2 PhD Scholarship in Microbial Robustness at Chalmers University of Technology

A fully-funded PhD fellowship in molecular biology is available at Chalmers University of Technology. Successful candidate will have funding to work and study for five years in Sweden. The deadline to apply is July 09, 2019.

The Department of Biology and Biological Engineering was founded January 1 2015, and started off with high ambitions. The aim was to grow and become a leading center of innovation by combining the latest research in life sciences with biochemistry. And the department got off to flying start. In its first year, the numbers for publication, citation and external funding have been excellent.

The department consists of four divisions, each conducting outstanding research in the areas of industrial biotechnology, systems biology, chemical biology and food science. The overall goal is to help build a sustainable society and improve human health. Nearly 200 people from 20 countries are currently working at the department. The working environment is characterized by respect, cooperation, responsibility, creativity and job satisfaction. The Department of Biology and Biological Engineering has summarized its mission in four points: - To be an attractive environment for top-level researchers in biological engineering - To deliver top-level research results and innovative solutions for use in a sustainable society - To offer excellent education that develops creative engineers and scientists - To be a major contributor to international visibility of Chalmers Information about the research

The PhD student positions are placed at the Division of Industrial Biotechnology within the Department of Biology and Biological Engineering at Chalmers University of Technology. The Industrial Biotechnology group is a young, dynamic and international group of researchers established in 2008 and counts now around 40 members. The common denominator of the research activities in the group is to optimize the use of renewable raw materials for the sustainable production of fuels, chemicals and materials within the main concept of biorefinery.

The research performed within the group spans from fundamental research, technology development and lab-scale application: this ensures deep knowledge of the studied systems, leading to rational development and optimization of the respective applications. The research fields include production of biofuels and chemicals via fermentation and enzymatic refining of biomass, bioelectrochemical systems and algal biotechnology. The division has an extensive instrument platform for analytics, molecular biology, protein production and purification, fermentation which are all available for the project. In addition, core facilities with advanced equipment are available within both the Department and at the University campus.

Information about the project

The overarching goal of the research program is to achieve a molecular understanding of microbial robustness and convert that knowledge to meet the urgent need of efficient industrial catalysts. Here, using yeast as the microbial platform, the natural exhibited yeast diversity and differently laboratory evolved strains that exhibit different robustness fitness will be taken as a starting point for identifying molecular traits behind microbial robustness. Methodologies that can build a foundation towards understanding microbial robustness under different physiological conditions, will be combined, including genomics, epigenetics, measurements of stress markers, cellular protectants, redox and energy status. Both the genetic capacity of the cells and the phenotypic expression, plasticity and heterogeneity will be investigated. Cells will be grown under industrially relevant conditions, including growth in biomass derived streams, at high substrate and product concentrations, nutrient limitations and zero growth. The knowledge acquired will form the basis for strain engineering strategies to further improve yeast as a robust cell factory.

Major responsibilities

Both PhD students will contribute to develop a range of methods for studying microbial robustness as well as studying microbial robustness under industrially relevant conditions. One PhD student will focus on studying the use of adaptive evolution to reach strains with better microbial robustness and identifying the genetic and phenotypic characteristics of such strains. The second PhD student will focus on molecular markers related to microbial robustness and the influence of heterogenecity in the stability of phenotypically expressed robustness.

Your major responsibilities are to pursue your own doctoral studies. You are expected to develop your own scientific concepts and communicate the results of your research verbally and in writing, both in Swedish and in English. The position generally also includes teaching on Chalmers’ undergraduate level or performing other duties corresponding up to 20 per cent of working hours.

Full-time temporary employment.The position is limited to a maximum of five years.


The candidates should have a MSc in Biotechnology/Bioengineering, Systems Biology, Microbiology, Biochemistry or related disciplines. Courses in Systems biology and Fermentation Technology is required and courses in evolution biology is considered a merit. Some knowledge and hands-on experience with yeast fermentations and collection of large omic data sets is required. Hands on experience in analyzing large omic data sets in analytical methods related to microbial physiological studies is considered a merit.

The candidate needs to be self-motivated, ambitious, enthusiastic, creative, well-organised and have good technical abilities. The candidate should be able to put up new experimental procedures and be good in finding new solutions to technical problems. Excellent problem-solving skills, collaborative and social abilities are highly important. The candidate should have strong analytical skills, and a keen interest in the interpretation of complex data. Ability to work in teams and a drive for own development is also important. Good communication skills in English are necessary.

Chalmers offers a cultivating and inspiring working environment in the dynamic city ofGothenburg.

Read more aboutworking at Chalmersand ourbenefitsfor employees.

Application procedure

The application should be marked with Ref 20190328 and written in English.

CV: (Please name the document: CV, Family name, Ref. number)


Other, for example previous employments or leadership qualifications and positions of trust.

Two references that we can contact.

Personal letter: (Please name the document as: Personal letter, Family name, Ref. number)

1-3 pages where you introduce yourself and present your qualifications.

Previous research fields and main research results.

Future goals and research focus.Are there any specific projects and research issues you are primarily interested in?

Copies of bachelor and/or master's thesis.

Attested copies and transcripts of completed education, grades and other certificates, eg. TOEFL test results.

Application deadline: July 9, 2019. Applications will be evaluated continuously after June 27.

Professor Lisbeth Olsson, Dept. of Biology and Biological Engineering – Industrial Biotechnology,


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