Novo Nordisk Foundation PhD student in Understanding and overcoming physiological stress responses in Aspergillus niger to dissolved O2 and CO2 in fermentation processes

Monday 17 Jun 19

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Apply no later than 26 July 2019
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DTU Biosustain at the Technical University of Denmark invites applications for a position as PhD in “Understanding and overcoming physiological stress responses in Aspergillus niger to dissolved O2 and CO2 in fermentation processes”.

The position is part of the PhD Program within the Fermentation Based Biomanufacturing Initiative, funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation. The initiative is a collaboration between the DTU Departments Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering and the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability. This position will be hosted at DTU Biosustain and is one of four PhD positions posted in this call.

This position will be placed in the Biomass Conversion and Bioprocess Technology (BCBT) group at DTU Biosustain. The BCBT group works on the development of new, efficient and sustainable process technologies that can accelerate the development of a bio-economy. The group´s research relates chemical engineering and biotechnology tools including aspects such as biomass pretreatment, fermentation, evolutionary engineering of strains, downstream and techno
economic assessment. More information about the group is available at

Responsibilities and tasks

This project aims to understand and overcome physiological stress responses in Aspergillus niger to dissolved O2 and CO2 in the fermentation processes. The work plan will comprehend interdisciplinary activities in aspects including bioreactor engineering, fermentation, process optimization, microbial physiology, process simulation and modelling.

Responsibility and tasks include, but are not limited to:

  • Creation of a functional and reliable system to mimic industrial conditions in a laboratory environment;
  • Cultivation of the strain in bioreactors, data collection and bioprocess optimization;
  • Modelling to predict changes in productivity and physiology as a result of varying O2 and CO2 concentrations;
  • Dissemination of results through scientific publications, patents and conference presentations;
  • Supervision of students.

Candidates should have a MSc degree in Biotechnology or similar. The ideal candidate is proud to deliver consistent results, meets deadlines and is a fast learner.

We are looking for a candidate with a solid background in:

  • Laboratory experience with fermentation and bioreactor operation
  • Excellent communication skills, fluent written and spoken English
  • Efficient team worker and critical approach to formulation and testing of hypotheses

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 Group Leader, Dr. Solange I. Mussatto and 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 about this position may be obtained from Dr. Solange I. Mussatto (Head of the Biomass Conversion and Bioprocess Technology group), e-mail:


Please submit your online application no later than 26 July 2019 (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 Novo Nordic Foundation initiative on “A research Based World-Class Joint Education Program in Fermentation Based Biomanufacturing” build on the increasing needs from industry for development and upgrading of specialised expertise in the field of fermentation. The educational programmes will be based on cutting edge research covering all aspects from fundamental physiology of production organisms/cell factories, synthetic biology and metabolic engineering to scale-up process technology, including downstream processing. These areas will be closely integrated and the programmes will be supported in close dialogue with relevant industry partners. DTU will hereby provide top-level candidates (MSc, PhD and continued education) and research-based expertise of high value to the biotechnological, chemical and pharmaceutical fermentation based biomanufacturing industries in Denmark.

DTU Biosustain is an International Research Center at the Technical University of Denmark. The center conducts research with the purpose of developing new processes and technologies that can support a more sustainable bio-based production of valuable chemicals in the future. The Center’s activities are a balanced mix of basic and translational research, complemented by an emphasis on business development to facilitate commercialization of new cell factories and process technologies. Impact on society by innovation has a high priority and the Center collaborates worldwide with biotech companies and chemical industries to facilitate the dissemination and exploitation of its results. Additional information can be found at

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 university collaborating globally with business, industry, government and public agencies.