PhD scholarship in Development of Oral Vaccines for Fish – DTU Aqua

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PhD scholarship in Development of Oral Vaccines for Fish – DTU Aqua
Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark


Job Description

Join us on our mission to monitor and promote health of fish and shellfish, with special focus on sustainable aquaculture.
DTU Aqua is looking for a PhD student to work with development of vaccines and vaccination strategies for farmed fishes.
You will be working within vaccinology and immunology with emphasis on development and testing of innovative vaccine concepts in fish along with dissection of host-pathogen interactions aiming at improving our understanding the mechanisms of protective immunity in fish. Your work will be part of externally funded research projects focusing on different strategies for mucosal vaccine delivery, among others including bioencapsulation of vaccines for oral delivery. 
Vaccination of small sized fish for early disease prophylaxis remains a challenge for many infectious diseases in aquaculture. By tailoring vaccine formulations/vaccine design for delivery or by immersion or via the oral route - including administering the vaccines via live feed organisms - we aim at promoting efficient uptake and associated stimulation of a protective immune response. Your main scientific focus will be related to this aim, and while pursuing this you will get involved in collaborations with research groups at other universities as well as with industry in- and outside of Denmark.
During your scholarship, you will gain expertise in a broad range of laboratory techniques, among others including work with bacteria and viruses, fish cell cultures, assays for immune response analyses such as transcriptomics, immunoassays for antigen tracking etc., as well as animal trials under experimental conditions. The latter will include vaccination- as well as infection-trials in rainbow trout and possibly other fish species. 
Through our broad network of international collaborators, you will have ample opportunity for long and short research stays at scientific institutions in other countries. 
You will be situated at the Section for Fish and Shellfish Diseases in Kgs. Lyngby near Copenhagen. The section offers state-of-the art laboratory and experimental facilities, where we carry out research within epidemiology, microbiology, virology, immunology and host-pathogen interactions, in relation to infectious diseases in aquaculture. We have more than 40 years of experience with research on fish diseases, and a large international network of collaborators. The section is the National reference laboratory on fish, crustacean and mollusc diseases, and EU reference laboratory on fish- and crustacean diseases. In addition, the section has a large project portfolio and currently employs 27 people with a background in molecular biology, immunology/vaccinology, diagnostics, virology, bacteriology, epidemiology and laboratory techniques.
Responsibilities and qualifications
You will be responsible for developing working hypotheses associated with as the project aims, designing and conducting research experiments, analyzing data, publishing your novel findings in scientific journals/at scientific meetings, and for communicating them to farmers and other relevant stakeholders. 
Specific tasks in the project will be:

  • Draft a suitable work- and time plan.
  • Optimize vaccine formulation and design.
  • Perform fish vaccination trials along with vaccine tracking and monitoring immune response. 
  • Perform infection trials under experimental conditions.
  • Process and analyze samples and interpret data..

In addition, as a PhD student you will:

  • Complete educational courses related to general and project-specific research skills.
  • Visit and work with external partners to expand your scientific expertise.
  • Disseminate scientific results in peer-reviewed articles 
  • Attend conferences to present your research and expand your academic network.     
  • Engage in other ongoing projects and activities at the Section.
  • Participate in teaching within control of diseases in aquaculture.

You must have a two-year master's degree (120 ECTS points) or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master's degree within any of the following areas: Veterinary or animal science, biology, immunology/vaccinology, or in similar fields.
In addition, the following skills will be advantagous:

  • Curiosity and high motivation for vaccine research.
  • Being responsible and engaged in your daily work
  • Being creative and interested in exploring new technology and in adopting new ways of working and solving problems.
  • Research experience within molecular biology, pharmacology and/or immunology.
  • Analytical skills and some experience in statistical and bioinformatical analysis.
  • Strong written and oral communication skills in English. 
  • Ability to work in a team and to assist colleagues, as well as being able to work independently.

Personal suitability and motivation for the position will be emphasised.
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 DTU's rules for the PhD education . 
An assessment of the applicants will be made by Professor Niels Lorenzen and head of section for Fish- and shellfish diseases Britt Bang Jensen. Interviews will be carried out in week 17 or 19. 
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. Starting date is 1 June 2024, or as soon as possible.
You can read more about career paths at DTU here .
Further information
Further information may be obtained from Professor Niels Lorenzen, email: [email protected]
You can read more about DTU Aqua at ; and the section for Fish and Shellfish diseases here:
If you are applying from abroad, you may find useful information on working in Denmark and at DTU at DTU – Moving to Denmark . Furthermore, you have the option of joining our monthly free seminar “PhD relocation to Denmark and startup “Zoom” seminar ” for all questions regarding the practical matters of moving to Denmark and working as a PhD at DTU. 
Application procedure 
Your complete online application must be submitted no later than 15 April 2024 (23:59 Danish time). Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply now", 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 (in English) including official description of grading scale

You may apply prior to ob­tai­ning your master's degree but cannot begin before having received it.
Applications 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.
About the section
The Section for Fish and Shellfish Diseases conducts research on host-pathogen interactions, disease prophylaxis and pathogen characterization. The section gives research-based advice and is at the forefront on the development of diagnostic tools and preventive measures of diseases in fish, bivalves and crustaceans. Furthermore, the section is appointed as the European Union reference laboratory for Fish and Crustacean Diseases and as the reference laboratory for the fish disease viral haemorrhagic septicaemia (VHS) for the World Organisation for Animal Health.
DTU Aqua
DTU Aqua – National Institute of Aquatic Resources – works for well-functioning oceans, rivers, and lakes where biodiversity can thrive. Our research, advisory service, and education contribute to the development of a sustainable blue bioeconomy, robust aquatic ecosystems, and reduced effects of climate change. We have a large national and international network and cooperate with research partners, public authorities, industry, and NGOs. We have state-of-the-art research facilities and Denmark’s only ocean- and arctic-going research vessel. The Institute has 360 employees, one-half being scientific staff, including 50 PhD students. More than 35 nationalities are represented at the Institute, and we support an equal gender distribution. We are located in Lyngby, Hirtshals, Nykøbing Mors, and Silkeborg and have regular activities in Greenland. Learn more on .
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 mission to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That mission lives on today. DTU has 13,500 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. DTU has campuses in all parts of Denmark and in Greenland, and we collaborate with the best universities around the world.

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Job Info
  • Job Identification 3391
  • Job Category Phd
  • Posting Date 03/25/2024, 08:15 AM
  • Apply Before 04/15/2024, 05:59 PM
  • Locations Kemitorvet, Kgs. Lyngby, 2800, DK

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