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Junior research scientist on modelling microbial communities in environmental biotechnology processes

31 January 2023

Junior research scientist on modelling microbial communities in environmental biotechnology processes
© V. Marracci
Profile number: CR-2023-MICA-3 Corps: CRCN Category: A Open competition number: 27

Work environment, missions and activities

You will work at the PROSE (bioPROcesses for Services to the Environment) research unit located in Antony (92), in the greater Paris region. Affiliated to the TRANSFORM and MICA departments, PROSE is an INRAE research unit and part of the University Paris-Saclay. With a staff of approximately 30 people (21 permanent staff), the PROSE unit conducts research on environmental biotechnologies, including wastewater treatment and recovery plants, anaerobic digesters, and bioelectrochemical processes for environmental biorefineries. Our studies address scales ranging from microbial communities to processes and are linked to major societal challenges such as sustainable development, the circular economy, and the bioeconomy. Our activities fall within a transdisciplinary approach combining microbial ecology, biogeochemistry, bioelectrochemistry, chemical engineering, physical measurements, and modelling. The unit is organized into 3 divisions: project management, analytical support, and experimentation. You will join the project management division and will work under the direct responsibility of PROSE’s unit Manager.

PROSE has been developing research approaches in mechanistic modelling of bioprocesses for more than ten years. This work focuses in particular on the dynamics of functional microbial populations in relation to the thermodynamic balances of the various metabolic reactions, gas-liquid interfacial transfer phenomena via digital/numerical fluid mechanics approaches, or modelling bioprocess functioning as a whole using biokinetic models (approaches such as the "Activated Sludge Model" or "Anaerobic Digestion Model").

Your mission will be to develop mathematical agent-based models (or individual-based models) coupling microbial growth, metabolic activity, and physicochemical processes (matter or heat transfer, shearing, etc.) to represent the dynamics and spatial structuration of functional microbial communities at small scales (micrometric to millimetric). The objective is to study the emergence of spatial microbial organisation patterns such as layers or clusters of functional populations within biofilms, granules, or flocs. To do this, you will draw on your skills in mathematical modelling and numerical simulation, which you will be able to interface with the various fields of expertise already present in the unit (microbial ecology, biogeochemistry, chemical engineering, multiphysical measurement and modelling, bioelectrochemistry), to build interpretable models and to enable their comparison with experimental observations. In a wider perspective, the work developed will aim to improve understanding of how modifications of the biotope such as changes in bioprocess operating parameters and their consequences on the physicochemical conditions at a local scale, can modulate the assembly, spatial structuration, and properties of functional microbial communities. In addition to the environmental biotechnology sector, you will also be encouraged to contribute to cross-disciplinary networks within the MICA department and more broadly within INRAE (ECOSYST network, HOLOFLUX, and DIGITBIO metaprogrammes) to identify possible scientific opportunities concerning other microbial ecosystems (food microbial communities, digestive tracts, etc.).

Possible exposure to organic waste and wastewater in the context of laboratory activities or assignments on industrial sites.

Training and skills

PhD or equivalent

  • After a master's or engineering degree, a PhD in mathematical modelling applied to biological systems, preferably in the field of (bio)processes, is highly recommended.
  • You have research experience beyond the thesis (postdoc), preferably in an international context.
  • Training in numerical approaches and command of at least one numerical environment allowing the spatialized modelling of coupled bio/physical/chemical processes is recommended.
  • Good knowledge of agent-based modelling would be a real asset (Individual Based Modelling approaches).
  • An extensive list of scientific publications in international peer-reviewed journals demonstrating your ability to promote the results of your research is essential.
  • You appreciate teamwork and interdisciplinarity.
  • Candidates should have a good command of English (both written and spoken), and long-term international experience would also be desirable. Successful candidates who have not yet acquired this experience abroad will be required to do so after their probationary period (1st year).

2023 campaign calendar

  • Opening date for applications: January 30, 2023
  • Deadline for applications: March 2, 2023
  • Pre-selections (on scientific file): April 2023
  • Final selections (interview): between end of May and mid-June 2023
  • Starting date for appointments: from September 2023
Site : INRAE jobs