PhD Fellow in Plant Molecular Biology
University of Copenhagen

PhD Fellow in Plant Molecular Biology

Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science at University of Copenhagen is offering a PhD scholarship in Plant Molecular Biology, respectively, commencing 01.01.2021 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Description of the scientific environment

The Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences is among the largest Departments at the University of Copenhagen. The focus is on plants, microorganisms, animals and the environment as a basis for sustainable production of food and other biological products.

Research and teaching cover natural resources, agriculture, biotechnology and synthetic biology from the molecular level to the ecosystem scale. The candidate will be based in the group of Assoc. Prof. Hussam Hassan Nour-Eldin, Section of Molecular Plant Biology.  A major focus of the research group is on studying the NPF family, a large family of transporters involved in the movement of specialized metabolites and phytohormones in plant. We recently became part of a large consortium funded by the NOVO Nordisk foundation. Herein, we aim to accelerate the breeding of orphan crops and wild plants for a future agriculture that is sustainable and climate-friendly

Project description

The specialized metabolism of plants is critical for plant fitness as defense compounds that deter herbivores and pathogens, as attractants of pollinators, as signal molecules and more. For humans, the vast chemical diversity of specialized metabolites provide key ingredients for the pharmaceutical, flavor and colorant industry but also pose severe challenges in agriculture as anti-nutritional factors that hamper the nutritional value of otherwise beneficial crops. The spatiotemporal -in planta- distribution of specialized metabolites is dynamically controlled by transport proteins. Accordingly, transport engineering has emerged as a powerful technology for altering the distribution of specialized metabolites according to our needs.

Several wild ancestors of potato are highly resilient to late blight disease, which is controlled in domesticated potatoes by the heavy use of pesticides during cultivation. In addition, unlike modern cultivars, many wild potatoes have a low glycemic index and are thus less likely to contribute to the development of type-2 diabetes. De novo domestication of wild potato cultivars includes reducing the levels of harmful glycoalkaloids through transport engineering. We will identify the transporters involved in moving glycoalkaloids in potato, decipher the molecular mechanisms regulating their spatio-temporal accumulation patterns and generate a knowledge base and procedure for recuding their levels in a tissue specific manner.

This project will combine transportomics and metabolomics, advanced molecular biology techniques mutagenesis and confocal imaging.

Principal supervisor is Associate Professor Hussam H. Nour-Eldin, email, telephone (+45) 35333698.

Job description

Your key tasks as a PhD student at Science are:

  • Manage and carry through your research project
  • Take PhD courses
  • Write scientific articles and your PhD thesis
  • Participate in congresses
  • Stay at an external research institution for a few months, preferably abroad
  • Teach and disseminate your research

Formal requirements

  • A master’s degree related to the subject area of the project
  • A strong motivation for the application.
  • Excellent written and spoken English.

Key criteria for the assessment of candidates

  • A strong background in molecular biology (e.g. design and generation of expression constructs)
  • Experience in- or are excited about learning- electrophysiology techniques.
  • Knowledge on plant transport protein biology.
  • The grade point average achieved in undergraduate studies
  • Professional qualifications relevant to the PhD programme
  • Previous publications
  • Language skills

The successful candidate will have significant freedom and guidance in a creative and stimulating, international research environment.  Outstanding candidates wishing to be trained in holistic thinking and forefront technologies are cordially invited to apply.

Further information on the Department is linked at
Inquiries about the position and the project can be made to Associate Professor Hussam H. Nour-Eldin, email, telephone (+45) 35333698.

Terms of employment

The position is covered by the Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff.

Terms of appointment and payment accord to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State.

The starting salary is currently at a minimum DKK 321,054 including annual supplement (+ pension up to DKK 44,349). Negotiation for salary supplement is possible.

Place of work

The main place of work will be at the DynaMo Center, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, University of Copenhagen at Frederiksberg Campus, Thorvaldsensvej 40, 1871 Frederiksberg C, Denmark. International travel in relation to conferences, meetings and experiments will be part of the position.

Application Procedure

The application, in English, must be submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.

Please include

  • Cover Letter detailing your motivation and background for the application.
  • CV
  • Diploma and transcripts of records (BSc and MSc)
  • Other information for consideration, e.g. list of publications (if any),
  • 1-3 professional references, please include full contact details (Name, address, telephone & email)
  • Documentation of English language qualifications, cf. general rules and guidelines, p. 5

The University wishes our staff to reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.

The deadline for applications is 21 October 2020, 23:59 GMT +2.

After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the Interview Committee.

You can read about the recruitment process at


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

General information about PhD programmes at SCIENCE is available at


Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe’s top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation – with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture – creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.


Hussam Hassan Nour Eldin Auis


Application deadline: 21-10-2020
Employment start: 01-01-2021
Working hours: Full time
Department/Location: Plant Molecular Biology
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