Two PhD scholarships in Enzyme Discovery

Tuesday 30 Mar 21

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DTU Bioengineering seeks qualified candidates for two fully funded 3 year PhD positions within Enzyme Discovery focusing on Bioinformatics Based Discovery of new Glycosyl Transferases (PhD1) and Activity Characterization of New Carbohydrate Processing Enzymes (PhD2). 

Each of these PhD projects are expected to break new ground at the absolute forefront of enzyme discovery research. The PhD projects are at the core of DTU’s efforts of pioneering the use of advanced digitalization methods to discover new enzymes and predict their function to help develop new enzyme-based bioprocesses for a sustainable and green economy.

Both PhD projects will be supervised by Professor Bernard Henrissat, DTU. Professor Bernard Henrissat has recently been appointed professor at DTU and is considered the world leader in carbohydrate processing enzymes. Amongst other breakthroughs he has established the sequence based classification of carbohydrate-active enzymes and created the CAZyme database ( If you are looking for the best possible foundation for establishing either an academic or industrial a career within forward looking enzyme protein research this is it!

Responsibilities and qualifications
The scientific target of the PhD research in both PhD positions is to understand the diversity, function, substrate specificity, and reaction selectivity of glycosyl transferases.

PhD 1:  A particular aim is to discover new glycosyltransferases and use bioinformatics to mine microbial genomes. Hence, experience with protein sequence analysis, bioinformatics and Python programming, as well as molecular biology, preferably enzyme biotechnology experience, is required. Practical experience with recombinant enzyme expression and/or SQL is a major advantage.

PhD 2: A key aim is to examine and compare the substrate attack selectivity of new enzymes, notably glycoside hydrolases and help develop a large, unique glycan library for this purpose.

From the start there will be approximately 240 enzymes ready for which no known activity has been described as yet. Knowledge of enzymes and practical experience with carbohydrate chemistry, analytical chromatography, and enzyme assays in practice will be required. Experience with bioinformatics and recombinant enzyme expression is a major advantage.

Both PhD projects will be working at the front line of the field of enzyme research. You must be curious, passionate, and have good communication skills in English both verbally and in writing.     

Both PhD projects are a core part of the new group Enzyme Discovery in the Section for Protein Chemistry and Enzyme Technology at DTU Bioengineering (  As a PhD student you will work in a highly supportive and collaborative team that in addition to the supervisor includes postdocs and young faculty members with advanced skills and experience in bioinformatics, molecular biology, recombinant enzyme expression, protein engineering, enzyme characterization, assays, and HPAEC, SEC and LC-MS carbohydrate analyses.

The PhD positions both include the normal DTU PhD responsibilities, including student supervision, and the work will be carried out primarily at DTU.

You must 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.

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.

The assessment of the applicants will be made by Professor Bernard Henrissat.

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 directly from Professor Bernard Henrissat, or Professor Anne S. Meyer,

If you are applying from abroad, you may find useful information on working in Denmark and at DTU at DTU – Moving to Denmark.

Application procedure
Your complete online application must be submitted no later than 13 April 2021 (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:

  • 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)

You may apply prior to ob­tai­ning your 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 Department of Biotechnology and Biomedicine (DTU Bioengineering) conducts research, educates future bio-engineers, provides scientific advice and innovate 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. 290 employees, of whom 2/3 are scientific staff. The department is located at DTU Lyngby Campus. You can read more about the department at our web page:

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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.