PhD scholarship in Biofilm Characterisation by Electron Microscopy

Monday 30 Jul 18

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Apply no later than 1 September 2018
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DTU Danchip/Cen, National Center for Electron Nanoscopy and Micro/Nanofabrication invites applications for a three-year PhD position within the research group of Soft Matter.

DTU Danchip/Cen is a central research infrastructure at the Technical University of Denmark with the overall mission of contributing to research, development, innovation and education within the following scientific areas: Development and application of advanced characterization methods by means of electron microscopy and development and application of advanced micro- and nanofabrication technology.

The PhD will be affiliated to the Center for Electron Nanoscopy (DTU Cen) currently employing 18 scientists and 5 technical staff members.

Biofilms can be, on the one hand, detrimental to both human life and industrial processes, while on the other hand, be beneficial in environmental technologies and bioprocesses.

Therefore, there are two opposite challenging goals for the biofilm formation: one is the prevention and inhibition of biofilms and the other is their enhancement and promotion. The understanding of the biofilm formation and their interaction with material is necessary to develop appropriate materials and technologies.

This PhD project will focus on the biofilm growth cycle (from the adhesion to the formation of the biofilm matrix) and their interaction with material surface.

Responsibilities and tasks
You will work in a highly interdisciplinary project at the interface of microbiology and materials science, together in electron microscopies facility. The project includes collaboration with DTU Bioengineering and the micro and nanofabrication facility at DTU Danchip. The microorganism will be provided by the Group of Lone Gram at DTU Bioengineering and the development of the surface material will be performed at DTU Danchip.

The research project will focus on the biofilm growth cycle (from the adhesion to the formation of the biofilm matrix) and the effect of physico-chemical and mechanical properties of materials on the biofilm growth cycle. In particular, the PhD research project involves the growth of microorganism, the surface material with different micro and nano-patterns, the microorganism-surface material interaction and electron microscopy.

  • You will contribute to the characterization of microorganisms mainly by electron microscopy.
  • You will be responsible for the investigation of biofilm growth cycle of microorganism and the effect of physico-chemical and mechanical properties of material on the biofilm growth cycle.
  • You will collaborate to develop patterned surface material with DTU Danchip.
  • You will contribute to the characterization of the surface material.
  • Your research could include the study of bioactive molecule effect on the microorganism.

The behavior of different microorganisms can also be investigated.

We expect that you have: 

  • An interest in working in an interdisciplinary research environment
  • be able to work independently but also in an interdisciplinary international team
  • are Self-driven and independent prior research productivity
  • Excellent collaboration and communication skills
  • A strong motivation to succeed in a research field
  • Excellent spoken and written English

As part of the Danish PhD program, you will follow a number of PhD courses as well as take part in teaching.

The successful applicant should hold a master's degree (or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to master's degree) in Biophysics, Bioengineering, Life science or Biomedical Engineering or Physics, preferably with some experience in electron microscopy. Experience in microbiology field will be considered as an advantage.

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 Mériem Er-Rafik in collaboration with Lone Gram.

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 Mériem Er-Rafik,

You can read more about the DTU CEN at, DTU Danchip at and 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.

Applications and enclosures 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.

DTU Cen/Danchip is a common infrastructure and research facility located at and fully owned by the Technical University of Denmark, DTU. The Center for Electron Nanoscopy is a state-of-the-art electron microscopy center which was inaugurated in Dec. 2007. The work carried out at DTU Cen is spans the range of basic topographical studies to the highly sophisticated analysis of nanoscale materials in Hard and Soft Matter.

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.