The Human Resources Strategy for Researchers

PhD fellow in Biology

This job offer has expired

    University of Copenhagen
    Biological sciences
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    15/06/2019 12:00 - Europe/Brussels
    Denmark › Copenhagen

Department of Biology, Faculty of Science at University of Copenhagen is offering a PhD scholarship on resistance evolution and persistence of antifungal susceptibility in fungus-farming termites, commencing 01.10.2019 or as soon as possible thereafter


Description of the scientific environment

The project will be based at the international research environment in the Social and Symbiotic Evolution Group at the Section for Ecology and Evolution within the Department of Biology. Research in the group cis highly interdisciplinary and combines the fields of evolutionary ecology, molecular microbiology, genomics, and metabolomics to address fundamental questions on how antagonistic (parasitic) and beneficial (mutualistic) microbial symbionts shape host ecology and evolution, how partners complement each other metabolically, and how host-symbiont associations defend themselves against exploitation (https://www.socialsymbioticevolution.com/).


Project description

The fellowship will be part of a five-year project titled Disease-free social life without antibiotic resistance, financed by an ERC Consolidator Grant. The application of antimicrobial compounds produced by hosts or defensive symbionts to counter the effects of diseases has been identified in a number of organisms, but despite extensive studies on their presence, we know essentially nothing about why these antimicrobials do not always trigger rampant evolution of resistance in target parasites. Fungus-farming termites have evolved a sophisticated agricultural symbiosis that pre-dates human farming by 30 million years which, in stark contrast to virtually any other organism, does not appear to suffer from specialised diseases. This suggests that the defensive compounds produced by the termite host, its fungal crop, and gut bacterial communities have remained effective for more than 30 million years.


This PhD will aim to use a series of complementary approaches to explore the propensity and causality behind the evolution of antimicrobial resistance in fungi challenging the fungus-farming termite symbiosis. This will involve microbial interaction assays, experimental evolution in vitro, comparative genomics on fungal strains prior and post resistance evolution and modelling of the parameters of importance for resistance to evolve or susceptibility to persist. The project may involve fieldwork in Comoe National Park, Ivory Coast (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Como%C3%A9_National_Park). The successful applicant will have experience and interest in antimicrobial compounds, resistance evolution, fungal genomics. Experience with microbiological techniques, genomics and mathematic modelling is desirable.


Principal supervisor is Assoc. Prof. Michael Thomas-Poulsen (http://www1.bio.ku.dk/english/staff/?pure=en/persons/227714), E-mail: mpoulsen@bio.ku.dk, Direct Phone: +45 35330377.


Job description

The position is available for a 3-year period and your key tasks as a PhD student at SCIENCE are:

  • To manage and carry through your research project
  • Attend PhD courses
  • Write scientific articles and your PhD thesis
  • Teach and disseminate your research
  • To stay at an external research institution for a few months, preferably abroad
  • Work for the department


Formal requirements

Applicants should hold an MSc degree in biology or bioinformatics with good results and good English skills. As criteria for the assessment of your qualifications, emphasis will also be laid on previous publications (if any) and relevant work experience.


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 325,625 (approx. €43,400) including annual supplement (+ pension up to DKK 44,980). Negotiation for salary supplement is possible.


Application Procedure

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


Please include

  • Single-page cover letter, including a brief detailing your motivation and background for applying for the PhD project.
  • A two-page CV
  • Publication list
  • Diploma and transcripts of records (BSc and MSc)
  • Acceptance Letter for the relevant MSc Programme at SCIENCE, if any
  • Other information for consideration (if any),
  • Full contact details (Name, address, telephone & email) of 1-3 professional referees


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 15 June 2019, 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. Afterwards an assessment committee will be appointed to evaluate the selected applications. The applicants will be notified of the composition of the committee and the final selection of a successful candidate will be made by the Head of Department, based on the recommendations of the assessment committee and the interview committee.

The main criterion for selection will be the research potential of the applicant and the above-mentioned skills. The successful candidate will then be requested to formally apply for enrolment as a PhD student at the PhD school of Science. You can read more about the recruitment process at http://employment.ku.dk/faculty/recruitment-process/.



For specific information about the PhD scholarship, please contact the principal supervisor Associate Professor Michael Poulsen, Section for Ecology and Evolution, Department of Biology, E-mail: mpoulsen@bio.ku.dk, Direct Phone: +45 35330377.


General information about PhD programmes at SCIENCE is available at http://www.science.ku.dk/phd.


Work location(s)
1 position(s) available at
University of Copenhagen
Ole Maaløes Vej 5

EURAXESS offer ID: 411069


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