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PhD fellowship in Bacterial cell division and Antibiotic Resistance at Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences

We are looking for a highly motivated and skilled molecular biologist for a 3-year PhD fellowship in molecular microbiology commencing on 1 January 2021 or as soon as possible hereafter. The project “Autolysins: a Key to Circumvent Antibiotic Resistance” is funded by The Independent Research fund Denmark and involves leading researchers from University of Copenhagen, Statens Serum Institute (Copenhagen), Harvard Medical School and University of Lisbon.

Our group and research

Antibiotic resistance is one of the greatest challenges to human health, and at the Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (IVH) we have for many years studied antibiotic resistance in bacteria causing disease in humans and animals. The position will be based in the research group of Dorte Frees (“FreesLab”). The development of novel antibiotics has proved challenging and in the FreesLab we instead aim to identify novel targets that can be used to dis-arm bacteria by either restoring antibiotic sensitivity, or by preventing production of central virulence factors.

More information on IVH and FreesLab can be found at:

Project description

Some of the most successful classes of antibiotics target synthesis of the bacterial cell wall. The prevailing model links killing to activation of autolysins, enzymes that degrade the bacterial cell wall. Given the lethal consequences of dysregulated autolysin activity, these degradation processes must be carefully controlled, and we hypothesize that resistance can be circumvented by interrogating the pathways that synchronize autolytic activity with cell wall synthesis. As a PhD fellow your main task will be to delineatine the regulatory check-points controlling autolysin activity during the bacterial cell cycle. The laboratory work will include state of the art molecular methods and advanced microscopy. Methicillin resistant S. aureus (MRSA) will be the preferred model organism. The PhD fellow must expect to spend at least 6 months in one of the foreign institutions, Harvard Medical School and University of Lisbon, involved in the project.

Principal supervisor is Associate Professor Dorte Frees, Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences,

Start: 1 January 2021 or as soon as possible hereafter

Duration: 3 years

Job description
Your key tasks as a PhD student at SUND are:

  • Carry through an independent research project under supervision
  • Complete PhD courses or other equivalent education corresponding to approx. 30 ECTS points
  • Participate in active research environments including a stay at another research team
  • Obtain experience with teaching or other types of dissemination related to your PhD project
  • Teach and disseminate your knowledge
  • Write a PhD thesis and publish peer-reviewed scientific papers based on the experimental work performed in the project
We are looking for a highly motivated and enthusiastic scientist with the following competencies and experience:

Essential experiences and skills (key criteria for the assessment of applicants):

  • You have a master’s degree within the field of molecular biology
  • You are experienced in molecular microbiology techniques such as (bacterial) genetics, protein expression, functional assays, protein purification.
  • You have an interest in advanced microscopy techniques including SR-SIM, SEM and TEM.
  • You have an active interest or experience in bioinformatics
  • You have a high level of motivation and good collaborative skills
  • Excellent English skills, written and spoken
  • You are experienced in working independently
  • You have flair for scientific writing
You are a fast learner and have achieved good grade points in subjects related to molecular biology

Desirable experience and skills (other criteria for the assessment of applicants)

  • Hands on experience on Gram-positive pathogens
  • A strong interest in bacterial resistance to antibiotics
  • Teaching experience
Place of employment

The place of employment is at Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen. We offer creative and stimulating working conditions in a dynamic and international research environment. Our research facilities include modern laboratories and state-of-the-art equipment.

Terms of employment
The employment as a PhD fellow is full time and for 3 years.

It is conditioned upon the applicant’s success­ful enrolment as a PhD student at the Graduate School at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen. This requires submission and acceptance of an application for the specific project formulated by the applicant.

The PhD study must be completed in accordance with The Ministerial Order on the PhD programme (2013) and the Faculty’s rules on achieving the degree. Salary, pension and terms of employment are in accordance with the agree­ment between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State. Depending on seniority, the monthly salary begins around 26.755 DKK /approx. 3.567 EUR (April 2018-level) plus pension.

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

General information about PhD study at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences is available at the Graduate School’s website:

Application procedure

Submit your application via the link below no later than 27 September 2020. Applications submitted after this date will not be considered.

The application must be written in English and should consist of the following:

  • Motivated letter of application (max 1 page). Please briefly describe your previous research experiences and interests and what attracts you to the position in terms of both the topic and the academic work.
  • Curriculum vitae detailing education, work, research and teaching experiences, conference presentations, publication record, language skills and other skills relevant for the position
  • Documentation of knowledge on advanced computational methods, e.g. a list of methods you have worked with and in which context.
  • Official transcripts of examination results.
  • A certified/signed copy of degree certificate(s).
  • Contact information for two reference persons.
Application deadline: 27 September 2020, 23.59pm CET

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 the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the hiring committee. All applicants are then immediately notified whether their application has been passed for assessment by an unbiased assessor.

The assessor makes a non-prioritized assessment of the academic qualifications and experience with respect to the above-mentioned area of research, techniques, skills and other requirements listed in the advertisement.

Once the assessment work has been completed each applicant has the opportunity to comment on the part of the assessment that relates to the applicant him/herself.

You can read about the recruitment process at

The applicant will be assessed as described in the Ministerial Order on the Job Structure of Academic Staff at Universities of 2020.

Interviews are expected to be held in week 44 and 45

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