PhD Position DTU Technical University of Denmark

3 Ph.D. Scholarships in Synthetic Metabolism at DTU, Denmark 2022


3 Ph.D. Scholarships in Synthetic Metabolism at the Systems Environmental Microbiology (SEM) Group of The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability (DTU Biosustain), Denmark 2022

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General Info

Position: PhD
No. of Positions: 3
Research Field: , , , ,
Deadline to Apply: Expired
Joining Date: ASAP
Contract Period: Subject to Norms
Salary: According to standard norms

Systems Environmental Microbiology (SEM) Group of The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability (DTU Biosustain).

Technical University of Denmark (DTU), Denmark


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Qualification Details

To be eligible to these PhD projects, the candidates must have a two-year master's degree (120 ECTS points) in synthetic biology, molecular biology, molecular and cell biology, biotechnology, nanotechnology or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a 2-year master's degree.

Specific requirements for these positions include:

  • A deep knowledge of synthetic biology and metabolic engineering, especially advanced cloning techniques (e.g. Golden Gate assembly, USER cloning) and handling several bacterial hosts including alternative platforms.
  • Hands-on experience with heterologous production and purification of enzymes and assembly of enzymatic cascades in vitro.
  • Experience determining kinetic parameters of enzymes of interest.
  • Experience with bacterial cell-free systems and enzyme engineering are considered an advantage.
  • Knowledge (ideally, hands-on) on assimilation of C1 compounds will be considered a major advantage.
  • Skills in computational modeling, Python and R.
  • Excellent communication skills in English.
  • Proficiency in quantitative microbial physiology techniques.
  • Fermentation experience is considered an advantage.
  • Experience working with Pseudomonas species as the host will be considered a major advantage.
  • Excellent collaborative skills in an international and multidisciplinary environment.

Responsibilities/Job Description

Applications are invited to fill 3 (three) PhD fellowships in the implementation of Synthetic Metabolism (both in vivo and in vitro) for bioproduction and assimilation of alternative feedstock in cell-free systems and in non-traditional bacterial hosts. The positions will be placed at the Systems Environmental Microbiology (SEM) Group of The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability (DTU Biosustain).

The starting date is June 2022.

The project aims at expanding the biochemical landscape of cell factories to (i) access new-to-Nature products and (ii) facilitate the assimilation of C1 substrates through the implementation of synthetic metabolism either in the form of cell-free systems and in non-traditional hosts (Pseudomonas putida). The appointed candidates will be expected to (i) work to tight deadlines and manage multiple projects, (ii) interact with other researchers at the SEM Group and the Center for Biosustainability, and other leading partner institutions, (iii) interact in a professional manner with industrial partners in a highly multidisciplinary environment, (iv) report regularly both in the form of written reports and oral presentations (both internally and in conferences), (v) support the research team through training and supervision of other researchers and students, (vi) write scientific papers to high standard, and (vii) actively engage in drafting project proposals and grant applications.

Responsibilities As a PhD student, your tasks will include:

  • Produce and purify heterologous and native enzymes from different sources.
  • Design and construct synthetic pathways and implement them in vitro and in vivo.
  • Disentangle the carbon and redox metabolism of non-traditional bacterial hosts.
  • Use computational modeling approaches to study microbial metabolism.
  • Carry out adaptive laboratory evolution (ALE) for adapting engineered bacteria to (industrially) relevant conditions.
  • Engineer microbial chassis to produce compounds of industrial relevance, including building-blocks and polymers.
  • Perform multi-omic analyses (e.g. proteomics, metabolomics and fluxomics).
  • Implement synthetic ‘addiction’ systems to couple biosynthesis (both in vivo and in vitro) with a desired output (e.g. microbial growth).

How to Apply?

Application Method: Online Application
Ref. No.: -

Application Procedure

Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and M.Sc. diploma (in English) including official description of grading scale

You may apply prior to ob­tai­ning your master's degree but cannot begin before having received it.

Applications received after the deadline will not be considered.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

About the Employer:

Note or Other details

The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see DTU's rules for the PhD education.

Assessment The assessment of the candidates will be made Dr. Pablo Ivan Nikel, group leader of the Systems Environmental Microbiology group.

We offer DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Salary and appointment terms The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years.

The starting date is the 1st of June of 2022.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.

You can read more on the Systems Environmental Microbiology group or the Enzyme Engineering and Structural Biology group at

If you are applying from abroad, you may find useful information on working in Denmark and at DTU at DTU – Moving to Denmark.

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Contact details

Further information may be obtained from Pablo Ivan Nikel ([email protected]).


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