PhD position in Yeast Mitochondria Engineering

Updated: about 1 month ago
Deadline: 15 Apr 2024

Are you a MSc graduate eager to make a real impact in the world of industrial microbiology? And to combine basic and applied research in an international and multidisciplinary research team? We have an exciting PhD project on yeast mitochondria engineering for improved substrate-to-product conversion in biotechnology.

Yeasts are crucial organisms used in industrial microbiology. Given their long history of use in this field and their central role in alcoholic fermentation, Saccharomyces cerevisiae is considered a model organism. S. cerevisiae is also used to produce biomass, single-cell protein, and non-native compounds such as isoprenoids and heterologous proteins, all of which require a net input of ATP. Therefore, substrate-to-product conversion efficiency is intricately linked to ATP yields on both substrate and oxygen in aerobic processes. However, ATP yields are usually lower in yeasts and other microorganisms when compared to humans. This seems paradoxical, given that yeasts and other microorganisms grow faster and use substrates more efficiently for growth when compared to higher organisms.

To bridge the gap between current and potential ATP yields, this project will focus on metabolic engineering strategies to improve energy conversion in yeast mitochondria. The project aims to address underlying mechanisms in mitochondrial efficiency and generate novel approaches that can be harnessed to increase the efficiency in biotechnological processes. Metabolic engineering strategies to edit yeast mitochondria will be combined with cultivation in bioreactors to quantify the physiology of obtained strains.

The position will be embedded in the Industrial Microbiology (IMB) section at the Department of Biotechnology. For more information about the section, click here:     

We are looking for a talented PhD candidate who should:

  • Hold a Master's degree in a relevant field, i.e., biology, microbiology, biotechnology, synthetic biology, biochemistry.
  • Have theoretical and practical knowledge in (yeast) molecular biology and metabolism
  • Be interested in bridging basic and applied research
  • Be fluent in English (written and spoken)
  • Have good communication/reporting skills
  • Thrive in an international, multidisciplinary and highly collaborative environment

Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2770 per month in the first year to € 3539 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customizable compensation package, discounts on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged.

For international applicants, TU Delft has the Coming to Delft Service . This service provides information for new international employees to help you prepare the relocation and to settle in the Netherlands. The Coming to Delft Service offers a Dual Career Programme  for partners and they organize events to expand your (social) network.

Delft University of Technology

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context. At TU Delft we embrace diversity and aim to be as inclusive as possible (see our Code of Conduct). Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale.
Challenge. Change. Impact!

Faculty of Applied Sciences
With more than 1,000 employees, including 135 pioneering principal investigators, as well as a population of about 3,400 passionate students, the Faculty of Applied Sciences is an inspiring scientific ecosystem. Focusing on key enabling technologies, such as quantum- and nanotechnology, photonics, biotechnology, synthetic biology and materials for energy storage and conversion, our faculty aims to provide solutions to important problems of the 21st century. To that end, we train students in broad Bachelor's and specialist Master's programmes with a strong research component. Our scientists conduct ground-breaking fundamental and applied research in the fields of Life and Health Science & Technology, Nanoscience, Chemical Engineering, Radiation Science & Technology, and Engineering Physics. We are also training the next generation of high school teachers and science communicators.

For more information about this vacancy, contact Dr. Marcel Vieira-Lara ([email protected])   

Are you interested in this vacancy? Please apply before 15th of April 2024 via the application button and upload:

- CV, including at least two contacts for references

- Motivation letter (max 1 A4)

Similar Positions