Detailed information about the course

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14-15 June 2021


Dr. Saskia Bindschedler and Prof. Pilar Junier, Laboratory of Microbiology, University of Neuchâtel


Dr Karim Benzerara, Institut de Minéralogie, CNRS, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Sorbonne Université, Paris, France - Carbonate biomineralization by bacteria.
Dr Magnus Ivarsson, Department of Palaeobiology, Swedish Museum of Natural History, Stockholm, Sweden – Fungi in deep rock and deep time.





Geomicrobiology is the interdisciplinary field that focuses on the interaction between microorganisms and mineral materials. It deals both with the role of microbes in biogeochemical processes, as well as with the influence of minerals and metals on microbial activity. Both prokaryotes and fungi are recognized as major biogeochemical agents; however, up to now, the role of prokaryotes has been more thoroughly characterized as compared to fungi. As a result, there is still a large scope in developing fundamental research in this field. In addition, such knowledge is essential in applied fields such as bioremediation and metal recycling for instance. Therefore, in an era of increased awareness regarding sustainable development, this research field is more than ever a timely answer to develop environmental-friendly approaches using the geomicrobiological potential of microbes. In this workshop, experts in the field of geomicrobiology will present and discuss with PhD students the most recent advances regarding knowledge and methodologies used to answer open questions in this field.




 This two-day activity is intended for both microbiologists and geologists. It consists in three activities:
1) lectures by two experts in the field; 2) a visit of an analytical facility presenting tools that can be
used in the field of geomicrobiology; and 3) a practical exercise for the students.
For the practical exercise, ahead of the activity, each of the two experts will propose two research
topics in their field of expertise, along with 3-4 selected publications. Upon inscription to the activity,
the students will be asked to select two of these research topics. Based on this, the organizers will
set groups of students with mixed backgrounds (i.e. biologists and geologists). During the exercise
part, each group will have to develop a small research project based on the propositions by the
experts and considering the analytical possibilities at hand at CSEM. Each group will be coached by
one of the expert on his particular topic, but there will also be time for discussion and inputs by the
other experts. At the end of the activity, the students will be asked to present the research project
they have developed to their fellows.



June 14th: University of Neuchâtel, Faculté des Sciences, Rue Emile-Argand 11, Building UniMail, room E301-304.

9h-9h15 Welcome

9h15-10h15 Lecture by Karim Benzerara (via webex)10h15-10h45 Coffee break
10h45-12h30 Exercise 1st period
12h30-13h30 Lunch
13h30-15h CSEM visit group 1 // Exercise 2nd period group 2
15h15-16h45 CSEM visit group 2 // Exercise 2nd period group 1
16h45-17h15 Summary of the first day

June 15th:

9h-10h Lecture by Magnus Ivarsson (via webex)
10h-10h30 Coffee break
10h30-12h15 Exercise 3rd period
12h15-13h15 Lunch
13h15-14h15 Exercise 4th period: presentations by the students plus discussion
14h15-14h45 Coffee break
14h45-16h45 Exercise 4th period: presentations by the students plus discussion
16h45-17h Conclusive remarks


Hybrid: Université de Neuchâtel and online!





Full attendance and active participation.

Make sure to sign the attendance list each and every day!




First day onsite: University of Neuchâtel, Faculté des Sciences, Rue Emile-Argand 11, Building UniMail, room E301-304.

Second day online.




PhD students are eligible for the reimbursement of incurred travel expenses by train (half-fare card, and 2nd class).

The online reimbursement system is now in place: within 15 days after the course, please request the reimbursement via your MyCUSO account, no need for paper anymore!


To register, please use your MyCUSO account!

Deadline for registration: 31.05.2021

Priority is given to PhD students of the co-organising programs 31.05.2021 - after this deadline places will be assigned on a first come, first serve basis, starting from the people in waiting list.

Registration Fees:

Free for PhD students enrolled in the co-organising programs.

In case of cancellations, before the deadline: 31.05.2021

Late cancellations (after 31.05.2021) or no-show: 20 CHF administrative fee


Other participants: please contact the program coordinator at microbiologie(at)



Deadline for registration 31.05.2021
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