Doctoral Candidate in Microbial Physiology

Updated: 9 months ago
Deadline: The position may have been removed or expired!

Aalto University is a community of bold thinkers where science and art meet technology and business. We are committed to identifying and solving grand societal challenges and building an innovative future. Aalto has six schools with nearly 11 000 students and a staff of more than 4000, of which 400 are professors. Our campus is located in Espoo, Finland.

The Biochemistry group develops energy-relevant biochemical transformations. We are looking for a

PhD Candidate that is keen to advance research in the field of: Microbial physiology, Metabolic engineering, Genetics or Electromicrobiology

We design microbial pathways to convert CO2 to fuels via the archaeal reductive acetyl-CoA pathway.

One project involves genetic engineering and regulation to convert CO2 and hydrogen into short-chain alkanes. The second project involves direct electron transfer via multi-heme cytochromes to reversibly interconvert alkanes to electricity, a process that mimics the anode of a methane fuel cell at cold temperatures.

Research is carried out at our excellent facilities at Aalto University, School of Chemical Engineering ( ). The laboratories are situated on the main campus of Aalto University in Otaniemi (short metro-ride from Helsinki) within the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems .

Job description

The project may be adjusted according to the talents and preferences of the applicants. Most experiments will be performed in anaerobic chambers or custom-made vessels. It involves pathway engineering in the genetically tractable methanogens Methanococcus maripaludis and Methanosarcina. Tasks areas are:

  • Implementation of pathway-parts from acetogens into methanogens
  • Development of methods to regulate NAD+ vs. NADP+ levels in methanogens
  • Expression of electron-bifurcating hydrogenases
  • Understanding of regulation in methanogens
  • Development of new ways of energy conservation in model methanogens
  • Cultivation of methanogens and methanotrophs in bioelectric systems


  • MSc in a suitable field, such as microbial physiology, metabolic engineering, genetics, systems biology, biophysics or biochemistry
  • Be highly committed to science and strive for excellence
  • Develop own smart ideas and think independently
  • Be able to focus on solving tough scientific problems
  • Have good written and oral communication skills in English

Skills, knowledge or interest in some of the following areas are highly appreciated:

  • Microbial pathway engineering and regulation
  • Electro(bio)chemistry
  • Metabolic modelling and thermodynamics
  • Quantification of intracellular metabolites
  • Bioinformatics and genetics
  • Biochemistry

In this position, you will apply the study right for doctoral studies in Aalto University. Thus, please check the student information and application criteria . In particular, please pay attention to mandatory skill level in English.

We offer

  • High-end laboratory infrastructure and friendly colleagues
  • Opportunity to work in a newly established research group
  • Freedom to bring in own ideas
  • Funding for 4 years

The salary is defined according to the salary system of Finnish Universities. The expected starting salary for a doctoral candidate is approximately 2400€/month and will increase with responsibilities and performance over time. The contract includes occupational health benefits.

For more information

For additional scientific information, please contact Prof. Silvan Scheller ( , in matters related to the recruitment process, HR Coordinator Sanni Mero ( .

How to apply (deadline Nov. 30th 2019)

All materials should be provided in English as pdf documents via the link below.

  • Cover letter (start as follows: “I am interested in this position because… “)
  • CV
  • Certificates, courses completed (including grades)
  • MSc thesis (if already finished)
  • Research interest description (mention tasks you are particularly interested to perform)
  • Names and contact details of references

University reserves the right for justified reasons to leave the position open, to extend the application period and to consider candidates who have not submitted applications during the application period.

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