PhD scholarship in Intracellular Quantum Sensing – DTU Health Tech

Updated: 3 months ago

Are you curious about chemical processes occurring inside a biological cell? Would you like to develop new sensing modalities to resolving intracellular reactions?

We invite applications for a 3-year PhD scholarship in diamond sensing, microfluidics, and optical trapping, to work in the Section for Magnetic Resonance at DTU Health Tech.

Our research is interdisciplinary, and part of a 7-year research project “Intracellular mechanics and diamond-based sensing” funded by the Danish Research Councils and the Novo Nordisk Foundation. A collaboration between researchers at DTU Health Tech and DTU Physics as well as international partners provides the scientific environment. The overall vision of the project is to develop methods that can monitor intracellular life: We will use the quantum mechanical properties of colour centres inside nanodiamonds to develop sensing protocols that can monitor intracellular processes and ultimately as basis for intracellular NMR. At the same time, we will use the nanodiamonds as probe particles for optical trapping and thereby measure intracellular viscosity and elasticity. Further, we aim to investigate single cells, initially from the immune system, using these nanodiamond sensors.

Responsibilities and qualifications
You will play a central role in the middle phase of the 7-year project. At the core, you will develop and explore quantum sensing protocols for optically trapped nanodiamonds to conduct magnetic resonance sensing in a fluidic setting. With this, you will contribute to efforts by other team members on measurements of intracellular mechanical properties and detection of bio-processes inside single biological cells. Your research will be instrumental for our future ability to conduct in-situ, local NMR spectroscopy inside such single cells.

These contributions require a combination of interests and skills, ranging from microscopy and microfluidics, optics, data analysis and computer control of an experimental setup to theoretical modelling. Depending on your prior experience and training needs, we will sharpen your skills and provide you with opportunities to develop as a scientist. You will contribute with solutions and suggestions that can bring the entire research team closer to the overall goals of the project.

As part of your project, you will spend time with one or several of our international collaborators, who are frontrunners in diamond sensing and diamond materials or in diamond sensing with cells.

You are ambitious; possess a strong internal drive and perseverance as well as a sincere interest in interdisciplinary science. You have demonstrated academic excellence. You know how to “make things work” and you work well both in a group with other team members as well as on your own.

The ideal candidate has

  • Experience with optics and optical experimental setups, preferably with biological specimen
  • Experience with relevant software for data- and image analysis, hardware control and/or numerical modelling.
  • Understanding of and sincere interest in electronic control of an experimental setup.
  • Sincere interest in interdisciplinary work and a “can-do” attitude.

We imagine you have an MSc degree in physics, biophysics, optics, nanoscience, biomedical engineering, or similar – preferably with training involving fluidics and biological systems.

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.

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in the PhD School at DTU Health Tech. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see DTU's rules for the PhD education .   

The assessment of the applicant will be made by the group of supervisors, e.g., Associate Professors Kirstine Berg-Sørensen (DTU Health Tech) and Alexander Huck (DTU Physics).

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 September 2023 (or according to mutual agreement). The position is a full-time position.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here .

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Kirstine Berg-Sørensen, email: .

You can read more aboutDTU Health Tech at .

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 1 May 2023 (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.

DTU Health Tech engages in research, education, and innovation base on technical and natural science for the healthcare sector. The Healthcare sector is a globally expanding market with demands for the most advanced technological solutions. DTU Health Tech creates the foundation for companies to develop new and innovative services and products which benefit people and create value for society. DTU Health Tech’s expertise spans from imaging and biosensor techniques, across digital health and biological modelling, to biopharma technologies. The department has a scientific staff of about 210 persons, 140 PhD students and a technical/administrative support staff of about 160 persons, of which a large majority contributes to our research infrastructure and related commercial activities.

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 13,400 students and 5,800 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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