PhD fellowship available in metabolomics

Updated: 19 days ago
Deadline: 24 May 2021

A PhD fellowship is available at the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science at University of Copenhagen. The position begins 1 July 2021 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Description of scientific environment
The Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences is among the largest Departments at the University of Copenhagen. The focus is on plants, microorganisms, animals and the environment as a basis for sustainable production of food and other biological products. Research and teaching cover natural resources, agriculture and biotechnology from the molecular level to the ecosystem level.

Project description
The PhD stipend is financed by a recently granted VILLUM Investigator project on Plant Transportomics. Transport of metabolites acrosscellular borders is essential for plant fitness and survival, and has proven important in controlling key quality traits in agriculture. Yet, the function of thousands of transporters is largely unknown. We will create a first-of-its-kind transportomics database that will grow to include substrate spectra of every transporter in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, thale cress. Moreover, we will decode the chemical language of plants by mapping the metabolites exuded and the transporters present at the root and leaf epidermis during stress conditions when intense communication occurs. The knowledge gained and molecular tools generated will have application in sustainable agriculture.

We are seeking a talented PhD fellow who is eager to work with us on this exciting project, in which the PhD student will have great opportunities to advance his/her basic research skills. The PhD fellowship is within the following topic:

Project on Metabolomics:
In this project aimed at decoding the chemical language of plants, the student will generate a pipeline for untargeted metabolomics of root and leaf exudates as well as plant extracts using MS-QTOF together with advanced online tools such as e.g. XCMS, Molecular Network Analysis. The PhD student will work closely with other members of the team in development of pipeline for mining MS data and collaborate with a computational team in the design and building of the transportomics database with MS data. Additionally, the structure of novel stress-induced exuded m/z features will be determined using novel methodology.

Main supervisor: Professor Barbara Ann Halkier (https://dynamo.ku.dk/people/halkier/)

The PhD Fellow will on a daily basis collaborate with the DynaMo Center,a Center of Excellence within plant biology (www.dynamo.ku.dk), located at the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Job description
Your key tasks as a PhD student are to:

  • Manage and carry through your research project 
  • Publish in international peer-reviewed journals
  • Participate in conferences
  • Teach, supervise BSc and MSc students, and disseminate your research

Qualification requirements

  • A MSc in Biochemistry, Chemistry, Biology, Biotechnology or a closely relate field
  • A strong motivation for the application
  • Excellent written and spoken English
  • Well-developed collaborative skills

Key criteria for the assessment of candidates
Special importance will be attached to applicants having the following professional qualifications:

  • Documented experience within analytical chemistry
  • Expertise and/or strong interest MS analysis and datamining
  • Experience with working on MS instruments will be an advantage

Emphasis for selecting the successful candidate will laid on previous publications (if any) and relevant work experience. 

Contacts: Professor Barbara Ann Halkier, email bah@plen.ku.dk, phone (+45) 35 33 33 42.

Further information on the Department is linked at https://www.science.ku.dk/english/about-the-faculty/organisation/ .

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

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 up to DKK 430.569 including annual supplement (+ pension up to DKK 73.627). Negotiation for salary supplement is possible.

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

Please include

  • Curriculum vita
  • Diplomas (exam scores, Master degree or equivalent)
  • Contact information for three reference persons

The deadline for applications is  Monday 24 May 2021, 23:59 GMT +1.'

Interviews will be held on  Week 24+25 June 2021. 

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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