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MicroGenNx: characterize deep geological bodies using DNA belonging to endolithic microbial communities

 Master's research project

A Master’s research project is available at the Department of Biological Sciences, University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM), within the laboratory of Cassandre Lazar. This project will be carried out in partnership with the companies Derena Geosciences, Midland Exploration, Raglan Mine (Glencore), Nouveau Monde Graphite and Utica Drilling Resources.

In the underground layers of the earth (100 m to 3 km below our feet), microbes can live buried in compact rock matrices. The composition of living species in distinct layers is unique and indicative of their environment. In Quebec, a region rich in minerals and gas, the mining industry is booming and looking for innovative methods to explore new sites quickly, efficiently and at low cost. In this project, we will use genomic profiles of microbial communities living inside rock cores provided by mining companies to analyze the conditions found in these rocks, including mineralogy, age, and layer succession. We will build a large database in microbial genomics using molecular tools (DNA extraction and amplicon and shotgun sequencing). We will also attempt to extract and sequence RNA from some samples. Finally, we will culture the endolithic microorganisms of samples from samples drilled and collected during the project.

The successful candidate will benefit from a dynamic work and research environment within the research centers of GRIL (Interuniversity Research Group in Limnology) and Geotop (Center for Research in Earth System Dynamics), two strategic groups of the FRQNT (Quebec Research Fund - Nature and technologies).

The successful candidate should ideally have an undergraduate degree in biology, microbiology, or environmental sciences, will be able to demonstrate research potential, and will show a keen interest in microbial ecology and biogeochemistry. Experience in the fields of microbiology, molecular biology, statistical analysis, and bioinformatics will be considered an asset.

The start date is April 2024. Interested applicants should send a cover letter (1-page maximum), and a C.V., to:


Cassandre Lazar, Associate Professor

Department of Biological Sciences, UQAM

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