PhD in Yeast Metabolic Engineering

Updated: about 1 month ago

Applications are invited for 3-year PhD fellowship in the field of metabolic engineering and synthetic biology. The start date is the 1. March 2020. The position will be a part of Horizon 2020 European international project SHIKIFACTORY100 ( ). SHIKIFACTORY100 aims towards the production of a universe of more than 100 high-added value compounds from the shikimate pathway through the development of an optimized shikimate chassis and implementation of novel biosynthetic routes exploring enzyme promiscuity to introduce new pathways for the production of known and newly designed compounds. The project consortium assembles key academic and industrial players in Europe covering research in computational design and in vivo implementation of pathways and cell factories. DTU Biosustain’s role in the project is to develop chassis strains for key aromatic precursor production that tolerate high levels of the target molecules. This particular PhD position will focus on the tolerance component and will integrate with chassis strain development activities at DTU Biosustain. The primary method for generating tolerant strains will be automated adaptive laboratory evolution (ALE) utilizing the existing automation platforms at DTU Biosustain.

Responsibilities and tasks

  • Testing toxicity of a large number of candidate chemicals against E. coli and yeast strains
  • Work with the ALE team at DTU Biosustain to plan and perform lab evolution experiments to increase tolerance of yeast and E. coli against a smaller number of selected target chemicals
  • Analyze genome re-sequencing data to identify key mutations in ALE populations and strains
  • Perform follow-up screening and genome engineering experiments to test and verify effects of mutations discovered by re-sequencing of ALE strains
  • Perform fermentation and physiological characterization experiments on evolved strains
  • Interface with metabolic engineers to implement evolved strains as production chassis organisms for chemical production
  • Disseminate results through scientific publications, patents and conference presentations.
  • Supervise MSc and BSc students.


  • MSc in Biotechnology or Molecular Biology
  • Excellent track-record of academic achievements
  • Hands-on experience with yeast and E. coli molecular biology
  • Hands-on experience in fermentation and laboratory evolution
  • Basic data science and bioinformatics skills (resequencing data analysis)
  • Ability to work independently, to plan and carry out complicated research tasks, and also to be a part of the large research team
  • Experience in project planning and supervision of students or laboratory technicians
  • Team spirit and excellent collaboration skills
  • Strong analytical skills and excellent judgment ability
  • Excellent communication skills, fluent written and oral English
  • Well-organized, efficient, result-oriented, have excellent record keeping abilities.

Approval and Enrolment

The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see the DTU PhD Guide .

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 appointment terms

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 3 years.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here .

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Irina Borodina, tel: +45 4525 8020, e-mail: [email protected]

Application procedure

Please submit your online application no later than 24 January 2020 (23:59 local time).

Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here )

Candidates may apply prior to obtaining their master's degree but cannot begin before having received it.

Applications and enclosures received after the deadline will not be considered.

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

The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability is an international research center at the Technical University of Denmark funded by a grant from the Novo Nordisk Foundation. The center conducts research in metabolic engineering of cell factories, in silico systems biology, metagenomics and plant biochemistry with the purpose of developing new processes and technologies that can support a more sustainable bio-based production of valuable chemicals in the future. The Center brings together some of the world's leading researchers in the field and will possess the advanced equipment and facilities required for achieving its ambitious research goals. Impact on society by innovation has a high priority and the Center collaborates worldwide with biotech companies and chemical industries to facilitate the dissemination and exploitation of its results. Additional information can be found at

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 vision to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That vision lives on today. DTU has 11,500 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. Our main campus is in Kgs. Lyngby north of Copenhagen and we have campuses in Roskilde and Ballerup and in Sisimiut in Greenland.

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