Doctoral student in Metabolic engineering of Clostridium thermocellum for sustainable products

Royal lnstitute of Technology
March 30, 2023
Offerd Salary:Negotiation
Working address:N/A
Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Full time
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Ref info:N/A
Project description

Third-cycle subject : Biotechnology

The overall purpose of this project is to develop Clostridium thermocellum as a next-generation robust microbial cell factory that can convert (ligno-)cellulose to sustainable fuels and chemicals with minimum pretreatment. The use of lignocellulosic feedstocks, instead of refined sugars, is preferred to expand (future) production volumes, improve cost- competitiveness and avoid competition with food. The project will apply state- of-the-art molecular biology techniques, genomics and proteomics combined with laboratory evolution and quantitative physiology in bioreactors to unlock the potential of C. thermocellum , including: Design and analysis of research strategies to achieve increased understanding of the metabolism of the obligately anaerobic thermophile C. thermocellum. Quantitative physiology of different C. thermocellum strains in shake-flask and bioreactors operated in batch and chemostat mode. Functional analysis of the central metabolism of C. thermocellum through enzyme activity assays, molecular biology and state- of-the art omics-based approaches.

The PhD student will communicate scientific progress within the microbial biotechnology team at the Department of Industrial Biotechnology at KTH and with our (international) collaborators, as well as disseminate the project results through oral presentations, scientific publications and through information for a general audience. In addition to the research, the PhD student will contribute to (co-)Supervision of MSc students and teaching and supervision in lab courses on Cultivation Technology and Bioprocess Design.

Supervision: Prof. Dr. Antonius (Ton) J.A. van Maris is proposed to supervise the doctoral student. Prof. Dr. Paul Hudson is proposed to be co- supervisor. Collaborators from the group of Prof. Lee Lynd (Dartmouth College, U.S.A.) will be involved in the project as well. Decisions are made on admission

What we offer
  • The possibility to study in a dynamic and international research environment in collaboration with industries and prominent universities from all over the world.Read more
  • A workplace with many employee benefits and monthly salary according to KTH's Doctoral student salary agreement.
  • A postgraduate education at an institution that is active and supportive in matters pertaining to working conditions, gender equality and diversity as well as study environment.
  • Work and study in Stockholm, close to nature and the water.
  • Help to relocate and be settled in Sweden and at KTH.
  • The Department provides societally relevant biotechnological solutions for sustainable production of pharmaceuticals, chemicals, materials and fuels, as well as contributing to clean water and environment. We provide a thriving learning environment for BSc, MSc, PhD students and post docs.
  • Admission requirements

    To be admitted to postgraduate education (Chapter 7, 39 § Swedish Higher Education Ordinance), the applicant must have basic eligibility in accordance with either of the following:

  • passed a second cycle degree (for example a master's degree), or
  • completed course requirements of at least 240 higher education credits, of which at least 60 second-cycle higher education credits, or
  • acquired, in some other way within or outside the country, substantially equivalent knowledge
  • In addition to the above, there is also a mandatory requirement for English equivalent to English B/6, read more here


    In order to succeed as a doctoral student at KTH you need to be goal oriented and persevering in your work. During the selection process, candidates will be assessed upon their ability to:

  • independently pursue his or her work
  • collaborate with others,
  • have a professional approach and
  • analyse and work with complex issues.
  • Functionally analyse central metabolism of a microorganism, preferably anaerobes or thermophiles.
  • Perform enzyme activity assays and/or bioreactor cultivations.
  • Demonstrate personal integrity, good communication, focus on goals and results, persistence and seeing the bigger picture
  • After the qualification requirements, great emphasis will be placed on personal competency.

    Target degree: Doctoral degree Information regarding admission and employment

    Only those admitted to postgraduate education may be employed as a doctoral student. The total length of employment may not be longer than what corresponds to full-time doctoral education in four years ' time. An employed doctoral student can, to a limited extent (maximum 20%), perform certain tasks within their role, e.g. training and administration. A new position as a doctoral student is for a maximum of one year, and then the employment may be renewed for a maximum of two years at a time.

    Union representatives

    You will find contact information for union representatives on KTH's website.

    Doctoral section (Students' union on KTH Royal Institute of


    You will find contact information for doctoral section on the section's website.


    Apply for the position and admission through KTH's recruitment system. It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that the application is complete in accordance with the instructions in the advertisement.

    Applications must be received at the last closing date at midnight, CET/CEST (Central European Time/entral European Summer Time).

    Applications must include the following elements:

  • CV including your relevant professional experience and knowledge.
  • Application letter with a brief description of why you want to pursue research studies, about what your academic interests are and how they relate to your previous studies and future goals. (Maximum 2 pages long)
  • Copies of diplomas and grades from previous university studies and certificates of fulfilled language requirements (see above). Translations into English or Swedish if the original document is not issued in one of these languages.Copies of originals must be certified.
  • Representative publications or technical reports. For longer documents, please provide a summary (abstract) and a web link to the full text.
  • Other information

    Striving towards gender equality, diversity and equal conditions is both a question of quality for KTH and a given part of our values.

    For information about processing of personal data in the recruitment process please read here.

    We firmly decline all contact with staffing and recruitment agencies and job ad salespersons.

    Disclaimer: In case of discrepancy between the Swedish original and the English translation of the job announcement, the Swedish version takes precedence.

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