Job opportunities

Master position in Ecotoxicology and nanoscience
Effect of nanoparticles on bacteria at the molecular scale

With the development of new industrial sectors, the introduction and dissemination of pollutants in the environment have modified, among others, the dynamic equilibrium of reactive transfer processes taking place in natural aquatic systems. In the past decades, numerous studies have been devoted to the observation, understanding and prediction of the impact of pollutants on microorganisms living in these environments, especially with regards to their toxicity at the scale of the
bacterial population. To obtain a relevant evaluation of environmental risks and in order to propose bioremediation treatments, it is mandatory to understand the mechanisms leading to toxicity of new contaminants, such as nanoparticles, on aquatic micro-organisms at the molecular scale and at the scale of a single cell.
In line with above requirement, the objective of this Master -at the frontiers between nanotechnologies, ecotoxicology and microbiology- is to understand how the surface structures of micro-organisms (Escherichia coli will be considered) impact their resistance or their sensitivity to model toxic nanoparticles. For that purpose, we shall measure and identify the physico-chemical properties of bacteria before and after contact to nanoparticles under different exposition conditions. The strategy will integrate the use and development of atomic force microscopy techniques (AFM) at the cutting edge of nanotechnologies.
These tools will be coupled to characterization methods classically used in physical chemistry and microbial ecotoxicology, as well as theoretical approaches to understand the biosurface/nanoparticles interactions involved. Ultimately, these results shall open perspectives in environmental ecotoxicology, especially in the multi-scale evaluation of threshold levels of toxicity and risk assessments for nanoparticles in aquatic environments.

The Master will take place at the Interdisciplinary Laboratory for Continental Environments (LIEC), in Nancy, France, for 6 months under the supervision of A. Beaussart, CNRS researcher (, tel : +33 3 83 59 62 92) and J.F.L Duval, CNRS research director (, tel : 03 83 59 62 63). The Master is part of a national research program hold by the LIEC, which involves multidisciplinary teams with expertise internationally recognized in ecotoxicology and physical chemistry. The Master student will be paid around 500 euros/month according to French laws. Candidate should have knowledge and/or expertise in physical chemistry of surfaces and biointerfaces, and demonstrate scientific enthusiasm and motivation, curiosity and ability to integrate a research team.
LIEC website:
J.F.L. Duval website: