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PhD: PhD position on experimental fossilisation in mineralogy/paleontology/geochemistry

Project Title

PhD position on experimental fossilisation in mineralogy/paleontology/geochemistry


University of Bonn, Steinmann Institute for Geology, Mineralogy and Palaeontology

Supervisors and Institutions

Prof. Dr. Thorsten Geisler Wierwille (University of Bonn) and Prof. Dr. Tütken (University of Mainz).

Funding Status

Funding is in place for this project

Project Description

A PhD position on “Experimental alteration of bones and teeth: quantification of effects on inorganic and organic compounds” is to be filled at the Steinmann Institute for Geology, Mineralogy and Palaeontology at the University of Bonn, Germany. This project is embedded within the framework of the DFG research unit FOR 2685 “The Limits of the Fossil Record: Analytical and Experimental Approaches to Fossilization”.

The PhD candidate will perform controlled in vitro aqueous alteration experiments with bone and tooth samples in isotope tracer solutions (O, H, B, Sr, Ca, Zn, Mg, REE, U) under sterile and microbially inoculated conditions to quantitatively assess fossilization processes of these phosphatic hard tissues. The diagenetic alteration processes and their chemical and mineralogical effects, both on the bioapatite and organic matrix, will be monitored from the macroscopic down to the atomic scale using a concert of analytical techniques such as Raman and IR spectroscopy, µCT, XRD, MC/LA-ICP-MS, electron microprobe, STEM, NanoSIMS, and atom probe tomography (ATP). The aim is to obtain a mechanistic understanding of the fossilization process at the microscopic level.

Candidate profile:
• Master degree in geosciences, material sciences, or a related field.
• Outstanding motivation and a broad scientific background in geochemistry/mineralogy is fundamental and interest in paleontology is necessary.
• Experience in some of the analytical techniques given above is desirable.
• Passion for careful chemical and mineralogical analyses is required as well as the interpretation of a variety of mineralogical and geochemical data.
• Very good written and oral communication skills.
• Writing of publications in English for peer-reviewed scientific journals is important.
• Ability to work independently, but also within an interdisciplinary research team.

The position will be for a fixed term of 3 years. Anticipated start is the 1st of March 2018. Salary and benefits are according to a public service position in Germany (65% of the salary level E13 TV-L). The place of employment will be Bonn, Germany. Some analyses will take place at the University of Mainz as well as in other collaborating laboratories.

We are looking for an enthusiastic person, who will be working in an inspiring, multi-disciplinary research team of mineralogists, geochemists, microbiologists, organic chemists, and palaeontologists. The PhD candidate will be jointly supervised by Prof. Dr. Thorsten Geisler Wierwille (University of Bonn) and Prof. Dr. Tütken (University of Mainz).

Your application should include: (1) letter of motivation, stating why you apply and your research interests, (2) curriculum vitae, (3) degree certificates, (4) MSc thesis and/or publications (if applicable), (4) contact details of at least two referees. Please submit your application before 31th December 2017 via e-mail as a single PDF file to:

Contact Name

Prof. Dr. Thorsten Geisler Wierwille

Contact Email

Closing Date

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Expiry Date

Wednesday, January 31, 2018
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