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PhD Scholarship in Biotechnology at Lund University

International students are invited for a PhD position in molecular biology at Lund University. The initial contract for this position is 5 years. Eligible candidates should submit the applications before September 27, 2018.

Lund University was founded in 1666 and is repeatedly ranked among the world's top 100 universities. The University has 40 000 students and 7 400 staff based in Lund, Helsingborg and Malm. We are united in our efforts to understand, explain and improve our world and the human condition.

LTH forms the Faculty of Engineering at Lund University, with approximately 9 000 students. The research carried out at LTH is of a high international standard and we are continuously developing our teaching methods and adapting our courses to current needs.

Subject description

Biotechnology is of key importance for the transition to a sustainable society. Biotechnology research develops and exploits microorganisms or components of microorganisms to attain useful technological goals with environmentally sustainable methods. The areas of application include environmental biotechnology, industrial biotechnology and biotechnology in healthcare.

The specialisations of the research studies subject are:
- M icrobial and enzymatic methods of producing chemicals, materials and energy carriers from renewable raw materials.
- I ncreased use of biorefineries through use/development of biotechnical methods/Tools.
- None Development of efficient microorganisms and enzymes through methods of molecular biology and enzyme technology as catalysts for these processes.
- I nsulation and use of microorganisms and enzymes from extreme Environments.
- D evelopment of bioanalyses and biosensors for use within the healthcare, environment and processing sectors.

The research includes both basic studies and direct applications within the area.

Work duties

The main duties of doctoral students are to devote themselves to their research studies which includes participating in research projects and third cycle courses. The work duties will also include teaching and other departmental duties (no more than 20%).

The research will mainly be carried out within a project funded by the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrdet). The main aim of the project is to prepare and evaluate surfactants, which are mild enough to be used in contact with living cells and sensitive biomolecules and whose properties can be fine-tuned by variation of pH. Our previous breakthrough concerning enzymatic synthesis of mild alkyl glycosides (with elongated carbohydrate part) will be combined with novel chemo-enzymatic methods to introduce additional functional groups. Preliminary data show that elongation of the carbohydrate group gives surfactants with unique self assembling properties, and it is expected that additional functional groups will make it possible to obtain a variety of structures, including vesicles, bilayers, and twisted ribbons. Various methods including small angle X-ray diffraction, dynamic light scattering, small angle neutron scattering, cryo-TEM, ellipsometry and neutron reflectometry will be used to evaluate the properties of the surfactants. Their interactions with proteins and surfaces will be studied, one aim being to achieve high enzyme activity and stability in unusual environments. This project is a collaboration between Div. of Biotechnology, in charge of surfactant synthesis and Div. of Physical Chemistry, in charge of physicochemical characterisation. The project will form the scientific basis for development of better surfactants for various applications, including pharmaceutical formulations, personal care products, cleaning and scientific studies of proteins.

Admission requirements

A person meets the general admission requirements for third-cycle courses and study programmes if he or she:
- has been awarded a second-cycle qualification, or
- has satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits of which at least 60 credits were awarded in the second cycle, or
- has acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad.

A person meets the specific admission requirements if he or she has
- at least 30 credits in the field of bioscience, including at least 15 second-cycle credits, and a second-cycle degree project of 30 credits in the field, or
- an MSc in engineering or a comparable second-cycle qualification, including elements of applied bioscience.
- Good theoretical and practical knowledge in biotechnology, especially in the area of enzyme technology

Assessment criteria

Selection for third-cycle studies is based on the student's potential to profit from such studies. The assessment of potential is made primarily on the basis of academic results from the first and second cycle. Special attention is paid to the following:
- Knowledge and skills relevant to the thesis project and the subject of study
- An assessment of ability to work independently and to formulate and tackle research problems
- Other experience relevant to the third-cycle studies, e.g. professional experience
- None Good oral and written proficiency in Swedish is a merit
- None Master of Science in Engineering is a merit

Consideration will also be given to good collaborative skills, drive and independence, and how the applicant, through his or her experience and skills, is deemed to have the abilities necessary for successfully completing the third cycle programme.

Conditions

Only those admitted to third cycle studies may be appointed to a doctoral studentship. Third cycle studies at LTH consist of full-time studies for 4 years. A doctoral studentship is a fixed-term employment of a maximum of 5 years (including 20% departmental duties). Doctoral studentships are regulated in the Higher Education Ordinance (1998:80).

Instructions on how to apply

Applications shall be written in English and include a cover letter stating the reasons why you are interested in the position and in what way the research project corresponds to your interests and educational background. The application must also contain a CV, degree certificate or equivalent, and other documents you wish to be considered (grade transcripts, contact information for your references, letters of recommendation, etc.).


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