Ph.D. scholarship in Multispecies Biofilms

Copenhagen University
April 25, 2024
Offerd Salary:Negotiation
Working address:N/A
Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Full time
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This PhD scholarship is associated with the ERC Consolidator project “ The biofilm matrix and its functional role in the ecology of bacterial communities – BioMatrix. The overall aim of the project is to examine the production and composition of matrix components in multispecies biofilms and their role in shaping community function, activity and protection. A four-species soil community interacting synergistically in biofilm formation will be used as model. Experimental designs will span various levels of community and environmental complexity to facilitate both a mechanistic and an integrative understanding of the impact of the biofilm matrix for community ecology.

The main aim of this PhD project is to examine functional role of the multispecies biofilm matrix. For this, matrix composition will be compared in wild types and mutant soil strains, lacking one or several matrix components. Moreover, spatiotemporal expression of specific matrix components will be examined using genetically modified reporter strains and/or gene expression analysis. Matrix component expression and functional roles will be studied in in vitro models. These will contain components resembling those of a natural soil ecosystem, including artificial soil and 3D printed artificial, degradable leaves serving as surface and substrate for model soil biofilms, compatible with confocal laser scanning microscopy. Wild types and genetically engineered variants of the four bacterial stains will be introduced to the models, followed by structural and functional characterization of the community.

The position is for 3 years and the project will be carried out at Section of Microbiology, Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen where you will engage in teamwork within the group and with national and international collaborators.

The position is to be filled by 1.8.2024 or as soon as possible hereafter.

The principal supervisor is Professor Mette Burmølle, PhD, Section of Microbiology, Department of Biology.


We are looking for a highly motivated and ambitious researcher with strong experience in biofilm microbiology and bacterial interactions. Applicants should have the following qualifications:

  • M.Sc. in Microbiology, Biology, Biochemistry, Bioengineering, Molecular Biology or equivalent

  • Hands on and documented experience with cultivation and analysis of bacteria

  • Hands on and documented experience with use of in vitro biofilm models and confocal microscopy analysis of bacterial communities

  • Hands on and documented experience with genetic engineering of bacteria and fluorescence-based reporter systems.
  • Hands on and documented experience with proteomic sample preparation and data analysis
  • Hands on and documented experience with bacterial interactions and/or soil microbiology/microcosms
  • Fluency in English
  • Main tasks of the appointed applicant

  • Design, optimization and implementation of in vitro biofilm models
  • Genetic engineering of bacterial model strains
  • Proteomic analysis of the biofilm matrix
  • Visual analysis of spatial community structure using confocal microscopy
  • Structural and functional characterization of the biofilms using e.g. stains binding specific matrix components, biomass and viability assays etc.
  • Application

    The application must contain:

  • Motivated letter, stating which PhD project you are applying for and detailing your motivation and background for applying for the specific PhD project
  • Curriculum vitae
  • List of publications (if any)
  • Diploma and transcripts of records (BSc and MSc)
  • 1-3 reference letters (if any)
  • Contact and inquiries

    Professor Mette Burmølle, PhD: [email protected]

    Qualifications needed for the regular programme To be eligible for the regular PhD programme, you must have completed a degree programme, equivalent to a Danish master's degree (180 ECTS/3 FTE BSc + 120 ECTS/2 FTE MSc). in Microbiology, Biology, Biochemistry, Bioengineering, Molecular Biology or equivalent from other relevant research fields with good results. For information of eligibility of completed programmes, see General assessments for specific countries and Assessment database.

    Terms of employment in the regular programme Employment as PhD fellow is full time and for maximum 3 years.

    Employment is conditional upon your successful enrolment as a PhD student at the PhD School at the Faculty of SCIENCE, University of Copenhagen. This requires submission and acceptance of an application for the specific project formulated by the applicant.

    The terms of employment and salary are in accordance to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State (AC). The position is covered by the Protocol on Job Structure.

    Application deadline:

    The deadline for applications is 25 April 2024, 23:59 GMT +2.

    Applications received after the deadline, or with insufficient documentation or otherwise not complying with the above requirements, may not be considered.

    If you consider applying from abroad, you may find useful information on how it is to work in Denmark and at UCPH in this links: https://, https: // www. and https: // www.

    General information about PhD programmes at SCIENCE is available at https: // www.

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