PhD fellowship in microalgae biotechnolgy

Copenhagen University

Denmark

January 20, 2022

Description

Department of Food Science, Section of Food Analytics and Biotechnology, invites applicants for a PhD fellowship in microalgae biotechnology with the aim to generate mutants with high yield of fatty acids and proteins with start 1/5-2022 or as soon as possible thereafter.

The project

The PhD position is part of ‘MASSPROVIT: Making microalgae a sustainable future source of proteins and vitamins' project funded by the Danish research council. The primary partners in MASSPROVIT are Technical University of Denmark (DTU) and University of Copenhagen (UCPH). The project coordinator is Professor Charlotte Jacobsen, DTU.

The overall objective of MASSPROVIT is to facilitate sustainable local Danish production of microalgae as a new source of non-animal protein and healthy compounds such as omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins. A second objective is to provide a proof of concept for the production of a low footprint protein-rich microalgae biomass, which may substitute Danish import of emission intensive proteins. MASSPROVIT will focus on the microalga Nannochloropsis oceanica. Novel aspects are 1) the use of mutagenesis and selection to improve productivity and bioaccessibility of proteins and vitamins from microalgae and 2) new knowledge on the relationship between cultivation conditions and optimal nutritional composition of the genetically improved algal biomass.

The aim of this PhD position, which is supervised by Prof. Poul Erik Jensen, UCPH, is to generate novel strains of N. oceanica with improved quality as food source. This involves mutagenesis and generation of libraries of mutants. Selection will exploit high-through put replica plating in microtiter plates and monitor 1) growth rates, 2) selection for high lipid accumulating cells using fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS), and 3) selection for improved photosynthetic growth by measuring in vivo Chl fluorescence. A parallel approach will exploit adaptive laboratory evolution on on process water rich in N and P thereby assessing the algae's potential to adapt to the inorganic and organic nutrients in process water.

Specfic tasks for the PhD position in microalgae biotechnolgy :

  • Growth of Nannochloropsis oceanica.
  • Generate mutant libraries.
  • Perform adaptive laboratory evolution experiments.
  • Design screening approaches in microtiter plates using absorbance and/or fluorescence techniques.
  • Characterize selected mutantes for growth and productivity.
  • The principal supervisor is Professor Poul Erik Jensen, Department of Food Science, UCPH, peje@food.ku.dk.

    Qualifications needed for the regular programme To be eligible for the regular PhD programme, you must have completed a degree programme, equivalent to a Danish master's degree (180 ECTS/3 FTE BSc + 120 ECTS/2 FTE MSc) related to the subject area of the project, e.g. biochemistry, molecular biology, biotechnology or bioengineering. For information of eligibility of completed programmes, see General assessments for specific countries and Assessment database.

    Terms of employment in the regular programme Employment as PhD fellow is full time and for maximum 3 years.

    Employment is conditional upon your successful enrolment as a PhD student at the PhD School at the Faculty of SCIENCE, University of Copenhagen. This requires submission and acceptance of an application for the specific project formulated by the applicant.

    The terms of employment and salary are in accordance to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State (AC). The position is covered by the Protocol on Job Structure.

    Salary range starts at DKK 27,871.40 per month incl. PhD supplement (1 Oct. 2021 level).

    General responsibilities

  • Carry through an independent research project under supervision
  • Complete PhD courses corresponding to approx. 30 ECTS / ½ FTE
  • Participate in active research environments, including a stay at another research institution, preferably abroad
  • Teaching and knowledge dissemination activities
  • Write scientific papers aimed at high-impact journals
  • Write and defend a PhD thesis on the basis of your project
  • We are looking for one or more of the following qualifications:

  • A MSc degree in biochemistry, molecular biology, biotechnology or bioengineering
  • Practical experience in microalgae handling
  • Characterization of fatty acids and/or proteins using GC-MS, staining methods, or mass-spectrometry
  • Generation of mutants using chemicals or radiation
  • Selection and screening using Biolektor or similar
  • Excellent English communication skills
  • Good interpersonal skills
  • Strong work ethics
  • High ambitions
  • Team player
  • Key selection criteria:

  • Professional qualifications relevant for the position
  • Relevant work experience
  • Language skills
  • Creative thinking
  • Level of enthusiasm and motivation
  • Application and Assessment Procedure

    Your application including all attachments must be in English and submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.

    Please include :

  • Motivated letter of application (max. one page)
  • Your motivation for applying for the specific PhD project
  • Curriculum vitae including information about your education, experience, language skills and other skills relevant for the position
  • Original diplomas for Bachelor of Science or Master of Science and transcript of records in the original language, including an authorized English translation if issued in another language than English or Danish. If not completed, a certified/signed copy of a recent transcript of records or a written statement from the institution or supervisor is accepted.
  • Publication list (if possible)
  • Reference letters (if available)
  • Application deadline:

    The deadline for applications is 31st of January r 2022, 23:59 GMT+1 .

    We reserve the right not to consider material received after the deadline, and not to consider applications that do not live up to the abovementioned requirements.

    The further process After deadline, a number of applicants will be selected for academic assessment by an unbiased expert assessor. You are notified, whether you will be passed for assessment.

    The assessor will assess the qualifications and experience of the shortlisted applicants with respect to the above mentioned research area, techniques, skills and other requirements. The assessor will conclude whether each applicant is qualified and, if so, for which of the two models. The assessed applicants will have the opportunity to comment on their assessment. You can read about the recruitment process at https: // employment.ku.dk/faculty/recruitment-process/.

    Interviews with selected candidates are expected to be held in early March 2022.

    Questions For specific information about the PhD fellowship, please contact the principal supervisor.

    General information about PhD study at the Faculty of SCIENCE is available at the PhD School's website: https: // www. science.ku.dk/phd/.

    The University of Copenhagen wishes to reflect the surrounding community and invites all regardless of personal background to apply for the position.

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