Two PhD positions in Environmental Chemistry (Pollutant Dynamics) Switzerland

The two selected candidates will join the Environmental Chemistry group within the Institute of Biogeochemistry and Pollutant Dynamics. The goals of the two PhD projects will be to delineate (1) the environmental photochemistry of environmentally relevant peptides, and (2) the (photo)inactivation mechanisms of extracellular enzymes.Both projects will include methodology development of photochemical procedures and LC-HRMS (Orbitrap Exactive) analyses. The candidates will be supervised by Prof. Kris McNeill and Dr. Elisabeth Janssen, respectively. Employment will be according to standard regulations at ETH (funding secured for 3 years). The projects are funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation and will start in October 2015 or another mutually agreeable date.

The expected scientific outcome of these projects is an improved understanding of amino acid photooxidation in surface waters at the molecular level.  Specifically, theses projects will illuminate important areas of the environmental chemistry of amino acids that have mostly been ignored. This understanding promises to impact the larger scientific community, including biogeochemists studying sulfur and nitrogen element cycling, environmental chemists looking at peptide-based water contaminants, and ecologists interested in the role of extracellular enzymes in nutrient acquisition.  In addition, we expect to make methodological advances that will aid in the study of enzymes and other biomacromolecules in natural waters.

The position requires a Masters degree in Chemistry, Biochemistry, Environmental Chemistry, Environmental Sciences or related disciplines. The candidate should have a strong interest in photochemistry, chemical kinetics, enzymology, and/or inorganic chemistry. Excellent communication skills in English and the ability to work in a team are essential.

If you are excited about joining our team in Environmental Chemistry, you are invited to apply. Please submit your application by 31-May 2015 though

Applications should include: a statement of interest, curriculum vitae, copies of your bachelor and master transcripts, list of courses taken and grades received, a summary of your master thesis (if completed/applicable), and names and contact information or reference letters of 2-3 referees.  For further information about the research group, please visit our Evaluation of applicants will start May 31st 2015 and will continue until the positions are filled.

For further information, please contact Prof. Dr. Kristopher McNeill (, or Dr. Elisabeth Janssen (

Applications with cover letter, cv, diplomas and work certificates should be sent online with attention to: ETH Zurich, Mr. Olivier Meyrat, Human Resources, CH-8092 Zürich.

 Application via E-Mail cannot be considered!