PhD scholarship in molecular microbial ecology at the Center for Microbial Secondary Metabolites, CeMiSt

The Center for Microbial Secondary Metabolites, CeMiSt, is one of 10 new Centers of Excellence funded by the Danish National Research Foundation. The Center started 1st of January 2018 and will run for six years with an option for a four-year extension. The Center is based at the Technical University of Denmark and hosted by Department of Biotechnology and Biomedicine (DTU Bioengineering). Three DTU departments and 10 senior faculty participate in the Center and >15 PhD students and postdocs will be hired.
The purpose of CeMiSt is to unravel the biological role of microbial secondary metabolites in natural microbiological communities. The Center is led by Professor Lone Gram.

DTU Bioengineering covers microbial ecology and physiology, industrial biotechnology and biomedicine and health. The department consists of approx. 30 faculty and more than 80 PhD students and postdocs.

We seek a candidate for a three-year Ph.D. scholarship in the area of molecular microbial ecology to study the role of secondary metabolites produced by fluorescent Pseudomonads in microbial soil communities.

Responsibilities and tasks
The purpose of the PhD project is to unravel the role(s) of fluorescent Pseudomonads and their secondary metabolites in the development of microbial soil communities. Although fluorescent Pseudomonads are producers of a variety of secondary metabolites, little is known of how these molecules influence the microbial diversity and functionality within natural microbial communities. In this PhD project, you will:

    Determine the relationship between Pseudomonas populations and their secondary metabolites, and the microbial diversity in soil. This will include analysis of our natural soil sampling sites using both cultivation dependent and molecular culture-independent approaches, as well as establishment of model communities/microcosms in the laboratoryYou will also contribute to our efforts to analyse expression and production of secondary metabolites from Pseudomonas both in situ and in laboratory microcosmsYour research will also aim to determine the effects of secondary metabolite on microbial community development and interactions within laboratory microcosms. This will involve construction of mutants that are either defective in secondary metabolite production or overproduce selected compounds, and construction of genetic tools that enable control of expression and production of secondary metabolites

The PhD project is part of the collaborative effort in the Center for Microbial Secondary Metabolites (CeMiSt) aimed at understanding function of microbial secondary metabolism in situ, and you will have many opportunities to collaborate and interact with PhD students, postdocs, and faculty with expertise in microbial ecology, molecular microbiology, and natural product chemistry.

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 bacteriology and microbial ecology, and an interest in understanding how microbial communities develop. Candidates should preferably have experience with bacterial genetics, molecular microbiology and next generation sequencing.  You are an efficient team worker, have good communication skills, and have a critical approach to formulation and testing of hypotheses. Also, a good sense of humor will be appreciated.

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 MSO Lars Jelsbak.

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 MSO Lars Jelsbak, or +45 4525 6129.

You can read more about DTU Bioengineering at and a DTU podcast introduces the Center that is also described at

Please submit your online application no later than 11 June 2018 (local time). Apply online at

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 vitaeGrade transcripts and BSc/MSc diplomaExcel 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 Center for Microbial Secondary Metabolites aims to establish what effect microbial secondary metabolites have on other microorganisms in their natural environment. We have traditionally perceived them as ‘competition substances’, but in natural environments they are rarely produced in quantities of antibiotic effect. The Center’s hypothesis is that secondary metabolites constitute a network of signal molecules that directly affect gene expression, behaviour, and metabolism of the microorganisms and thus play a decisive role in the composition and function of microbiological societies. We will explore this in an interdisciplinary collaboration with the use of sequence-based, analytical-chemical, molecular, bioinformatic, and classic microbiological methods.

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 approx. 160 employees, of which 2/3 is scientific staff. 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.

Deadline: 11 June 2018
Unit: DTU Bioengineering
Read the job description and apply online

Post expires on Monday June 11th, 2018