PhD student in antibody discovery technologies and machine learning

DTU Bioengineering

Do you want to be part of revolutionising antibody discovery and solving snakebite?

In this 3-year PhD project within the fields of antibody technology, next generation sequencing, and machine learning you will be part of an extraordinarily ambitious antibody development project with (1) the technological aim of developing a machine-learning guided drug discovery pipeline using display technologies and next generation sequencing and (2) the humanitarian aim of saving lives by developing a recombinant antivenom for the severely neglected tropical disease that is snakebite.

The position is an Alliance PhD grant between DTU and Chalmers which will commence in January 2023.

The Digital Biotechnology Lab
Part of the Technical University of Denmark and DTU Bioengineering, the DBL is a research group within the Center for Antibody Technologies. We are passionate about harnessing the power of modern technology to innovate the biotechnological landscape and develop real world solutions for the benefit of society. Primarily, we focus on discovering and understanding protein-based binders, such as antibodies, nanobodies, and DARPins, using display technologies, and use big data and artificial intelligence to achieve these goals. Importantly, this includes the pursuit of fundamental questions, such as unravelling the core rule set that dictates binder-target interactions, as well as translational endeavours, such as discovering cost-effective therapeutics against infectious and neglected tropical diseases, such as snakebite envenoming.

The research group is headed by Assistant Professor Timothy Patrick Jenkins. We are a group of high performing younger scientists that share the vision that science is supposed to benefit humankind, especially underprivileged societies and/or societal groups. This shared vision with a very international outreach has created an academic environment that is ambitious and innovative, fuelled by a collegially supportive attitude to both people and their work. We welcome people with all types of backgrounds and strive for diversity. Our research group is highly active in numerous outreach activities and our international travel agendas are typically busy. Finally, group members typically have an entrepreneurial attitude, resulting in the establishment of a number of spin-out biotech projects by group members.

See more: www.digital-biotechnology.com

The AI and Machine Learning in the Natural Sciences Lab
Headed by Assistant Professor Simon Olsson, the AIMLeNS lab is based at the Data Science and AI division of the Computer Science and Engineering department at Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden. The lab is interested in developing data-efficient machine learning systems to solve critical problems in the natural sciences by integrating knowledge from physics, chemistry, and biology. We are currently focusing on speeding up molecular simulations to better understand molecular function and characterize their biophysical properties more efficiently. The second major focus involves developing data-driven methods for computational molecular design of small molecule and biological therapeutics.

See more: https://psolsson.github.io/

Responsibilities and qualifications
The project is funded by DTU’s Alliance PhD programmes. As such you will be primarily based at DBL, with a 3-6 month external research stay at the AIMLeNS lab. Your role will be to perform experiments in the laboratory (such as antibody discovery and characterisation), analyse and use these data for machine learning, scientific publication of the findings, as well as take 30 ECTS points of relevant PhD courses as required in Danish PhD programmes.

At the Digital Biotechnology Lab, we have a highly collaborative spirit and host many talented students and guest researchers from abroad. Therefore, you should preferably enjoy collaborating and supervising younger scientists that may be recruited to support the project, as well as collaborating with our many international collaborators from countries such as Sweden, Norway, India, Costa Rica, and the UK.

You should preferably have an entrepreneurial spirit and be interested in facilitating the transition of scientific discoveries into inventions and innovations that can be brought to life in society – possibly via the establishment of spin-off companies from the research group.

Finally, depending on your interests, the position may involve outreach activities, such as publication of popular science articles and/or popular science presentations at larger public events.

You should:

  • hold a 2-year M.Sc. degree (120 ECTS) in a relevant life sciences discipline
  • have excellent communication skills in English
  • be trained in synthetic and molecular biology – ideally with a focus on antibody discovery and characterisation
  • have a track record for successfully collaborating with their peers
  • be open minded
  • and have a good sense of humour

Any background in next generation sequencing or computational biology/machine learning would also prove useful.

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 programs at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study program, please see DTU's rules for the PhD education.

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 terms of employment
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.

The positions will be located at the DTU Lyngby campus in a newly established research building hosting ultra-modern laboratories for antibody discovery and phage display technology with neighbouring laboratories with state-of-the-art facilities for protein science and proteomics. 

Further Information
Additional information may be obtained from Asst. Prof. Timothy Patrick Jenkins, tpaje@dtu.dk

You can read more about the department at www.bioengineering.dtu.dk/

If you are applying from abroad, you may find useful information on working in Denmark and at DTU at DTU – Moving to Denmark. Furthermore, you have the option of joining our monthly free seminar “PhD relocation to Denmark and startup “Zoom” seminar” for all questions regarding the practical matters of moving to Denmark and working as a PhD at DTU.

Application procedure
Please submit your online application no later than 10 September 2022 (Danish 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 in the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

  • Application (cover letter)
  • CV
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma (in English) including official description of grading scale
  • List of publications
  • Names and contact details of 2 academic referees

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

The Department of Biotechnology and Biomedicine (DTU Bioengineering) is an international leader in the areas of biotechnology and biomedicine. Our engineering approach to all aspects of biotechnology and biomedicine positions us as a valuable player with unique competences in a growing bio-based economy and with health systems transforming towards personalized medicine. We have a clear focus on the needs in the life science industry and point towards innovation, new businesses, and scientific services for the benefit of society. The department has extensive collaborations with national and international research units and industry. DTU Bioengineering has approx. 400 employees, of which 2/3 are scientific staff. The department is located at DTU Lyngby Campus

Technology for people
DTU develops technology for people. With our international elite research and study programmes, we are helping to create a better world and to solve the global challenges formulated in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Hans Christian Ørsted founded DTU in 1829 with a clear vision to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That vision lives on today. DTU has 13,400 students and 5,800 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. DTU has campuses in all parts of Denmark and in Greenland, and we collaborate with the best universities around the world.