PhD scholarship in Interactions in Microbial Synthetic Communities at the Center for Microbial Secondary Metabolites, CeMiSt

Thursday 09 Jan 20

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We offer a PhD fellowship at Department of Biotechnology and Biomedicine (DTU Bioengineering) at the Technical University of Denmark. The PhD project is part of the Center for Microbial Secondary Metabolites, CeMiSt and will be carried out in the Bacterial Ecophysiology and Biotechnology Group in the Section for Microbial and Chemical Ecology.


CeMiSt is a Center of Excellence funded by the Danish National Research Foundation. The Center started in 2018 and will run for six years with an option for a four-year extension. The Center is based at the Technical University of Denmark and hosted by Department of Biotechnology and Biomedicine (DTU Bioengineering). Three DTU departments and 10 senior faculty participate in the Center and >15 PhD students and postdocs will be hired. The purpose of CeMiSt is to unravel the biological role of microbial secondary metabolites in natural microbiological communities. The Center is led by Professor Lone Gram.


We are seeking a candidate to study the influence of microbial secondary metabolites from marine bacteria in synthetic marine microbial communities. The studies will use molecular, chemical and sequence based tools in the research field of microbial ecology and evolution. You will be involved in a fun PhD project on microbial natural products, with strong international connections, a productive scientific environment, and a good work-life balance.


Responsibilities and tasks

Your PhD project will contribute to our understanding of the role of secondary metabolites on microbial interactions and evolution in engineered marine microbiomes with particular emphasis on marine roseobacters. You will construct mutants devoid of secondary metabolite production as well as reporter fusions in key biosynthetic gene clusters to explore the impact of secondary metabolites on microbial community assembly and function in synthetic communities You will use metabolomics, transcriptomics as well as sequence based analyses to unravel the functional role of bacterial natural products in bacterial physiology and development.


Your experience within the following areas of microbiology will be an advantage

  • Molecular and genetic bacteriology
  • Microbial secondary metabolites
  • Marine microbiology
  • Bioinformatic analyses
Expected starting date: March/April 2020.

Candidates should have a two-year master's degree (120 ECTS points) in molecular biology, biology, engineering or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master's degree.


Approval and Enrolment

The scholarship 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 15th February 2020 by Professor Lone Gram.


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 an 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 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 Professor Lone Gram, tel.: +45 2368 8295,


Please do not send applications to this e-mail address; follow the electronic application and submission procedure as explained below.


Please provide contact details for two referees in your motivation letter.


You can read more about DTU Bioengineering on and a DTU podcast introduces the Center that is also described at


Please submit your online application no later than 27 January 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 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)

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 Center for Microbial Secondary Metabolites aims to establish what effect microbial secondary metabolites have on other microorganisms in their natural environment. We have traditionally perceived them as ‘competition substances’, but in natural environments they are rarely produced in quantities of antibiotic effect. The Center’s hypothesis is that secondary metabolites constitute a network of signal molecules that directly affect gene expression, behaviour, and metabolism of the microorganisms and thus play a decisive role in the composition and function of microbiological communities. We will explore this in an interdisciplinary collaboration with the use of sequence-based, analytical-chemical, molecular, bioinformatic, and classic microbiological methods.


The Department of Biotechnology and Biomedicine (DTU Bioengineering) addresses challenges of societal and scientific importance within biotechnology, biomedicine, food technology and human health. The department is based on both basic and applied research and employs tools from biochemistry, biophysics, chemistry, cellular biology, immunology, microbial ecology and physiology, bioinformatics and bio-engineering. 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. 300 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 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.