PhD Scholarship in Metabolic Engineering of Spezialized Metabolite Production

Wednesday 07 Aug 19

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We are seeking two highly motivated PhD students to join our international team at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability (DTU Biosustain), Technical University of Denmark (DTU), and become part of the New Bioactive Compounds section. Within the Novo Nordisk Foundation funded Challenge Grant project “Integration of Informatics and Metabolic Engineering for the discovery of Novel Antibiotics (IIMENA)” you will actively contribute to develop and implement technologies in the field of natural product characterization and metabolic engineering to identify and produce novel secondary metabolites as potential future antibiotics. IIMENA is an international excellence project involving partner institutions from Spain and South Korea.

 

Position 1: Development and implementation of state-of-the art tools for identification and characterization of actinomycete specialized metabolite biosynthetic gene clusters and their enzymes

 

Within the IIMENA project, we have identified a huge number of actinomycetes producing bioactive compounds active against our panel of clinical test organisms and/or having interesting biosynthetic pathways.

The aim of this PhD scholarship is to develop methods to efficiently engineer these strains, for example by extending our actinomycete CRISPR-toolkit and demonstrate their versatility by characterizing novel biosynthetic gene clusters and/or enzymes encoded in these gene clusters.

 

Responsibilities and tasks

 
Tasks of this thesis project include:
  • You will take part in our collaborative genome mining efforts for secondary metabolite biosynthetic gene clusters
  • You will be responsible for using and improving our CRISPR-based tools to engineer antibiotics producing actinomycetes
  • You will test and evaluate these tools and methods on selected example strains identified within the iimena project
  • Your work will include engineering of the actinomycete producer strains (for example using CRISPR / CRISPRi)
  • Furthermore, you will assess the suitability of enzymes encoded in the BGCs for biotechnological applications

You will work in close collaboration with the other project scientists at DTU and with the external project partners in Spain and South Korea.

 

Qualifications
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 in biotechnology, microbiology, molecular biology or related field.

 
Requirements:
  • You have excellent laboratory skills and practical experience of state-of-the-art molecular microbiology methods and tools.
  • You have excellent knowledge of general microbiology and a good background in (ideally) natural products; knowledge and experimental experience in microbial natural products research, actinomycete biology or genetic / metabolic engineering are highly advantageous.
  • You have ambition, strong work ethics and attention to detail.
  • You have excellent communication and team-playing skills, but also the ability to work independently towards applied research goals in a multi-disciplinary international team of scientists.
  • You have excellent English skills for working in a highly international research group

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.

 
Assessment

The assessment of the candidates will be made by Prof. Dr. Tilmann Weber (IIMENA program leader)

 

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.

 
You can read more about career paths at DTU here.
 
Further information

Further information may be obtained from Prof. Dr. Tilmann Weber, email: tiwe@biosustain.dtu.dk

 

You can read more about DTU Biosustain at www.biosustain.dtu.dk

 
Application

Please submit your online application no later than 4 September 2019 (local 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)

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 Biosustain is an international research center of excellence developing next generation cell factories and bioprocesses for sustainable production of high-value chemical compounds as well as protein-based products. The center uses advanced metabolic engineering techniques and computational biology ensuring efficient and cost-effective design and construction processes.

 

The center’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.

 

DTU is a technical university providing internationally leading research, education, innovation and scientific advice. Our staff of 6,000 advance science and technology to create innovative solutions that meet the demands of society, and our 11,200 students are being educated to address the technological challenges of the future. DTU is an independent university collaborating globally with business, industry, government and public agencies.