Postdoc in Synthetic Biology and Metabolic Engineering - DTU Biosustain

Updated: 3 months ago

Are you eager to make a meaningful impact on our planet's sustainability and play a pivotal role in combatting global warming through microbial engineering? We offer an exciting opportunity to work within a world-renowned laboratory specializing in metabolic engineering and synthetic biology, where you'll contribute to pioneering solutions for the challenges of tomorrow.

About Us
The Systems Environmental Microbiology (SEM) group at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability (DTU Biosustain) is looking for a creative, dynamic and dedicated Postdoctoral Researcher to join our team for a fully funded two-year term, with the potential for extension. By becoming part of our international and diverse community at DTU Biosustain, you will collaborate on cutting-edge projects, fuel your creativity with fresh ideas, and foster collaborations to move forward the field of microbial engineering for fighting global problems.

Responsibilities and qualifications
Addressing climate change adaptation presents is a most pivotal questions of our time. The vulnerability of agricultural land to escalating temperatures and increasingly frequent droughts, which culminate in the perilous loss of productive territories, is a major issue in this sense. In the pursuit of enhancing agricultural resilience, DTU Biosustain is involved in a multinational research consortium to delve into the depths of paleo-environmental samples, unearthing ancient genes and gene clusters. This strategy will serve as the foundation for producing ancient enzymes and bio-products, strategically integrated within cell factories. This endeavour aims at bolstering plant resilience against droughts and heat stress by engineering the rhizobiome. In particular, paleo-environmental samples are a treasure chest of novel metabolic functions. The project harness ancient metagenomes from specific warm periods to mine genes supporting higher resilience in microbial hosts. In particular, metagenomes will be screened to isolate genes encoding pathways leading to biotechnologically-interesting compounds and related functions.

Your focus will be on the assembly, testing and functional verification of pathways and regulatory functions encoded in ancient DNA. To this end, you will use bioinformatics, genome engineering and metabolic engineering tools to express and test heterologous genes in the environmental bacterium Pseudomonas putida and related species. Upon finding interesting candidates, the Design-Built-Test-Learn cycle of synthetic biology will be applied to generate cell factories towards ultimately upscaling production. You will embrace and exploit the power of bioinformatics, genome engineering, synthetic biology and metabolic engineering tools. You will work hand-in-hand with experts from various fields, including protein engineers, bioinformaticians and process engineers.

  • Academic background: As a formal qualification, you must hold a Ph.D. degree in a relevant life-sciences discipline (e.g. Biology, Biochemistry, Biotechnology), with relevant training in microbial genome engineering, metabolic engineering, and bioinformatics.
  • Essential previous experience: Hands-on experience in synthetic biology and genetic engineering of microbes. Solid knowledge of metabolism and microbial physiology, particularly in environmental bacteria. Previous experience with Pseudomonas species will be positively evaluated. Knowledge on bioinformatics will be also considered an asset.
  • Expertise: Display proficiency in techniques related to gene expression, metabolic manipulations and protein engineering, along with at least a basic understanding of bioinformatics and programming.
  • Inherent traits: Enthusiasm, self-drive, independent thinking, and strong interpersonal skills are particularly relevant for the position. Collaborative teamwork will be a daily component of this position, and dedication to scientific advancement and excellence is our motto. You will take initiative and responsibilities in the planning of research activities, including working in close collaboration with other team members and external collaborators. You will ensure to be updated with relevant literature and novel methodologies relevant for the project.
  • Communication skills: Excellent written and oral communication skills in English are a must, enabling you to effectively convey your scientific insights not only with peers and colleagues, but also at international conferences. Willingness to contribute to the work of others by offering practical and intellectual help, be enthusiastic, committed, hard-working, and self-motivated in an international environment will be part of your daily activities.

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 2 years. Starting date is the 15th of January 2024 (or according to mutual agreement). The position is a full-time position.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here .

Further information 
Further information may be obtained from Dr. Pablo Iván Nikel ( ) or Dr. Daniel C. Volke ( ). You can read more about us at  or .

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 22 September 2023 (23:59 Danish time)

Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply now", 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 – in English)
  • List of publications 

Applications received after the deadline will not be considered.

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

The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability (DTU Biosustain)
Recent progress in our ability to read and write genomic code, combined with advances in automation, analytics and data science, has fundamentally changed the scope and ambition of harnessing the potential of biological systems. Big data approaches and analysis of biological systems are key research instruments at the Center. DTU Biosustain utilizes these advances for microbial cell factory design to foster sustainable lifestyles in relation to three application areas: Sustainable Chemicals, Natural Products, and Microbial Foods. 

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 mission to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That mission lives on today. DTU has 13,500 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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