PhD Fellowship in Food Biotechnology
University of Copenhagen Department of Food Science

PhD fellowship in food biotechnology

Department of Food Science, Section of Food Analytics and Biotechnology, invites applicants for a PhD fellowship in food biotechnology with the aim to identify enzymes in germinating seeds, produce those heterologously and explore their use in protein extraction with start 1/4-2022 or as soon as possible thereafter.

The project

The PhD position is part of a project funded by the Danish research council: ‘Realising the plant protein future: gentle seed deconstruction (Seedstruction)’.

Obtaining seed storage proteins with good functional properties to be used in food is challenging due to reasons such as the dense packing of proteins within the seed cells. Current methods involve physicochemical treatments based on fractionation of the cells, requiring significant resources, e.g. water and energy, resulting in environmental impact that can be comparable to that of animal proteins production. Seedstruction will generate new knowledge required to identify novel bioinspired enzymatic technologies that combined with gentle flow/mixing will enable release of highly functional proteins from whole seeds with minimal requirements for purification, resulting in sustainable processes with reduced water and energy use.

The aim of the PhD position is to explore the potential to release and extract seed storage proteins in a mild, controlled, and sustainable way by using enzymatic methods inspired by the pea plant’s own mechanism to mobilise the storage proteins during germination. This involves 1) establishing enzymatic events and identify enzymes during germination using mass-spectrometry, 2) producing and characterising the identified enzymes in E. coli, 3) use combinations of the produced enzymes to release seed storage proteins from dry pea seeds and 4) explore the role of hydration and flow on enzymatic reactions and how these can be combined to facilitate access of the enzymes to the central part of the seeds, in particular in low water systems.

Specfic tasks for the PhD position in food biotechnology:

  • Detailed mapping of germination events: identification of enzymes using mass-spectrometry and structural changes of cells and protein bodies using confocal microscopy.
  • Cloning and production of selected enzymes in E. coli followed by biochemical characterisation.
  • Enzymatic digestion of seed material and characterisation of released storage proteins.
  • Exploring high density systems for enzymatic treatments of seed material.

The principal supervisors are Dr. Ourania Gouseti, and Dr. Poul Erik Jensen, Department of Food Science, UCPH,

Qualifications needed for the regular programme

To be eligible for the regular PhD programme, you must have completed a degree programme, equivalent to a Danish master’s degree (180 ECTS/3 FTE BSc + 120 ECTS/2 FTE MSc) related to the subject area of the project, e.g. biochemistry, molecular biology, biotechnology or bioengineering. For information of eligibility of completed programmes, see General assessments for specific countries and Assessment database.

Terms of employment in the regular programme

Employment as PhD fellow is full time and for maximum 3 years.

Employment is conditional upon your successful enrolment as a PhD student at the PhD School at the Faculty of SCIENCE, University of Copenhagen. This requires submission and acceptance of an application for the specific project formulated by the applicant.

The terms of employment and salary are in accordance to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State (AC). The position is covered by the Protocol on Job Structure.

Salary range starts at DKK 27,871.40 per month incl. PhD supplement (1 Oct. 2021 level).

General responsibilities

  • Carry through an independent research project under supervision
  • Complete PhD courses corresponding to approx. 30 ECTS / ½ FTE
  • Participate in active research environments, including a stay at another research institution, which will be abroad
  • Teaching and knowledge dissemination activities
  • Write scientific papers aimed at high-impact journals
  • Write and defend a PhD thesis on the basis of your project

We are looking for one or more of the following qualifications:

  • A MSc degree in biochemistry, molecular biology, or biotechnology
  • Practical experience in seed and germination biology
  • Proteomics, mass-spectrometry and related bioiformatics
  • Heterologous production of enzymes
  • Enzyme assays,
  • Protein analysis: SDS-PAGE and UV-spectroscopy
  • Excellent English communication skills
  • Good interpersonal skills
  • Strong work ethics
  • High ambitions
  • Team player

Key selection criteria:

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

Application and Assessment Procedure

Your application including all attachments must be in English and submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.

Please include: 

  1. Motivated letter of application (max. one page)
  2. Your motivation for applying for the specific PhD project
  3. Curriculum vitae including information about your education, experience, language skills and other skills relevant for the position
  4. Original diplomas for Bachelor of Science or Master of Science and transcript of records in the original language, including an authorized English translation if issued in another language than English or Danish. If not completed, a certified/signed copy of a recent transcript of records or a written statement from the institution or supervisor is accepted.
  5. Publication list (if possible)
  6. Reference letters (if available)

Application deadline:

The deadline for applications is 27th of January 2022, 23:59 GMT+1.

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 deadline, a number of applicants will be selected for academic assessment by an unbiased expert assessor. You are notified, whether you will be passed for assessment.

The assessor will assess the qualifications and experience of the shortlisted applicants with respect to the above mentioned research area, techniques, skills and other requirements. The assessor will conclude whether each applicant is qualified and, if so, for which of the two models. The assessed applicants will have the opportunity to comment on their assessment. You can read about the recruitment process at

Interviews with selected candidates are expected to be held in late February 2022.


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

General information about PhD study at the Faculty of SCIENCE is available at the PhD School’s website:

The University of Copenhagen wishes to reflect the surrounding community and invites all regardless of personal background to apply for the position. 


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.


Application deadline: 27-01-2022
Employment start: 01-04-2022
Working hours: Full time
Department/Location: FOOD

If you apply for this position please say you saw it on Bioloxy


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