PhD scholarships in Microbiome Synthetic Biology

Center for Biosustainability
mandag 19 nov 18

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Frist 15. december 2018
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We are seeking a talented and motivated PhD student at the Bacterial Synthetic Biology section led by Professor Morten Sommer at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability at the Technical University of Denmark.

The present opportunity relates to recent grants obtained by the group to use synthetic biology to develop engineered bacterial therapeutics for the gut microbiome. The project comprises PIs spanning preclinical through to clinical researchers and has as a goal to test these novel synthetic biology interventions in human clinical trials. 

Specifically, the candidate will engineer microorganisms to produce therapeutically active compounds or degrade compounds associated with disease states.

The project is translational in nature and there will be opportunities to test engineered microbes in animal disease models and potentially even in humans.

The PhD will be part of the BestTreat ITN which was recently awarded to a EU consortium to study the microbiome in the context of metabolic disease. Accordingly, the student will have opportunities to participate in tailored training courses across EU and build out his/her international network.

Expected starting date: January 2019

Responsibilities and tasks
The candidate shall deploy or develop state of the art experimental and computational technologies to develop and test engineered microbes for delivery of therapeutic activities. 

The candidate will work in a team to develop their independent project, while also contributing to projects of other team members.

The candidate will be responsible for the execution of all aspects of the project including both experimental and computational tasks; however, support is available for all aspects from fellow lab members.

Candidates should have a two-year master's degree (120 ECTS points) or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master's degree.

Overall the preferred applicant has an excellent academic track record, solid research experience and is highly motivated towards developing new technology and making scientific breakthroughs.

The applicant should:

  • have a proven track record within the fields of microbiology
  • have demonstrated early in his/her career a capacity for innovation and excellence
  • make this position his/her number one priority
  • have a strong work ethics
  • be a team player
The preferred applicants have experience working with synthetic biology and/or the human microbiome.

The applicant must satisfy the rules for being granted an ITN PhD fellowship in Denmark. E.g.The applicant must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies etc) in Denmark for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date.

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 applicant will be made by Professor Morten Sommer.

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 an 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 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 Pr. Morten Sommer, email: Please do not send applications to this e-mail address, instead apply online as described below.

You can read more about DTU Biosustain at 

Please submit your online application no later than 15 December 2018 (Local time). 

Applications must contain all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill in the online application form, and attach all your materials in English. 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 Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability (CFB) is a DTU research and innovation center established in 2011 on par with the other departments at the DTU.
Today, CFB is a multi-site operation with over 250 people associated and is still growing. The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability is housed in a very new building placed on main campus Lyngby specifically designed to meet the Center needs.

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.