Postdoc in Protein-Protein Interaction

Wednesday 04 Nov 20

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An 18-months postdoc position is available at Department of Biotechnology and Biomedicine (DTU Bioengineering) at the Technical University of Denmark. The position will be placed in the Enzyme and Protein Chemistry group in the section of Protein Chemistry and Enzyme Technology with about 70 staff members.

The position will be part of the project ‘Bespoke’ (Bespoke fermented dairy products: new strategies for understanding and controlling protein ingredient-milk component interactions during processing) financed by the Danish Dairy Research Foundation, Chinese Scholarship Council and Arla Foods. The project aims at controlling the molecular interactions between milk protein ingredients (MPI) and native milk proteins in order to tailor the physical, chemical and functional characteristics of fermented dairy products.

The research will be carried out at DTU Bioengineering as well as at Department of Physics, Chemistry and Pharmacy at University of Southern Denmark (SDU). In addition, the project includes partners from Department of Food Science, University of Copenhagen as well as from Arla Foods amba and Arla Foods Ingredients.

Responsibilities and tasks
The position will have focus on characterising particles from MPI-milk component interactions as well as on quantifying affinity and strength of interactions.

Key analytical tools are expected to include:

  • Thermodynamic fingerprinting of binding between caseins, whey protein aggregates and calcium using Surface Plasmon Resonance and Isothermal Calorimetry.
  • Characterization of surface hydrophobicity e.g. by use of probes.
  • Advanced microscopy techniques for visualizing the gel matrices including label-free 3D imaging with chemical specificity (Coherent anti-Stokes Raman spectroscopy, CARS) as well as super resolution confocal imaging of gels (Stimulated emission depletion microscopy, STED) and possibly Atomic Force Microscopy, AFM.
  • Extraction of quantitative structural parameters by image analysis of microscopy data.

The successful candidate will benefit from being part of several complementary active and well-equipped research environments. A diverse toolbox of relevant methods will be available.

Measurements dealing with quantifying affinity and strength of interactions will take place at DTU but you will be collaborating substantially with SDU on using advanced microscopic techniques.

The project also has a PhD student attached, placed at University of Copenhagen and you will collaborate extensively with this PhD student whose tasks include prediction of physical stability of fermented dairy products as well as verification of how controlling protein-protein interactions affect product quality. In addition, you will collaborate with our industrial partners (Arla Foods and Arla Foods Ingredients) who both have very well developed research facilities.

The main scientific objectives of the project as a whole are:

  1. Fundamentally understand the type of binding involved when milk components and milk protein ingredients interact depending e.g. on degree of denaturation, ionic strength, molecular properties, pH and available calcium.
  2. Clarify how molecular interactions affect structure, texture and stability of fermented dairy products. Focus will be on how specific levels of free thiol groups in milk protein ingredients can be used to control the amount of protein interactions during heat treatment and subsequent acidification and how this affects the firmness and stability of fermented dairy products
  3. Optimize process parameters in order to maximize desired functionality of MPI in fermented dairy products.
  4. Develop predictive models for stability and other macroscopic quality parameters

Qualifications
Candidates should have a PhD degree or equivalent.

We expect you have a solid background within protein science, have worked with molecular interactions and have a good understanding of structure/function relationships.

Experience with some of the topics below will be an advantage:

  • Methods for measuring protein molecular interactions (Surface Plasmon Resonance and / or Isothermal Calorimetry and / or biolayer interferometry )
  • Microscopy techniques such as Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy, AFM or electron microscopy.
  • Research with focus on Dairy Technology
  • Protein structure and function relationships
  • We expect you are motivated for:
  • both individual and team accomplishments
  • working in a multidisciplinary project
  • interacting with international experts
  • collaborating with industry

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 terms of employment
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 workplace will be at the DTU main campus in Lyngby, 10 km north of Copenhagen in Denmark with work visits to partners in Odense, Copenhagen, Aarhus and Nr. Vium.

The position will be available from 1st of January 2021 or soon hereafter.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Prof. Birte Svensson (DTU Bioengineering, tel.: +45 4525 2740), associate professor Adam Cohen Simonsen (SDU, tel: +45 6550 3527) or Professor Richard Ipsen (University of Copenhagen, tel: +45 6171 7583)

You can read more about DTU Bioengineering on www.bioengineering.dtu.dk/

Application procedure
Please submit your online application no later than 30 November 2020 (Danish 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:

  • Application (cover letter)
  • CV
  • Diploma (MSc/PhD)
  • List of publications
  • Up to three letters of recommendation

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 Bioengineering
Department of Biotechnology and Biomedicine (DTU Bioengineering) is an international leader in biotechnology and biomedicine. Our engineering approach to all aspects of biotechnology and biomedicine positions us as a valuable player with unique competences in a growing bio-based economy and with health systems transforming towards personalized medicine. We have a clear focus on the needs in the life science industry and point towards innovation, new businesses and scientific services for the benefit of society. The department has extensive collaborations with national and international research units and industry. DTU Bioengineering has approx. 220 employees, of which 2/3 is scientific staff. 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 12,000 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.