PhD student in Spider Silk Protein Biochemistry

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
August 26, 2024
Offerd Salary:Negotiation
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Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Full time
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Department of Animal Biosciences

The department is part of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science and is responsible for education and research in several basic and applied areas. These areas include anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pathology, pharmacology, toxicology, genetics, breeding, immunology, bacteriology, virology, parasitology, epizootology, comparative medicine, food safety, bioinformatics and One Health. Our research covers everything from production animals to sports and pet animals, laboratory animals and wild animals. The department's researchers work on the entire scale from molecular mechanisms and microbiology to the structure, function and behaviour of animals, and how these are affected by breeding, physical activity, care, production, stress, environmental factors and diseases.

The spider silk biomimetics group is highly productive and successful group that has secured several grants from the European Research Council. Recently, the group has been awarded significant research grants from Olle Engkvist Stiftelse and Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation which vouch for a continued high level of research activities. We are dedicated, ambitious and have a friendly and helpful atmosphere. You can read more about us here: https: // www.

For more information about the department visit: https: // www.

Spider Silk Protein Biochemistry

Come join our spider silk team! In this project we will elucidate the secrets behind how different proteins affect the properties of different spider silks (one individual spider can spin up to seven different silk types!). As a research group we are interested in how spiders have solved problems related to protein production, storage and polymerization, and strive to develop methods for producing the material by recombinant protein production and biomimetic fiber spinning. Recently, we have discovered that spider silk, in addition to the well-known spidroins, is made up from many proteins that lack a known function. Now we are looking for an ambitious student that has a great passion for research. The PhD project is centered around recombinant expression, purification and biophysical and biochemical characterization of these enigmatic proteins. You will also spin fibers in our biomimetic spinning device and characterize the fibers by tensile tests.


You will be part of an excellent team of several PhD students, Postdocs and Researchers working on different projects related to biotechnological methods for producing recombinant silk proteins, characterization of these, spinning of fibers, protein engineering, material characterization and bioinformatics to understand the transcriptome profile of the silk glands. Your work will involve cloning, protein expression, protein purification, spinning and tensile testing. Additionally, you will use biophysical methods like circular dichroism spectroscopy, birefringence microscopy, rheology, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy.

The applicant is expected to actively pursue the project, keep updated with the literature, interact with the other team members, be active at journal clubs and meetings, present results in a pedagogic way, write reports and papers, and have a positive attitude. You will be responsible for planning the experimental work together with your supervisors, execute experiments and analyse data. You are also expected to present your work in oral and written forms, as well as to write scientific papers.

Teaching of undergraduates is part of the duties (up to 20%).


A master degree in a relevant subject (biotechnology, protein biochemistry, chemical biology, molecular biology) is required.

As a person you are positive, ambitious, thorough, and able to keep deadlines.

Place of work:


Forms for funding:

Employment (4 years)

Starting date:

According to agreement


Click the “Apply” button to submit your application. The deadline is 2024-08-26.

To qualify for third-cycle (Doctoral) courses and study programmes, you must have a second-cycle (Master's) qualification. Alternatively, you must have conducted a minimum of four years of full-time study, of which a minimum of one year at second-cycle level.

Applicants will be selected based on their written application and CV, degree project, copies of their degree certificate and transcript of records from previous first and second-cycle studies at a university or higher education institution, two personal references, and knowledge of English. More information about the English language requirements can be found here: https: // www. studies/application-admission-doctoral-studies/english-language-requirements/

Please note that applicants invited to interview must submit attested copies of their degree certificate, or equivalent, a transcript of records from previous first and second-cycle studies at a university or higher education institution. Applicants who are not Swedish citizens need to submit an attested copy of their passport's information page containing their photograph and personal details.

Read about the PhD education at SLU at www. courses/doctoral-studies/

Academic union representatives:

https: // vid-rekrytering/

Contact person

Anna Rising



[email protected]

Benjamin Schmuck



[email protected]

Elin Karlsson



[email protected]

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