PhD in extremophile microbiology

   School of Biological Sciences

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  Dr MB Stott, Dr Carlo Carere  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

PhD in extremophile microbiology

Department of Chemical and Process Engineering and School of Biological Sciences

University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand

Project Description

This doctoral research project is part of a larger Royal Society NZ (Marsden) project entitled “Stuck at home: the puzzle of a locally-abundant, thermophilic bacterial genus that has not dispersed beyond Aotearoa-New Zealand”. The project aims to understand how the thermophilic bacterial genus, Venenivibrio, can be the most abundant taxon found in local geothermal hot springs (see Power et al., 2018. Nat Comms 9(1); 2876), yet does not seem to be detectable outside the New Zealand archipelago. 

The doctoral research will focus on two thermophilic, hydrogen-utilising, sister genera of Aquificota, Venenivibrio and Sulfurihydrogenibium, the former of which appears to have a NZ-only restricted distribution, while the latter is distributed globally. The project will utilise cultivation and molecular tools to understand the genotypic, phenotypic and metabolic traits that may have led to this uneven distribution. 

The Candidate

We are seeking an enthusiastic doctoral candidate with a strong experimental and bioinformatic background in either microbiology and/or computational microbiology to either Masters or Honours (first class) level. Experience in cultivating thermophilic prokaryotes will be considered an advantage, as will experience in using chemostats and/or undertaking transcriptomic studies.

The student will enrol in a PhD programme associated with Chemical & Process Engineering or Biological Sciences depending on their background and career goals.

Funding Notes

We are offering a stipend of NZD $35,000 per year (tax free) plus tuition fees for three years. Funding is also available to cover research project consumable costs. Note: the successful candidate will need to apply to enrol at the University of Canterbury and must meet UC’s entry criteria. International candidates will also need to meet the English language requirements and, once given an offer of place, arrange for a NZ student visa. Information on UC’s entry requirements for PhD study is here

Applicants please email [Email Address Removed] and [Email Address Removed] with your CV, including at least two academic referees, a statement of your research interests and your university transcripts. Feel free to contact us any questions you may have relating to this PhD project.

Applications will close 30 June 2023, or prior, if a suitable candidate is found.

Supervisors: Dr Carlo Carere (Department of Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering LINK) and Assoc. Prof. Matthew Stott (School of Biological Sciences LINK).


Power, J.F., Carere, C.R., Lee, C.K., Wakerley, G.L.J., Evans, D.W., Button, M., White, D., Climo, M.D., Hinze, A.M., Morgan, X.C., McDonald, I.R., Cary, S.C., Stott, M.B. 2018. Microbial biogeography of 925 geothermal springs in New Zealand. Nat Comms, 9(1):2876
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