Postdoc in Evolutionary optimization of microbial strains for plant protection

Updated: 23 days ago

We seek a highly motivated Postdoc to push the boundaries for screening technologies to develop microorganisms as plant protection solutions for agriculture. In this position you will experience teamwork at the academia-industry interface, and you'll boost your laboratory adaptation and product development expertise.  As a microbiologist joining this project, you will get the opportunity to apply your innovative skills to develop evolutionary approaches for improving microbial phenotypes of plant protecting microbes.

The project
The postdoc position is part of the Smarter AgroBiological Screening (SABS) project, which will develop new biological antifungal agents for crop protection, to enable the reduction of chemical fungicides usage. The project is an industry-university collaboration involving a large team at DTU bioengineering, to build-up a set of high-throughput automated assays to screen DTU's collection of microorganisms and advance most promising strains towards in-planta testing. Artificial intelligence methodologies will be used to find predictive patterns in the collected data and enable most effective selection and optimization process.  The SABS project is funded by the Innovation Fund Denmark and is located at DTU Bioengineering - Department of Biotechnology and Biomedicine.

Responsibilities and qualifications
You will be part of an interdisciplinary team of highly skilled scientists with the common goal of finding new microbial biofungicide candidates by developing novel and efficient screening and phenotyping workflows. Your overall focus will be to develop adaptive laboratory approaches coupled with a high throughput microbial screening platform, and to characterize adapted microbial strains and their metabolites.

Your primary tasks will be to:

  • Lead the implementation of laboratory adaptation technique and drive the selection of evolved isolates with improved anti-fungal properties.
  • Use data generated in the project to design and develop novel adaptation strategies that enable more efficient and high-performing plant protecting strains.
  • Participate in strain characterization and development activities.
  • Collaborate with other microbiologists, lab automation engineers, chemists, data scientist, and robots to establish an effective strain discovery and development workflow in SABS.

As a formal qualification, you must hold a PhD degree (or equivalent). The PhD should preferably be in the fields of biotechnology, bioengineering or similar.

We are specifically looking for a Scientist with a strong motivation for using microbial solutions to real-world problems and for developing and using an effective microbial adaptation approach and strain development pipeline. You thrive in projects with partners from both academia and industry. You are highly motivated by working in an interdisciplinary team towards a common goal, and by turning ideas into solutions. You have good communication skills in written and spoken English.

In addition, you have:

  • A strong background in microbiology or microbial biotechnology (laboratory experience with bacteria and fungi – preferably in the area of plant promoting microbes and/or plant-microbe interaction).
  • Solid experience with the use of experimental evolution for the purpose of improving microbes with desired characteristics.
  • Solid experience in genotypic and phenotypic characterization of microbial isolates.
  • Solid experience with testing microbial strains for interaction with plant in laboratory and green house settings.
  • Additional experience in testing the influence of microbes on plant resistance mechanisms is advantageous. 
  • A motivation to use automation and HTP technologies in order to obtain new biological insight.
  • Excellent track-record of scientific achievements (publications, patents, awards, grants, conference presentations, etc.).

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 2 years and 8 months from November 1st , 2021.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here .

Further information
Further information about the position may be obtained from Professor Ákos T. Kovács, or +45 4525 2527. Website:  

You can read more about DTU Bioengineering at .

If you are applying from abroad, you may find useful information on working in Denmark and at DTU at DTU – Moving to Denmark .

Application procedure
Your complete online application must be submitted no later than 23 September 2021 (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 out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

  • Application (cover letter)
  • CV
  • Academic Diplomas (MSc/PhD)
  • List of publications
  • Names and contact information for two references

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, disability, race, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

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 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 12,900 students and 6,000 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.

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