PhD fellow in Ancient Proteins: Proteios PhD 1 The role of organic mineral interactions in the survival of ancient proteins

Updated: 9 months ago
Deadline: 28 Jan 2018

Evogenomics/Natural History Museum of Denmark 

Faculty of Science 

University of Copenhagen 

The Palaeoproteomics team, within the Evogenomics section of the Natural History Museum of Denmark, Faculty of Science at University of Copenhagen, in collaboration with Nanogeoscience is offering a PhD scholarship in Modelling Protein Decay, commencing 01.05.2018 or thereafter, the starting date being flexible for the right candidate.   

Description of the scientific environment 

Copenhagen has developed a reputation for the study of ancient DNA and proteins, which was further boosted by the award of a Niels Bohr Chair to Matthew Collins.  Together with Enrico Cappellini he leads the 12 person Palaeoproteomics Group at the University of Copenhagen, which forms part of the larger (100 person) Evogenomics section led by Prof Tom Gilbert.  Working together with the Novo Nordisk funded Centre for Protein Research, they have access to state of the art facilities for the preparation, analysis and interpretation of ancient proteins.  Susan Stipp's Nanogeoscience Group is an international group of 50 researchers from chemistry, physics, engineering, mineralogy, geology, nanoscience, mathematics and biology.  They combine a unique set of nanoscale techniques with classical methods to understand the fundamental processes that take place at the interface between natural materials and fluids. 

Project description 

We have recently demonstrated (1) that mineral interaction may be one way in which peptide sequences can persist into deep time.  The project will combine experimental methods with analysis of eggshell from Africa, (Madagascar and Australia?) to examine the pattern of decay of eggshell proteins and the role of mineral surfaces in altering decay pathways.  The candidate will use a range of experimental and analytical methods to explore protein mineral interaction, and high resolution mass spectrometry to characterise the state of protein decay.  The results will generate kinetic model data which will be used by Proteios PhD student 2. 

We are seeking an exceptional analytical biochemist or biophysicist with experience of protein characterization (notably LC/MS-MS) and/or mineral surface characterisation. 

The candidate will work between the Natural History Museum of Denmark (Collins and Cappellini), Nano Geosciences (Stipp), with support from the Centre for Proteomic Research (Olsen, Kelstrup), and the Universities of Turin, Italy (Demarchi), Curtin, Australia (Bunce), York, UK (Penkman)  and Colorado, USA (Miller).  

Principal supervisors are Professor Matthew Collins, Evogenomics, SNM,

, Direct Phone: +4593 565659 and Professor Susan Stipp, Nanogeosciences, Science,

, Direct Phone:  +45 35 32 02 02 

Job description 

The position is available for a 3-year period and your key tasks as a PhD student at SCIENCE are: 

  • To manage and carry through your research project 
  • Attend PhD courses 
  • Write scientific articles and your PhD thesis 
  • Teach and disseminate your research 
  • To stay at an external research institution for a few months, preferably abroad 
  • Work for the department 

Formal requirements  

Applicants should hold an MSc degree* in Biochemistry, Chemistry, Biophysics, Materials Science or a related subject with good results and good English skills. As criteria for the assessment of your qualifications emphasis will also be laid on previous publications (if any) and relevant work experience. 

*Note that a UK MSc is only 90 ECTS and the candidate will have had to complete additional work or other experience equivalent to 30 ECTS to be eligible for the award[MSB1]  

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.  

The starting salary is currently at a minimum DKK 312.879 including annual supplement (+ pension up to DKK 43.219). Negotiation for salary supplement is possible. 

Application Procedure 

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

Please include  

  • Cover Letter, stating which PhD project you are applying for and detailing your motivation and background for applying for the specific PhD project.  
  • CV  
  • Diploma and transcripts of records (BSc and MSc) 
  • Acceptance Letter for the relevant MSc Programme at SCIENCE, if any 
  • Other information for consideration, e.g. list of publications (if any),  
  • Full contact details (Name, address, telephone & email) of 1-3 professional referees 

The University wishes our staff to reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background. 

The deadline for applications is 28 January 2018, 23:59 GMT +1. 

After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the Interview Committee. Afterwards an assessment committee will be appointed to evaluate the selected applications. The applicants will be notified of the composition of the committee and the final selection of a successful candidate will be made by the Head of Department, based on the recommendations of the assessment committee and the interview committee.  

The main criterion for selection will be the research potential of the applicant and the above mentioned skills. The successful candidate will then be requested to formally apply for enrolment as a PhD student at the PhD school of Science. You can read more about the recruitment process at


For specific information about the PhD scholarship, please contact the principal supervisor Professor Matthew Collins, Evogenomics, SNM,  

Direct Phone: +4593 565659  

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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