PhD in Microbiology at DTU Biosustain

The Novo Nordisk Foundation Centre for Biosustainability invites applicants for a PhD position working on the next generation of microbial therapies for treatment of metabolic disorders. The present opportunity relates to a center grant obtained by the group to use synthetic biology to develop engineered bacterial therapeutics for the gut microbiome. The center comprises multiple groups spanning preclinical to clinical research and has as a goal to test these novel synthetic biology interventions in human clinical trials.

The principal supervisors will be Prof. Morten Otto Alexander Sommer and Dr. Ruben Vazquez Uribe in the Bacterial Synthetic Biology section at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability and co-supervised by Prof. Hani El-Nezamy at the University of Eastern Finland. Although most of the work will be carried out at DTU Biosustain, the applicant is expected to develop part of the project in collaboration with Prof. Hani El-Nezamy’s group at the University of Eastern Finland.

Responsibilities and qualifications

You will work independently on the development of high impact research projects. Accordingly, a significant workload is expected in order to advance projects successfully.

You will use state of the art experimental and computational technologies to develop and test engineered microbes for therapeutic applications.

You will work in a team contributing to projects of other team members, while independently developing your own project.

You will be responsible for the execution of all aspects of the project including both experimental and computational tasks; nonetheless, support is available for all aspects from fellow lab members.

Expected starting date (flexible): January-February 2022

Candidates should 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.

In addition, you must have the following qualifications:

  • You have a MSc degree in biochemistry, molecular biology, biotechnology or bioengineering
  • You have wet-lab experience
  • Practical experience in synthetic biology is an advantage
  • You have a high-level English proficiency (written and spoken)
  • You have strong work ethics
  • You take pride in delivering high-quality work
  • You can work in a team as well as independently

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 prof. Morten Sommer and Dr. Ruben Vazquez Uribe.

Key selection criteria:

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

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.


The majority of the activities will be conducted at DTU. However, the project is in collaboration with Prof El-Nezamy’s group in the University of Easteren Finland (UEF), where you will develop part of the project.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.

Further information

Further information may be obtained from Prof. Morten Sommer and Dr. Ruben Vazquez Uribe, email: and . Please do not send applications to this e-mail address, instead apply online as described below.

You can read more about The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability on and about the research group at

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


Please submit your online application no later than 31 October 2021 (Danish time). Apply at

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)
  • Summary of your master’s thesis project and personal experience in the project (max. 1 page)

You may apply prior to ob¬tai¬ning 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 Bacterial Synthetic Biology section at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability studies the organization and dynamics of microbial populations and communities as they relate to human health and industrial biotechnology. We develop and apply novel technologies within the fields of systems biology, computational biology, functional metagenomics, synthetic biology, lab evolution to study:

  • Microbiome therapeutics
  • Sustainable food production
  • Antibiotic resistance and collateral sensitivity
  • Population heterogeneity in industrial bioprocesses

The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability (DTU Biosustain)
Recent progress in our ability to read and write genomic code, combined with advances in automation, analytics and data science, has fundamentally changed the scope and ambition of harnessing the potential of biological systems. Big data approaches and analysis of biological systems are key research instruments at the Center. DTU Biosustain utilizes these advances for microbial cell factory design to foster sustainable lifestyles in relation to three application areas: Sustainable Chemicals, Natural Products, and Microbial Foods.

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 12,900 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. DTU has campuses in all parts of Denmark and in Greenland, and we collaborate with the best universities around the world.

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