Geomicrobial Biosensors: Microbial Diversity and the Genetics of Heavy Metal Resistance in Regolith

Closing Date: 28 February 2022Apply Now

PhD Opportunity

As a part of the CRC MinEx and the National Drilling Initiative (NDI) we have an opportunity for a PhD student in geomicrobial genomics. The position includes industry top-up and internship opportunities for successful applicants.


Looking at the diversity of microbes associated with deep bore water samples, and also the resistance mechanisms that enable their survival in these extreme environments we can develop a spatial abundance model that can be integrated into the NDI data portal.


1. Characterise the microbial communities (amplicon sequencing) in NDI deep bore water samples to map regional geomicrobiology and community architecture

2. Correlate regolith geochemistry with these microbial communities to develop a spatial model for new mineral systems.

3. Perform metagenomic analyses of samples from a range of samples with known levels of heavy minerals (Au, Cu, etc) to identify genes responsible for resistance.

4. Overlay and interrogate resistance gene correlations with drilling strategy to test model robustness.

5. Identify microbial processes associated with the presence of heavy metal ore deposits and the characteristics of their biosignature in bore water samples. MinEx CRC is the world's largest mineral exploration collaboration bringing together Industry, Government and Research Organisations. Central to the aims of the CRC are the three research programs, Drilling Technologies, Data From Drilling and the National Drilling Initiative.

PhD Opportunity details

Funding: HDR Opportunity Only (does not include a scholarship)

Supervisor: Professor Brett Neilan

Available to: Domestic and International students

Either PhD or MPhil

Eligibility Criteria

The applicant will need to meet the minimum eligibility criteria for admission.

Application Procedure

Interested applicants should send an email expressing their interest along with scanned copies of their academic transcripts, CV, a brief statement of their research interests and a proposal that specifically links them to the research project.

Please send the email expressing interest to by 5pm on 28 February 2022.

Applications Close 28 February 2022 Apply Now

Contact Professor Brett Neilan
Phone +61 2 4921 5544

PhD and Research MastersFind out more

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