Ph.D. in Metabolic Engineering and Synthetic Biology of Pseudomonas putida

Center for Biosustainability
Tuesday 12 Sep 17

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The Systems Environmental Microbiology group at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability (DTU Biosustain), Technical University of Denmark (DTU), invites motivated students to apply for a 3-year Ph.D. fellowship in the field of Metabolic Engineering and Synthetic Biology of Pseudomonas putida. P. putida is rapidly becoming the bacterial cell factory of choice for applications in which high tolerance to different types of stress and increased availability of reducing power are needed. The present project seeks to further expand the practical uses of this bacterium by broadening its metabolic capabilities and by contributing, at the same time, novel Synthetic Biology tools for targeted genome editing and gene expression in bacterial hosts. From a broader perspective, the selected candidate will implement state-of-the-art methods in Metabolic Engineering and Synthetic Biology to design, construct, and improve the performance of bacterial cell factories. The proposed starting date is the 13th of November 2017.

Responsibilities and tasks

  • Wet-lab work on Molecular Biology and Synthetic Biology, especially pathway engineering, and CRISPR/Cas9 and recombineering strategies in Gram-negative bacteria. Phenotypic and metabolic analysis of microbial hosts will be carried out on a regular basis
  • Biochemical analysis and high-throughput analytics, including LC-MS/MS analysis (targeted metabolomics and proteomics), NMR, and GC-MS/MS analysis
  • Dissemination of results through scientific publications, patents, internal seminars, and conference presentations
  • Supervision of M.Sc. and B.Sc. students.
Candidates should have a B.Sc. and M.Sc. degree in Biology and/or Biotechnology.

Further qualifications:
  • Previous experience in Metabolic Engineering, specially using P. putida as the microbial host, will be positively evaluated
  • Experience in an industrial environment, as well as hands-on experience in biochemical analysis
  • Excellent interpersonal, networking, and communication skills required to work in a highly-international research environment
  • Team spirit and social skills, demonstrated through collaborations with academic partners and, if possible, research internships abroad
  • Ambition to carry research independently, to plan and execute experimental tasks, and also to be part of a larger international research team. Strong attention to detail in every day’s lab situations is a must.
Approval and Enrolment
The scholarships for the PhD degree are subject to academic approval, and the candidates will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes of DTU. For information about the general requirements for enrolment and the general planning of the scholarship studies, please see the DTU PhD Guide.

The assessment of the applicants will be made by Dr. Pablo Ivan Nikel-Mayer.

We offer
We offer an interesting and challenging job in an international environment focusing on education, research, scientific advice, and innovation, which contribute to enhancing the economy and improving social welfare. We strive for academic excellence, collegial respect, and freedom tempered by responsibility. DTU is a leading technical university in northern Europe and benchmarks with the best universities in the world.

Salary and terms of employment
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed with the relevant union.

Workplace and period of employment:
  • The work place will be the Novo Nordisk Center for Biosustainability, located in the Lyngby campus of DTU (Building 220)
  • The period of employment is 3 years.

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Dr. Pablo Ivan Nikel-Mayer, phone: +45 93 51 19 18, e-mail:

You can read more about the center on

Application procedure
Please submit your online application no later than September 29th, 2017. Apply online at

Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill in 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

Applications and enclosures received after the deadline will not be considered.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, disability, race, religion, or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

DTU Biosustain is an international research center of excellence aiming at the design and rational engineering of novel biosynthesis routes and exploration of compounds suitable for sustainable bioproduction. Reducing the costs and time of designing and manufacturing industrially-oriented cell factories is among the core interests of our research centre. To fulfil these purposes, research groups in DTU Biosustain use advanced metabolic engineering techniques and computational biology methods to ensure efficient and cost-effective design and construction of cell factories.

The centre’s activities are a balanced mix of basic and translational research, complemented by an emphasis on business development to facilitate commercialization of new cell factories and associated technologies. DTU Biosustain offers state-of-the-art research facilities and assembles world leaders in the field thus offering a unique platform providing excellent talent development and career opportunities. The research activities in the centre are based on a long-term grant from the Novo Nordisk Foundation to DTU and it was inaugurated in 2011. It has now more than 250 employees and is still growing.

DTU is a technical university providing internationally leading research, education, innovation, and scientific advice. Our staff of 5,800 seek to advance science and technology to create innovative solutions that can meet the demands of modern society; and our 10,600 students are being educated to address the technological challenges of the future. DTU is an independent academic university collaborating globally with business, industry, government, and public agencies.