PhD fellow in “Faecal bacteriophage transfer for enhanced gastrointestinal tract maturation in neonates”

Updated: about 1 year ago
Deadline: 15 Jun 2021

Department of Food Science, Faculty of Science at University of Copenhagen is offering a PhD scholarship in “Faecal bacteriophage transfer for enhanced gastrointestinal tract maturation in neonates” commencing 15.8.2021 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Description of the scientific environment

The Department of Food Science, University of Copenhagen, is recognized for excellence in food research, food science education, and industry collaboration. It covers all disciplines of food science from raw materials to processing and consumption, and is organized in four sections, one of which is the section for “Food Microbiology and Fermentation”, where the position is placed. Gut microbiome research is a strong focus area and during the last 5 years bacteriophage-bacteria-host interactions has become a particular research focus. Further information about the Department can be found at .

Project description
Approximately 1% of all infants are born very prematurely (before 32 weeks of gestation). Their

digestive system is immature and contains a very different set of bacteria compared to infants born

after a full length pregnancy. Because of these abnormal bacteria, very preterm infants have a high

risk of developing the serious and often fatal intestinal diseases necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC).

We aim to use bacteriophages, a type of viruses that exclusively infect bacteria, to keep harmful

bacteria in check while the vulnerable digestive system of the infant matures. The PhD-project is part of a larger project financed by the Novo Nordisk Foundation entitled “PrePhage - Faecal bacteriophage transfer for enhanced gastrointestinal tract maturation in preterm infants”. The PhD-student will primarily be involved in the gut microbiological characterization of gut-derived samples from animal experiments (showing the safety of and mechanism behind the intervention being developed) as well as human infants. The project will contain a strong wet-lab component, but the PhD-student is also expected to obtain strong bioinformatics skills during the project. The PhD-student will work closely together with several other PhDs and Post Docs also working on working on the project.

Principal supervisor isProfessor (MSO) Dennis S. Nielsen, Department of Food Science. E-mail:,Direct Phone: +4551330362.

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 biology, food science, biotechnology or similar with good grades and English skills. An educational background as medical doctor or veterinarian will also be considered relevant. As criteria for the assessment of your qualifications emphasis will also be laid on previous publications (if any) and relevant work experience. Experience within several of the research fields microbiology, molecular biology, gut microbiome research, bioinformatics, animal experiments and/or clinical trials will be considered an advantage.

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.

Application Procedure

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

Please include

  • Cover Letter
  • CV
  • Diploma and transcripts of records (BSc and MSc)
  • Other information for consideration, e.g. list of publications (if any)
  • 1-3 reference letters (if any)

Reference letters must be uploaded by the applicant him/herself. The recruiting person must NOT  obtain reference letters which content is not known to the applicant him/herself. This is against Danish law.

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 15 June 2021, 23:59.

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 Dennis S. Nielsen, Department of Food Science, , +45 51 33 03 62.

General information about PhD programmes at SCIENCE is available at .

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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