VTT’s Industrial Biotechnology and Food Solutions unit, which is located on the Otaniemi campus in Espoo. Additional national sites of research are the Biochemistry Department at Aalto University (Espoo) and the Biocenter Oulu and Faculty of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine at the University of Oulu, where a part of the protein purification and structural data analysis and modelling will be performed. The student is expected to participate in international collaboration by conducting part of the research at our partner institutions Stanford University and University of Tokyo during periods of about six and two months, respectively.

Most experiments will be performed in anaerobic chambers and utilize Escherichia coli and Methanococcus maripaludis as protein production hosts. The main project objectives include genetic manipulation of these species as well as method development for the crystallization of the electrosynthetic enzyme complexes and their functional characterisation as catalysts in electrosynthetic systems.

VTT Offers
The project is supported by VTT’s excellent research facilities, a friendly work environment and an interdisciplinary network of highly skilled experts and research support staff. The hosting organisation is VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT), which is an impartial non-profit Research and Technology Organisation that uses its close ties to academia and industry to promote the application of science. The doctoral position is funded for four years and will be filled as soon as a suitable candidate has been found.

A successful applicant is expected to have an MSc degree or equivalent in a relevant field of science such as protein biochemistry, crystallography and protein design with the desire for lab-work. The candidate shall have demonstrable competence of common microbiology and molecular biology laboratory skills, such as culturing of microorganisms, gene cloning and enzyme assays. Competence in analysis of protein structural data is also desired.

Institution contact information

For additional information related to this post, please contact the project manager Dr. Michael Lienemann (



External link