PhD scholarship in the project “Human milk oligosaccharides’ impact on maturation of the gut microbiota”

Updated: about 1 month ago

A PhD position is available in the Protein Glycoscience and Biotechnology group, Protein Chemistry and Enzyme Technology section at the Department of Biotechnology and Biomedicine. A major focus of this group, headed by Prof. Maher Abou Hachem , is to perform impactful and pioneering work on understanding the molecular basis of glycan utilisation the human gut microbiota to develop mechanism-based interventions for editing the gut microbial community to promote health and combat disease.

The PhD research project is a collaboration with the groups of Assoc. Prof. Manimozhiyan Arumugam (University of Copenhagen, Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research) and Assoc. Prof. Eric C. Martens (University of Michigan Medical School, Michigan, USA). The project’s goal is to bring insight into the role of human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) in the maturation of the human gut microbiota, which is an important determinant of human health.

Responsibilities and qualification
Your tasks will be to:

  • Analyse and discover the genetic potential of human milk oligosaccharide utilisation in available large metagenomic datasets from the human gut microbiota (collaboration with Assoc. Prof. Manimozhiyan Arumugam)
  • Generate and analyse metagenomic and metatranscriptomic data from specific bacterial groups isolated in the project
  • Perform an in vivo colonisation experiment in germfree mice and analyse changes in the gut microbiota (e.g. metagenome, microbiota metabolite profiles) under specific stimuli
  • In vitro microbiological growth experiments of anaerobic bacterial isolates from the HGM and biochemical characterisation of HMO utilisation enzymes and proteins 

Candidates should 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.

Ideal candidates:

  • Outstanding academic record with a strong background in bioinformatics with a biochemistry or microbiology foundation.
  • Strong computational skills and interest in programming and statistics relevant to advanced bioinformatics analyses
  • Experimental skills in microbiology, biochemical protein characterization and transcriptomic analyses are great advantages

This position ideal for you if:

  • You are hardworking, talented and highly motivated
  • Independent and creative
  • Appreciate working on a cross-disciplinary collaborative project with potential for major discoveries
  • Enjoy good collaborations, and a relaxed informal and international atmosphere in our groups.
  • Have excellent oral and written communication skills in English

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 .

The assessment of candidates will be made by Prof. Maher Abou Hachem and Dr. Michael Jakob Pichler.

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.

The work will be carried out at the DTU Lyngby campus, in addition to significant research exchange stays to the labs of Assoc. Prof. Manimozhiyan Arumugam and Eric C. Martens .

You can read more about career paths at DTU here .

The project is expected to start 1st October 2020 or close to this time.

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Maher Abou Hachem, tel.: +45 4525 2732, e-mail:

You can read more about the Department of Biotechnology and Biomedicine at and about the Protein Glycoscience group at

If you are applying from abroad, you may find useful information on working in Denmark and at DTU at DTU – Moving to Denmark .

Please submit your online application no later than 25 June 2021 (Danish 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 )
  • List of publications if any
  • References

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.

DTU Bioengineering (Department of Biotechnology and Biomedicine) is an important contributor to the areas of biotechnology, food technology and human health, through the advances we make in research, technology and innovation and through the training and education of first-class MScs and PhDs in bioengineering.

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 12,900 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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