PhD scholarship in Fungal Quinones for Sustainable Batteries

Danmarks Tekniske Universitet (DTU)

Ph.d. & forskning

Frist 20. marts 2019

We offer a PhD fellowship at Department of Biotechnology and Biomedicine (DTU Bioengineering) at the Technical University of Denmark. The PhD project is part of the fungal battery project, being funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation, and is a large interdisciplinary collaborative effort between Aalborg University (AU) and the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) and will be executed in the Fungal Chemodiversity and Natural Product Discovery groups in the Section for Synthetic Biology and section for Microbial and Chemical Ecology.

Within the fungal battery project, which will run from April 2019 and in three years, we are seeking a candidate to study the production of fungal quinones using microbiological methods, chemical analytical tools and bioinformatic methods and we offer an exciting multidisciplinary PhD scholarship in the field of discovering quinones from filamentous fungi and developing mycological methods for their optimal production, extraction and purification for use in batteries. The research groups involved at DTU and AU will provide a working environment with strong national and international collaborations.

Responsibilities and tasks
Sustainable energy production is often fluctuating due to the weather, especially energy from solar power and wind-mills, and therefore require effective storage. One solution to this is to develop fungal quinone batteries, based on natural, non-toxic and degradable secondary metabolites from filamentous fungi in order to avoid toxic heavy metals or crude oil quinones. Filamentous fungi produce quinones that have very different electrochemical potentials. Some of these quinones are readily produced by fungi on inexpensive growth media, other may be coded by silent gene clusters, requiring un-silencing and optimization of production. Effective and sustainable extraction procedures and purification of the quinones should be developed, allowing optimized batteries to be developed.

The overall objectives of your PhD project will be to identify quinone producers from the large IBT Fungal collection at DTU-Bioengineering, and to find optimal conditions for production of quinones and pave the way for optimal sustainable extraction methods and purification procedures. In addition, in collaboration with Aalborg University you will explore the genomes of hundreds of filamentous fungi in order to identify potential producers of quinones. Your experience within the following areas of research will be an advantage:

  • Filamentous fungi and secondary metabolites
  • Analytical chromatography: HPLC-diode array detection - mass spectrometry
  • Bioinformatic analysis of genomes of fungi
  • Fermentation of filamentous fungi under different nutritional and physiological conditions for optimization of quinone production

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. They should have a master’s degree in bioengineering with elements of microbiology, biochemistry and chemistry.

Regarding personal skills we expect that you are committed to a research career and have the ability to motivate your colleagues to be at their best and achieve ambitious goals on your own and in team-work with scientists and technicians.

You will, in addition to research, also be responsible for some teaching within mycology, and you will take some formal courses that will be beneficial for your PhD project. We also encourage you to have a stay at another university, be it AU or an international university or research institution.

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 professor Jens C. Frisvad and professor Thomas O. Larsen.

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.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.

Expected starting date is May 1 2019.

Further information
Further information may be obtained from professor Jens C. Frisvad, +45 4525 2626.

You can read more about Department of Biotechnology and Bioengineering at

Please submit your online application no later than 20 March 2019 (11:59 pm local time).

To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill out the online application form. The following must be attached in English:

Candidates may apply prior to obtaining their master's degree but cannot begin before having received it.

Applications and enclosures received after the deadline will not be considered.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

Department of Biotechnology and Biomedicine (DTU Bioengineering) is an international leader in biotechnology and biomedicine. Our engineering approach to all aspects of biotechnology and biomedicine positions us as a valuable player with unique competences in a growing bio-based economy and with health systems transforming towards personalized medicine. We have a clear focus on the needs in the life science industry and point towards innovation, new businesses and scientific services for the benefit of society. The department has extensive collaborations with national and international research units and industry. DTU Bioengineering has approx. 210 employees, of which 2/3 is scientific staff. The department is located at DTU Lyngby Campus.DTU is a technical university providing internationally leading research, education, innovation and scientific advice. Our staff of 6,000 advance science and technology to create innovative solutions that meet the demands of society, and our 11,200 students are being educated to address the technological challenges of the future. DTU is an independent academic university collaborating globally with business, industry, government and public agencies.

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Danmarks Tekniske Universitet (DTU) - hurtigt overblik

Danmarks Tekniske Universitet (DTU)
Danmarks Tekniske Universitet (DTU)
DTU er et teknisk eliteuniversitet med international rækkevidde og standard. Vores mission er at udvikle og nyttiggøre naturvidenskab og teknisk videnskab til gavn for samfundet. 11.200 studerende uddanner sig her til fremtiden, og 6.000 medarbejdere har hver dag fokus på uddannelse, forskning, myndighedsrådgivning og innovation, som bidrager til øget vækst og velfærd.

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