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PhD fellowship in "Bacterial Pathogenesis and Antibiotic Resistance" at Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

University of Copenhagen

We are offering a PhD fellowship in molecular microbiology commencing on 1 May 2020 or as soon as possible hereafter.

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 that do research dedicated to unravel the molecular mechanisms underlying bacterial pathogenesis and antibiotic resistance. We 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. The project is carried out in close collaboration with Søren Persson and Eva Møller Nielsen at Statens Serum Institut (SSI) that study the epidemiology of bacterial pathogens, and the candidate must expect to work partly at SSI (Copenhagen).

For more information see here: bacterial pathogenesis and antibiotic resistance.

Project description

Clostridioides difficile (formerly Clostridium difficile) is a toxin-forming bacterium causing severe antibiotic-associated diarrhea with high mortality. In the project “Zoonotic spread of multi-resistant Clostridioides difficile” we wish to investigate the prevalence of antibiotic resistant C. difficile in life-stock in order to assess the potential for spread of the bacterium from life-stock to humans via food. The project aims at isolating C. difficile from veterinary sources, analyze the bacteria by whole genome sequencing and use bioinformatics sequence analysis to investigate phylogeny/relatedness of human and veterinary isolates. Toxin production in C. difficile is controlled by quorum sensing, and in a second approach, we will investigate if quorum-sensing inhibitors can be used in an anti-virulence strategy for treatment of C. difficile diarrhea. Ultimately, the research may lead to alternative ways to prevent and treat this serious infection.

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

Co-supervisors are senior scientist Søren Persson, Statens Serum Institut, and Martin Bojer, University of Copenhagen.

Start: 1 May 2020

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 on the grounds of your project
Key criteria for the assessment of applicants

Applicants must have qualifications corresponding to a master’s degree related to molecular biology, biotechnology or another related field.

Other important criteria are:

  • A special interest or experience in bioinformatics and sequence analysis
  • Excellent microbiology/molecular biology laboratory skills
  • High level of motivation, responsibility and flexibility
  • Strong motivation and good collaborative skills
  • Good communication skills
  • Fluency in written and spoken English
  • Good communication skills
Other important criteria are:

  • The grade point average achieved
  • Professional qualifications relevant to the PhD project
  • Previous publications
  • Relevant work experience
  • Other professional activities
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 27.363 DKK /approx. 3.663 EUR (October 2019-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
Your application must be submitted electronically by clicking ‘Apply now’ below. The application must include the following documents in PDF format:

1. Motivated letter of application (max. one page)

2. CV incl. education, experience, language skills and other skills relevant for the position

3. Master of Science diploma and transcript of records. If not completed, a certified/signed copy of a recent transcript of records or a written statement from the institution or supervisor will do

4. Publication list (if possible)

Application deadline: 1 March 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 according to the Ministerial Order no. 242 of 13 March 2012 on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Universities.

Interviews are expected to be held in week 13.

The Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences comprises approximately 7500 students, 1500 PhD students and 3200 employees. The Faculty advances the field of health sciences through its core activities: research, teaching, knowledge sharing and communication. With basic research fields ranging from molecular studies to studies of society, the Faculty contributes to a healthy future through its graduates, research findings and inventions benefitting patients and the community. 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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