PhD student in Development of an ultra high-throughput platform for cell factory selection and recombinant protein screening

Monday 06 Jul 20

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The department of Biotechnology and Biomedicine at the Technical University of Denmark invites applications for a position as a PhD student in “Finding the right factory for the right antigen: development of an ultra high-throughput platform for cell factory selection and recombinant protein screening”.

The position is part of the FBM Initiative, which is funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation.

The FBM Initiative is a collaboration between DTU Chemical Engineering, DTU Bioengineering, and the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability. It offers research-based education in Fermentation Based Biomanufacturing for Master- and PhD- students, and professionals.
This position will be hosted at
DTU Bioengineering and is one of seven PhD student positions available for the FBM PhD program this year

This position will be placed in the Department of Biotechnology and Biomedicine, section of Synthetic Biology working with with genome editing, synthetic biology, regulation engineering, protein production, discovery of novel cell factories and fermentation technology. The section has a total staff of approx. 45, of which 9 is faculty.

Responsibilities and Tasks
The purpose of this project is to develop high-throuhgput methodologies to systematically evaluate process development steps for recombinant protein production at a rapid pace relying on liquid handling robotics, novel molecular biology technics and state-of-the-art machine learning. This project will be performed in collaboration with Evaxion Biotech ApS and Twist Bioscience.

In this project, you will:

  • Design and implement truncation libraries by automated HT-cloning for recombinant protein expression in bacteria and yeast.
  • Develop ultra-HT analysis methods based on mass spectrometry detection
  • Implement optimal downstream processing methods for selected peptide candidates
  • Assist in the development of highly efficient machine learning tools for prediction on optimal peptide-cell factory combinations.

Candidates should have a Master’s degree in engineering or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to the Master’s degree in engineering.

We are looking for a candidate with a solid background in:

  • State-of-the-art molecular biology / synthetic biology of bacteria and yeast (e.g. USER cloning)
  • Fermentation technology
  • HT robotics and automation (e.g. HAMILTON, ROTOR, Tecan EVO or similar).
  • Protein biology (labeling and detection).

We expect that you are an efficient team worker, have good communication skills, and have a critical approach to the formulation and testing of hypotheses. Also, a good sense of humor will be appreciated.

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 programs at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study program, please see the DTU PhD Guide.

The assessment of the applicants will be made by Associate Professor José Luis Martínez Ruiz (DTU Bioengineering), Core Director Andreas Worberg (DTU Biosustain) and Project Manager Anders B. Sørensen (Evaxion Biotech) and approved by an internal PhD assessment committee.

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 Associate Professor José Luis Martínez Ruiz (

You can read more about DTU Bioengineering at

Please submit your online application no later than 7 August 2020 (23:59 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.

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

The Fermentation Based Biomanufacturing (FBM) Initiative was founded as a response to the biotech industry’s increasing demand for specialized expertise in the fermentation area. Cutting-edge research, covering all aspects from fundamental physiology of production organisms/cell factories, synthetic biology and metabolic engineering, to scale-up process technology and downstream processing, provides the basis for the specialized FBM Education. The educational activities are developed in close dialogue with industry partners.

The FBM Initiative at DTU educates top-candidates at MSc and PhD level, and provides research-based expertise for the biotechnological, chemical, and pharmaceutical fermentation based biomanufacturing industry.

The Department of Biotechnology and Biomedicine (DTU Bioengineering) conducts research, educates future bio-engineers, provides scientific advice and innovation within the areas of microbiology, biochemistry, biotechnology and biomedicine. The research at DTU Bioengineering is at the highest international level and focuses on the societal and scientific challenges within the field. Research is conducted within three main areas: Microbial ecology and physiology, Industrial biotechnology and cell factories, and Biomedicine and health. The department has extensive collaboration with national and international research units and industries. DTU Bioengineering has approx. 160 employees, of which 2/3 is scientific staff and is expanding rapidly in 2020. The department is located at DTU Lyngby Campus.

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 11,500 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.