Dear Adriana,
                what a great position!   I am a post-doc at Princeton University, in the USA in the dept of Geosciences.  I work with TC Onstott on the Witwatersrand deep subsurface microbiology project.  We go to depths of 3.6km below the surface to look for biological life in the Wits basin (> 2 billion years old). We use molecular and classical techniques to identify novel bugs so I have been doing a lot of environmental micro this year.  My PhD was micro and analytical chemistry based, a main focus being to develop a GC/MS that and IRMS system that could be coupled so we could identify compounds from complex mixtures and gain compound specific isotope ration data from a single chromatographic injection.  I worked closely with Micromass on this part and am therefore very strong in GC-MS and GC -IRMS.
Part of our collaboration isolates PLFA (Sue Pfieffner and co-workers) and analyses them in order to gain insight into the type of bug present, so I have some knowledge of lipid biomarker work.

My work here at Princeton is related to the astrobiology project in that we get supplemental funding from NASA and I think astrobiology is a really exciting area of research.
I co-ordinate the field aspect of our project so am used to working with large teams (6-10 people) and co-ordinating research efforts in very challenging environmental circumstances. My post-doc ends next year, and your work sounds fascinating and can maybe overlap with our group.  We have access to water and rock samples that have been geologically isolated for up to 1 billion years, and I have been trying to study the organic carbon present by concentrating low DOC with SPE cartridges, and then analysing them with GC-MS to look for biological by-products.

Anyway, I wanted to touch base with you and introduce myself.  Could you tell me a few things,

Should I apply? I feel I am very qualified to work on your project, it sounds excellent. I am really excited as it seems very complimentary to the work we do here, and I feel there is lots of room for later collaborations with the South African mining infrastructure already in place etc.
when would the starting date be?
Are your salary details in Australian dollars, I guess they are but I can dream that in fact it is US dollars...........
What is the cost of living in Australia?

I hope to hear from you soon, feel free to call me at home or at work, or e-mail me,


At 01:40 PM 11/15/01 +1100, you wrote:
Dear Isotope Geochemists,

I would appreciate it if you could pass this information to interested persons.

Thank you.


Postdoctoral Fellow in Organic Geochemistry/Biogeochemistry
School of Geosciences, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
REF NO: A45/002149

Applications are invited for a postdoctoral position in organic
geochemistry or biogeochemistry, studying hydrocarbon biomarkers in
Precambrian oil and kerogen. The aim is to discover molecular fossils in
well-preserved Archaean and Proterozoic rocks from Australia, South
Africa and Canada that constrain the early evolution of microbial
ecosystems. The position, working with Adriana Dutkiewicz, Graham
Logan, Roger Summons and Roger Buick, is funded by an ARC grant. It
is laboratory oriented, though opportunities for field work may arise. It will
be based at the School of Geosciences, University of Sydney, but most
laboratory work will be undertaken at AGSO Geoscience Australia in
Canberra. It will also involve substantial interaction with the NASA
Astrobiology Institute, the University of Washington in Seattle and MIT in

The successful applicant must have a PhD with experience in organic
geochemical techniques, including GC/MS. Proven research ability and
evidence of research potential are essential, as are evidence of the ability
to work both individually and cooperatively, and good written and oral
communication skills. Demonstrated research abilities in lipid biomarker
geochemistry, Precambrian biogeochemistry and/or fluid inclusion
geochemistry are highly desirable. Technical experience in stable isotope
geochemistry, environmental microbiology and/or Precambrian geology
are also desirable.

The position is full-time fixed term for two years, subject to the completion
of a satisfactory probation period for new appointees. There is the
possibility of further offers of employment, subject to funding and need.
Membership of a University approved superannuation scheme is a
condition of employment for new appointees.

For further information, please contact Dr Adriana Dutkiewicz on
(02) 9351 5192 or e-mail: [log in to unmask] ,
[log in to unmask], [log in to unmask] or
[log in to unmask] Background information about the
research programme can be found at:


Remuneration Package: $44,251 - $60,052 p.a. (which includes a
base salary Level A $37,409 - $50,767 p.a., leave loading and up to
17% employer’s contribution to superannuation)
Closing Date: 31/12/2001

More information can be found on:

Dr Adriana Dutkiewicz
School of Geosciences
Building F05
University of Sydney
ph: 61-2-9351 5192
fax: 61-2-9351 0184

James Hall, Ph.D.,              
Dept. of Geosciences                    
Princeton University                    
Princeton, NJ,08544                             
Phone: (w) 609-258-2597
          (h) 609 919 0292
e-mail [log in to unmask]