The UFZ has a strong commitment to diversity and actively supports equal opportunities for all employees regardless of their origin, religion, ideology, disability, age or sexual identity. We look forward to applications from people who are open-minded and enjoy working in diverse teams.

Your contact for any questions you may have about the job:

Dr. Mechthild Schmitt-Jansen

Stefan Lips

Please submit your application via our online portal with your cover letter, CV (please omit your photo, age, or marital status) and relevant attachments.

Closing date for applications:

Place of work: Leipzig

More information about jobs at the UFZ:

Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung GmbH - UFZ
Permoserstraße 15
04318 Leipzig, Germany

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The Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) with its 1,100 employees has gained an excellent reputation as an international competence centre for environmental sciences. We are part of the largest scientific organisation in Germany, the Helmholtz association. Our mission: Our research seeks to find a balance between social development and the long-term protection of our natural resources.

The Department of Bioanalytical Ecotoxicology at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research GmbH – UFZ, Leipzig is offering the following

Bachelor thesis/ internship (m/f/x)

Subject: Characterization of plastic-colonizing autotrophic biofilms using HPLC-pigment analysis


Plastic pollution has become a matter of global concern, but the biofilm communities growing on plastic surfaces are often overlooked. However, microorganisms settling on plastic surfaces are suspected to affect the environmental fate and effects of plastic litter in aquatic systems.
Therefore, a sampling campaign of marine plastic in the Pacific Garbage Patch (Sonne Cruise 268/3 -> was undertaken and biofilm samples were taken from floating plastic garbage. In a next step the autotrophic component of the plastic-colonizing biofilms will be analyzed by HPLC-pigment analysis and the algal biomass and pigment diversity will be determined. In a last step the pigment diversity will be compared to reference algal cultures and environmental factors.

The study will take up to 6 months for internship and/ or bachelor thesis. The working place will be Leipzig. Please contact us for further questions.

Your tasks:

  • Extracting pigments from biofilm samples according to standardized protocols
  • Measurement of the extracts on a High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) system coupled to DAD detector
  • Identification and quantification of pigments according to reference compounds
  • Conduct a literature search for similar studies

Your profile:

  • Basic knowledge in chemistry, ecology, microbiology and scientific research
  • Motivation to learn about instrumental analytics (HPLC)
  • Patience and the ability to work in a precise and reproducible manner

We offer:

  • Introduction in standard bioanalytical/biochemical tools
  • Insights into a large project on plastic pollution of the Pacific Ocean
  • Integration and supervision in a working group of laboratory technicians,
    PhD students and senior scientists
  • Individual supervision from colleagues with various expertise
  • Work in an interdisciplinary environment in a leading research institute
  • Flexible design of workplace and working hours
  • Excellent technical facilities and infrastructure
  • The possibility to introduce your own ideas and impulses from the beginning