PhD fellowship in Plant Biology and Biochemistry

Updated: 20 days ago
Deadline: 27 Sep 2021

Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences (PLEN)invites applicants for a PhD fellowship in Plant Biology and Biochemistry.

Start date is expected to be 1 January 2022 or as soon as possible thereafter.

The projects
The projects will align with Assist. Prof. Kesten’s Novo Nordisk Emerging Investigator grant on cell wall engineering and Lundbeck Foundation Experiment grant on cytoskeletal regulation in plant and mammalian systems.

The cell wall engineering project aims to decipher how cellulose synthases work on a molecular level and how these mechanisms can be tuned to use alternative substrates; Projects related to this topic include, understanding which residues coordinate both substrate and product in the enzyme, changing biopolymer structure to influence wood properties and looking at how these changes affect plant fitness. This project has the direct aim to design new biomaterials but might also influence both food and feed supply.

The cytoskeleton related project aims to understand how disorder in microtubule associated proteins evolved in between plants and mammals. The function of disordered regions in proteins is often based on biophysical properties rather than sequential conservation and the function of many proteins regulating the cytoskeleton, e.g. microtubules, depend on such disordered regions. By comparing the biophysical properties and creating chimeras of such proteins from different Kingdoms of life, we will decipher the molecular working mechanisms of proteins prominently involved in plant stress adaptation, especially important regarding climate change, and in the development of neuronal disorders.

Who are we looking for?
Applicants should hold an MSc degree, or equivalent, in any areas of Plant Biology (and related areas), Biochemistry, or Biophysics (with a strong focus on optics) 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), relevant work experience, reference letters and interviews.

Our group and research- and what do we offer?
You will work in a highly cross-disciplinary and exciting team that includes the full range of microscopy, proteomics, glycomics, biochemistry and molecular biology. This will ensure that you will receive a broad but cutting-edge experience that will build a solid foundation for your future scientific career. It is expected that you have experiences in at least one of the areas of molecular & cell biology or biochemistry. Together, we will generate an exciting environment to understand mechanisms that underpin cytoskeletal behaviour and cell wall synthesis.

The group is a part of Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences (PLEN), Faculty of SCIENCE, University of Copenhagen. We are located in Copenhagen.

Principal supervisor is Professor Staffan Persson, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences (PLEN), E-mail: .
Co-supervisor is Assistant Professor Christopher Kesten, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences (PLEN), e-mail: .

The PhD programme
A three year full-time study within the framework of the regular PhD programme (5+3 scheme), if you already have an education equivalent to a relevant Danish master’s degree.

Getting into a position on the regular PhD programme

Qualifications needed for the regular programme
To be eligible for the regular PhD programme, you must have completed a degree programme, equivalent to a Danish master’s degree (180 ECTS/3 FTE BSc + 120 ECTS/2 FTE MSc) related to the subject area of the project, e.g. Biology or Biochemistry. For information of eligibility of completed programmes, see General assessments for specific countries and Assessment database .

Terms of employment in the regular programme
Employment as PhD fellow is full time and for maximum 3 years.

Employment is conditional upon your successful enrolment as a PhD student at the PhD School at the Faculty of SCIENCE, University of Copenhagen. This requires submission and acceptance of an application for the specific project formulated by the applicant.

The terms of employment and salary are in accordance to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State (AC). The position is covered by the Protocol on Job Structure.

Salary range starts at DKK 27,588.59 per month incl. PhD supplement (1 April 2021 level).

Responsibilities and tasks in the PhD programme

  • Carry through an independent research project under supervision
  • Complete PhD courses corresponding to approx. 30 ECTS / ½ FTE
  • Participate in active research environments, including a stay at another research institution, preferably abroad
  • Teaching and knowledge dissemination activities
  • Write scientific papers aimed at high-impact journals
  • Write and defend a PhD thesis on the basis of your project

We are looking for the following qualifications:

  • Professional qualifications relevant to the PhD project
  • Relevant publications
  • Relevant work experience
  • Other relevant professional activities
  • Curious mind-set with a strong interest in Biochemistry
  • Good language skills

Application and Assessment Procedure
Your application including all attachments must be in English and submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.

Please include

  • Motivated letter of application (max. one page)
  • Your motivation for applying for the specific PhD project. Please state which PhD project you are applying for.
  • Curriculum vitae including information about your education, experience, language skills and other skills relevant for the position
  • Original diplomas for Bachelor of Science or Master of Science and transcript of records in the original language, including an authorized English translation if issued in another language than English or Danish. If not completed, a certified/signed copy of a recent transcript of records or a written statement from the institution or supervisor is accepted.
  • Publication list (if possible)
  • Up to two reference letters (if available)
  • Application deadline:

    The deadline for applications is 27 September 2021, 23:59 GMT +2.

    We reserve the right not to consider material received after the deadline, and not to consider applications that do not live up to the abovementioned requirements.

    The further process
    After deadline, a number of applicants will be selected for academic assessment by an unbiased expert assessor. You are notified, whether you will be passed for assessment.

    The assessor will assess the qualifications and experience of the shortlisted applicants with respect to the above mentioned research area, techniques, skills and other requirements. The assessor will conclude whether each applicant is qualified and, if so, for which of the two models. The assessed applicants will have the opportunity to comment on their assessment. You can read about the recruitment process at .

    Interviews with selected candidates are expected to be held in 1st half of November 2021

    For specific information about the PhD fellowship, please contact Co-supervisor Assistant Professor Christopher Kesten, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences (PLEN), e-mail: .

    General information about PhD study at the Faculty of SCIENCE is available at the PhD School’s website: .

    The University of Copenhagen wishes to reflect the surrounding community and invites all regardless of personal background to apply for the position. 

    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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