Postdoctoral Fellowship in Bacterial RNA Biology
University of Copenhagen Department of Biology

Postdoctoral Fellowship in Bacterial RNA biology

A 13-months postdoctoral fellowship is available in the Biomolecular regulation group at the Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.  The aim of the project is to develop a quantitative, molecular understanding of the role of tRNA degradation in E. coli’s ability to cope with stress. The position is funded by a Sapere Aude starting grant to Sine Lo Svenningsen from the Independent Research Fund Denmark.

The positions starting date is November 15, 2020, or as soon as possible thereafter. 

Scientific environment

The Biomolecular regulation group is led by Associate Professors Sine Lo Svenningsen and Michael Sørensen. The group addresses fundamental regulatory and mechanistic aspects of bacterial gene expression and growth regulation. A common interest among the group members is the role of RNA molecules as regulators and mediators of protein synthesis. The group belongs to the Section for Biomolecular Sciences at the Department of Biology. The section currently employs about 15 PhD-students and 10 postdoctoral fellows. The research in the section is highly interdisciplinary ranging from molecular cell biology to protein chemistry, advanced biophysics and computational biology.

The Department of Biology is the largest department at the University of Copenhagen and hosts research programs and teaching curricula that cover all major biological sub-disciplines. University rankings typically place the field of biology/biochemistry at the University of Copenhagen first in Denmark and among the top 30 universities internationally. 


The project focuses on how tRNA levels impact Escherichia coli’s adaptation to various growth situations, such as alternating periods of nutrient limitation and nutrient abundance. We have observed that several of the RNA components of the translation machinery are rapidly degraded at the onset of nutrient limitation and other types of stress in E. coli, and the aim of this project is to define the pathway for degradation of mature tRNA and determine the impact of tRNA degradation on various aspects of E. coli’s ability to optimize growth and survive periods of starvation or other types of stress. The project will mainly involve methods from RNA biology/biochemistry, bacterial growth physiology, genetics and molecular biology.

Assessment criteria
In the assessment of qualifications we will emphasize the perceived research potential of the applicant and the relevance of previous research experience. 

We are looking for a candidate with the following professional and personal qualifications: 

  • A publication record documenting high quality contributions to RNA biology research.
  • A background in research on the translational apparatus of bacteria.
  • A strong interest in bacterial translation and the research questions addressed by the group.    
  • Documented laboratory experience in molecular microbiology, especially RNA and ribosome biology/biochemistry.
  • Experience with writing scientific publications and presenting research for an audience.
  • Well-developed collaborative skills and a strong motivation to contribute to a working environment that is both productive and pleasant for all members of the group.

Formal requirements 

Applicants should hold a PhD degree in molecular microbiology, or the equivalent hereof, and have published peer-reviewed research on the translational apparatus of bacteria at a high international level. If the PhD degree has not been obtained by the application deadline, the recommendation letter from the PhD supervisor must state that the applicant is expected to obtain the PhD degree no later than November 2020. Note that due to a requirement from the funding agency, only applicants who have obtained their PhD degree after September 1, 2016 can be considered for the position (extensions can be granted due to e.g. parental leave). The group aims to be highly international and fluency in spoken and written English is a requirement.

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 up to DKK 437.843 including annual supplement (+ pension up to DKK 74.871). Negotiation for salary supplement is possible. 

Place of work

The main place of work will be at Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen at Nørre Campus, Ole Maaløes Vej 5, 220 Copenhagen N, Denmark.

Application Procedure

The application, in English, must be submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below. 
The application must include the following documents: 

  • Cover Letter, stating your motivation and background for applying for this specific postdoctoral position. 
  • CV.
  • List of publications 
  • Diplomas and transcripts of records (for BSc, MSc, and PhD degrees) 
  • A letter of recommendation from PhD thesis supervisor or another qualified professional referee. 

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 September 1st, 2020, 23:59 GMT+2. Applications received after the deadline will not be considered.  


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: 01-09-2020
Employment start: 15-11-2020
Working hours: Full time
Department/Location: Department of Biology

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