PhD project: Graphene-Biocatalysts for Enzymatic Biofuel Cells

DTU Chemistry
Tuesday 26 Jun 18

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A 3-year PhD position is open in NanoChemistry group at Department of Chemistry, Technical University of Denmark (DTU). The project is aimed at Development of Graphene-Biocatalysts for Enzymatic Biofuel Cells. The position will be available from the 1st October 2018 to the 30th September 2021 and be supervised by Professor Jingdong Zhang (main supervisor) and Professor Jens Ulstrup (co-supervisor). The project is funded by Danish Research Council (DFF) in close cooperation with Danish Power Systems ApS and Potsdam University.

Project Description
This project aims at development of biocatalysts for enzymatic biofuel cells (EBFCs) with high activity and long lifetime. We plan to design and synthesize redox enzymes with graphene to construct biocatalysts. Enzymes which can catalyze oxidation of fuel molecules such as glucose and alcohol, reduction of dioxygen will be chosen as targeted enzymes for bioanodes and cathodes, respectively. The project will construct biocatalysts with a large surface area in 3 dimensions (3D) to confine enzymes and increase their stability and electron transfer efficiency. The most promising biocatalysts will be used as electrode materials to construct EBFCs. Interdisciplinary methodology from chemistry, biochemistry and energy conversion will be employed to investigate structure-function relations of the newly developed biocatalysts. Electrochemistry techniques play a role for investigation of both the biocatalysts and the EBFCs. The project tasks contain construction of biocatalysts with electrocatalytic function for biocathode and bioanode, structural and functional study of the biocatalysts, design and construction of EBFCs and test them in the EBFCs.
Successful candidate will join in NanoChemistry group, which is part of Organic and Inorganic Chemistry Section at Department of Chemistry. The group is very active and international. It has strong expertise on electrochemistry, bioelectrochemistry, chemical syntheses of inorganic nanomaterials and in situ scanning probe microscopies such as scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM). Research activities such as chemical syntheses of functional nanomaterials such as metal/metal oxides nanoparticles, graphene for development of clean energy are running in the group. 

Responsibilities and tasks
You are expected to take following responsibilities and learning objectives:

  1. Research: Design, syntheses and fabrication of graphene-biocatalysts. Electrochemical investigations. Bioelectrochemistry. Systematic property and structural characterization of the developed biocatalysts. Construction and operation of enzymatic biofuel cells (EBFCs). Development of long-life of biocatalysts with high efficiency for EBFCs.
  2. Team work: work together and cooperate with senior scientists, postdocs, PhD students, master and bachelor students in the group. Actively collaborate with national and international academic partners and industry partners.  
  3. Management: Planning and following up development of the project. Conducting experiments regularly and summarizing results monthly.
  4. Dissemination: Active participation at group meeting and international conferences. Composing manuscripts for publications in international journals.
Candidates must have a master's degree in chemistry, electrochemistry, biochemistry or biophysics, or academic experience equivalent to a master's degree in engineering, specifically with:
  • A strong experimental background in bioelectrochemistry, biofuel cells, electrochemistry, energy conversion, inorganic chemistry, material chemistry, and physical chemistry.
  • A strong background relating to experimental electrochemistry and electrochemical data modelling.
  • A candidate with experience on bioelectrocatalysis, enzyme electrochemistry, electrochemical energy conversion, chemical synthesis of graphene, 3 dimensional graphene or its hybrids and advanced microscopies such as scanning tunnelling microscope, atomic force microscopy,  transmission electron microscopy (TEM) will be preferred.
  • Full-hearted, hard working, and highly motivated commitment to research.
  • Independence and cooperation with the research team.
  • Good communication in the English language.
Approval and Enrolment
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 the DTU PhD Guide.
The assessment of the applicants will be made by Jingdong Zhang and Jens Ulstrup.

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.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.

Further information
For additional information please contact Professor Jingdong Zhang, DTU Chemistry, email:

You can read more about NanoChemistry group on

Please submit your application no later than 28 August 2018.

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
  • At least two recommendation letters from his/her supervisors
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here)
  • Research plan
  • Bachelor and MSc thesis
  • International English test (for none native English speakers) 

Candidates may apply prior to obtaining their master's degree, but cannot begin before having received it.

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

DTU is a technical university providing internationally leading research, education, innovation and scientific advice. Our staff of 6,000 advance science and technology to create innovative solutions that meet the demands of society, and our 11,200 students are being educated to address the technological challenges of the future. DTU is an independent academic university collaborating globally with business, industry, government and public agencies.