Chemical Biological Centre (KBC) at Umeå University and Swedish University for Agricultural Sciences

Postdoctoral fellowship, two years, in spectroscopic studies of mercury interactions with bacteria surfaces

Department of Chemistry, Umeå University

Umeå, Sweden

We are offering a postdoctoral fellowship in a research project on interactions between mercury and bacteria surfaces and how these control methylation of mercury. We are seeking an ambitious candidate who is interested in identifying mechanisms for metal interactions with microorganisms. Apply no later than 31st May 2019.

Project description
The postdoc will study interactions between mercury (Hg) and bacterial surfaces at the molecular level. The research will focus on generating fundamental knowledge about bacterial methylation of Hg, improve our understanding of chemical forms of Hg present in such biological systems (Hg speciation) and how reactive they are as well as generate improved understanding of how different Hg species affect and are affected by bacterial surface compositions.

Neurotoxic methylmercury (MeHg) accumulates in aquatic biota and Hg is considered one of the top ten chemicals of public health concern. Methylmercury is formed intracellular by methylation of inorganic Hg by specific anaerobe microorganisms. Our mechanistic understanding of bacterial uptake and methylation of Hg is however insufficient. In this project you will be part of a research team which combines surface analyses and trace metal speciation analyses in novel approaches to resolve these outstanding important questions.

The post doc will expose bacteria known to methylate Hg and characterize the speciation of Hg in the extracellular medium, at the bacterial surface and inside the bacteria cell, and study mechanisms for cellular uptake of Hg. A combined approach will be used with surface analyses by cryo X-ray photon spectroscopy (cryo-XPS) and analyses of the intracellular and extracellular medium contents by mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) coupled to liquid and gas chromatography (LC and GC). The experimental data will further be used to generate theoretical models for the interactions between Hg species and bacteria cells.

The post doc fellowship is funded by the Kempe Foundations and will be conducted in close collaboration with scientists specialized in trace metal analyses (Assoc. Prof. Erik Björn) and surface analyses (Assoc. Prof. Madeleine Ramstedt) at Umeå University.

The fellowship is full-time for a period of two years and amounts to 300 000 SEK per year. Starting date is 1st of September 2019 or at a date decided in agreement between the two parties.

The required qualification is a doctoral degree, or a foreign degree that is deemed equivalent, in analytical chemistry, bioinorganic chemistry or equivalent field. To be eligible the degree should have been completed at the end of the application period and, unless specific circumstances exist, a maximum of three years before the end of the application period. The doctoral degree should preferably be focused on metal biogeochemistry, trace metal analysis, surface spectroscopy or metal speciation. Experience of GC/LC-ICPMS techniques, XPS analysis, coordination chemistry, microbiology work and/or work with thermodynamic modeling is meriting.

The successful candidate must have a very good command of written and spoken English. You should be enthusiastic, creative and determined, like experimental research, be precise, and be able to conduct research both independently and in a group.

A complete application, written in Swedish or English, should contain the following documents:
- A cover letter including a description of your qualifications, research interests and motivation for applying, and your contact information (maximum 2 pages)
- A research plan where you describe how you would design and perform spectroscopic studies of mercury interactions with bacteria surfaces (maximum 2 pages)
- A curriculum vitae, including a publication list
- An e-link to your PhD thesis and maximum 5 relevant publications
- Copies of doctoral degree certificate or equivalent and other relevant degree certificates, including documentation of completed academic courses and obtained grades
- Name and contact information of at least two reference persons
- Other relevant documents you wish to claim

Your complete application, marked with reference number FS 2.1.6-757-19 should be sent in PDF format to (with reference number on the subject line) no later than 31st May 2019.

For more information please contact Assoc. Prof. Erik Björn, phone: +46 90-786 51 89, email: or Assoc. Prof. Madeleine Ramstedt, phone: +46 90-786 63 28, email:

About us
Department of Chemistry is the largest department in the Faculty of Science and Technology, with approximately 200 employees, including about 40 doctoral students, and with a strong and expanding research. Three major areas of research; Biological Chemistry, Environmental and Biogeochemistry and Technical Chemistry, represents the research and chemistry education of our department. We are also a strong partner in KBC, The Chemical-Biological Centre.
Chemical Biological Centre (in Swedish “Kemiskt Biologiskt Centrum”, KBC) – an interdisciplinary research centre for the life/natural sciences and medicine at Umeå University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. The centre is unique in its collaborative structure and offers an excellent scientific infrastructure with several core facilities and technical platforms. Our goal is to promote a positive, creative, and interdisciplinary environment for research combined with an excellent graduate and undergraduate education. You can find more information here:
Umeå University is dedicated to providing creative environments for learning and work. We offer a wide variety of courses and programs, world leading research, and excellent innovation and collaboration opportunities. 4 000 employees and nearly 34 000 students have already chosen Umeå University.

We welcome your application!


Apply with CV and Cover Letter

Must be a .doc, .docx, or .pdf file and no larger than 1MBMust be a .doc, .docx, or .pdf file and no larger than 1MB

Postdoctoral fellowship, two years, in spectroscopic studies of mercury interactions with bacteria surfaces