Postdoc in modelling carbon fixation in plants

Updated: 12 days ago
Deadline: 21 Jun 2022

Niels Bohr Institute
Faculty of Science
University of Copenhagen

The Niels Bohr Institute invites applicants for a 2-year Postdoctoral fellowship in modeling carbon fixation in plants. The project is a part of the DIRECT ( Data science driven leaf architecture optimization) collaboration with plant-scientists and computational biologists and will be led by Associate Professor Ala Trusina.

Start date is 1st October 2022 or as soon as possible thereafter.

The project
Photosynthesis, the biochemical process that converts carbon dioxide and water into oxygen and sugars in plant leaves, is the vital process to life on Earth. The intricate network of airspaces formed by the cells inside the leaf is critical for supporting photosynthesis as it allows for efficient exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen.  

The aim of the project is to build biophysical reaction-diffusion and network-based models to investigate how the architecture of the airspace network impacts the efficiency of photosynthesis. 

The project relies on a tight collaboration with experimental plant-scientists and computational biologists with the goal to bridge machine learning and biophysical modeling with biology to optimize the leaf cell architecture. The models built in this Postdoctoral project will be based on experimentally sampled airspace networks and will output the architectural characteristics important for photosynthesis efficiency. Together with Machine Learning Approaches employed by our collaborators the biophysical models will be used for predicting genes and molecular mechanisms that could optimize photosynthesis.

The ideal candidate will have a strong background in physics or applied mathematics and solid programming skills. Previous knowledge of biology is not necessary, although the applicant is expected to have high motivation and ability to gain the necessary knowledge in relevant parts of plant biology in the first phase of the project.

Who are we looking for?

We are looking for a talented, highly motivated and creative scientist interested in exploring questions at the interfaces between physics, quantitative biology, networks science and machine learning. 

The successful candidates must have excellent English skills, both written and oral. The successful candidate must hold a PhD degree in physics, biophysics or related disciplines. 

Our group and research environment

We are part of the Unibiolab, in the Biocomplexity section at the Niels Bohr Institute. 

We are interested in uncovering the unifying principles in complex biological systems. We like asking questions and look for simple ways to answer them. We combine theoretical and computational models with quantitative experiments and very much enjoy interacting with our collaborators across physics, biology and medicine. Our current focus is on what cells can achieve collectively, how far can they go beyond what single cells can do on their own. A few examples are: ways to counteract stresses, balance their relative abundances in developing organs; encode and send the information across tissue  and form complex and stable shapes in organs and organisms. 

At Biocomplexity we offer a creative and exciting research atmosphere at the vibrant border between physics and biology, with research ranging from viruses to development in humans and plants.

Terms of employment

The position is covered by the Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff.

Terms of appointment and payment accord to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State.

Negotiation for salary supplement is possible.

The application, in English, must be submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.

Please include

-        Curriculum vitae
-        Diplomas (Master and PhD degree)
-        Cover letter
-        Complete publication list 

The deadline for applications is 21st June 2022, 23:59 GMT+2.

After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the Interview Committee.

You can read about the recruitment process at https://employment.ku.dk/faculty/recruitment-process/ .


Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe’s top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation – with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture – creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.


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