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MSc Thesis Topic: Visualisation and comparison of Dehalococcoides mccartyi strain morphology

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MSc thesis research topic for students enrolled in a university programme interested to work with state of the art microscopy equipment for visualisation of microorganisms.
Your Duties:
Dehalococcoides mccartyi strains play an important role in the removal of halogenated groundwater contaminants via organohalide respiration. Several strains were isolated differing in their substrate spectrum. Thus far, only limited data is available on the morphology and surface structure of the various Dehalococcoides mccartyi strains whose cells are thought to be shaped like a flattened disk and which are believe to lack the usual peptidoglycan cell wall. Further, different cell sizes have been observed but their origin is unknown. These potentially depend on cultivation conditions and growth phase. Therefore, this project aims to investigate and compare the microscopic structure of two D. mccartyi strains: CBDB1 and BTF08 using state-of-the-art equipment of the Centre for Chemical Microscopy (ProVIS - http://www.ufz.de/index.php?en=31507). This will include epifluorescence microscopy as well as electron and helium ion microscopy.
Research questions addressed include 1) what is the actual cell shape?; 2) what is the size distribution of  cells?; 3) are cell shape and size growth phase dependent?; 4) can we obtain visual evidence for phage induction in strain BTF08?
The tasks of the planned research include growth of the strict anaerobic D. mccartyi strains, development of appropriate sample preparation procedures (e.g. chemical and cryofixation) and subsequent visual analysis of cells using the available equipment. 
  • Development and evaluation of various sample preparation and fixation methods
  • Comparison of cell structure and surface of different strains
  • Comparison of cell structure using various microscopes
  • Interpretation and synthesis of the data
Your profile:
We are looking for a motivated candidate currently enrolled in a Diploma or MSc programme with a strong interest in microbiology and the visualisation of microorganisms. The thesis can start as soon as possible and will take six to nine months. Additionally, an internship for an introduction to the topic prior to the thesis research is possible. The working place will be Leipzig.
We offer:
-Possibility to obtain hands-on experience with state-of-the-art equipment
-Work in an interdisciplinary and multinational team
-Exciting insight into the work of a leading research institute
Please note that we are unable to provide financial support for the cost of living.

Contact detail

How to apply:
Please send your application including letter of motivation, CV and transcript of records of your taken courses to the contact e-mail address.
Send application to
Dr. Ivonne Nijenhuis       ivonne.nijenhuis@ufz.de
personal web-page:       http://www.ufz.de/index.php?en=10626
Department:                  http://www.ufz.de/index.php?en=5265

Job profile

Working hours
Contract duration
Type of job
Diploma Thesis/Master's Thesis
Work experience
job experience is not required
Germany (Sachsen)
Working place
04318 Leipzig
Area of expertise
Biology & Life Sciences, Geo Sciences