PhD position in experimental enzymology

DTU Bioengineering
Wednesday 11 Jul 18

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The Department of Biotechnology and Biomedicine at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU Bioengineering) invites applications for an open position as a PhD student in experimental enzymology.

The position is associated with the project “Simulation assisted enzyme design: Application of the Sabatier principle for interfacial enzyme catalysis”, which is supported by the Danish Research Council for Technology and Production. The project is a collaboration between DTU Bioengineering, DTU Chemistry and Novozymes A/S, and it focuses on enzyme reactions at the interface of insoluble substrates, particularly the breakdown of cellulose. The project combines experimental and computational approaches, and we strive to implement a new principle for the rational design of enzymes with improved properties in industrial applications. You will be enrolled at DTU Bioengineering in the section for Protein Chemistry and Enzyme Technology, and the PhD program will involve work with all three collaborators.

Responsibilities and tasks
You will have two main responsibilities: the kinetic characterization of interfacial enzymes and the expression and purification of enzyme variants. The kinetic characterization will include work with established assay methods that applies chromatography, colorimetry or electrochemistry for the detection of enzyme activity. Your work may also involve the development and implementation of novel assays principles that are particularly suited for enzymes acting at interfaces. Activities within variant expression will rely on a range of molecular biology methods, including DNA manipulation, fermentation and chromatographic purification.

Candidates should have a master's degree in engineering or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to the master's degree in engineering.

We are looking for a candidate with a solid background in two or more of the following areas:
  • Enzyme kinetics
  • Physical biochemistry
  • Protein chemistry
  • Enzyme assays (e.g. HPLC, colorimetry, biosensors or rapid mixing methods)
  • Expression and purification of enzymes

We expect that you are an efficient team worker, have good communication skills, and have a critical approach to the formulation and testing of hypotheses. In addition, we appreciate a good sense of humor.

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 Professor Peter Westh, DTU Bioengineering, Associate Professor Günther Peters, DTU Chemistry and Science, and Director Kim Borch, Novozymes. Your application will also need to be approved by an internal PhD assessment committee.

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
Further information may be obtained from Professor Peter Westh, or +45 3091 5488.

You can read more about DTU Bioengineering at

Please submit your online application no later than 1 September 2018 (local time). 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 BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here)
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.

The Department of Biotechnology and Biomedicine (DTU Bioengineering) conducts research, educates future bio-engineers, provides scientific advice and innovate within the areas of microbiology, biochemistry, biotechnology and biomedicine. The research at DTU Bioengineering is at the highest international level and focuses on the societal and scientific challenges within the field. Research is conducted within three main areas: Microbial ecology and physiology, Industrial biotechnology and cell factories, and Biomedicine and health. The department has extensive collaboration with national and international research units and industries. DTU Bioengineering has approximately 180 employees, of which 2/3 are scientific staff, and we are expanding rapidly in 2018. The department is located at DTU Lyngby Campus.

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.