Post doctoral position in Algae genome engineering

The Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science at University of Copenhagen is offering a 2 year Post doctoral fellowship to develop molecular biology tools for the eukaryotic algae Nannochloropsis oceanica for biosustainable bioproduction. The fellowships will commence March 1st, 2021 or as soon as possible thereafter.

The postdoc’s duties will include research as well as teaching. The post may also include performance of other duties such as scientific mentoring

Description of the scientific environment

The Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences is a large department (>450 employees) dedicated to plant, microbial, and environmental sciences ( Further information on the Department is linked at

The post doctoral position is financed by a five year Novo Nordisk Foundation Emerging Investigator 2020 research grant “SunMade – Engineering the eukaryotic algae N. oceanica for sustainable bioproduction” and with the Plant Biochemistry Laboratory as the working place.

The successful applicants will join the newly established research group in Solar bioproduction headed by Assistant professor Johan Andersen-Ranberg.

Project description

Today, an increasing fraction of commercialized bioproducts ranging from therapeutic peptides, enzymes used in household care and food processing to small natural products are produced in genetically engineered organisms. Most often, the production organisms are E. coli or S. cerevisiae thus requiring sugars from an agricultural industry that due to increasing food demands is putting strains on the limited arable land available and global ecology.

In contrast production of bioproducts in algae offers a truly sustainable alternative to current bioproduction hosts. Algae can rely on CO2, sunlight and inorganic nutrients for growth and bioproduction, and thus these organisms have the potential uses on places beyond earth where these resources are available, including Mars.

Nannochloropsis oceanica CCMP1779 (N. oceanica) is a eukaryotic alga that have an untapped potential as a host organism for sustainable bioproduction. To unleash the potential of N. oceanica as a bioproduction host, methods for engineering the genome and optimizing the bioproduction output needs to be developed.

As a Post doc. in the SunMade project you will be pioneering the development of genetic tools for N. oceanica to expand the uses of this organism for bioproduction on Earth and beyond. The project will also include activities using heterologous organisms such as S. cerevisiae and E. coli.

Key scientific qualification areas

Algae biology
Metabolic engineering
Synthetic Biology
Molecular biology
Analytical chemistry
Protein biochemistry
Strong publication record

Key personal skills

Enthusiasm and good interpersonal and communication skills with the ability to collaborate with others including supervision and mentoring of students
Broad curiosity in biological questions and open-mindedness to cross-disciplinary research
Curiosity driven interdisciplinary approach to science and a generous and open mindset
Ability to work independently and manage your research project
Ability to critically review research results generated as part of the project
Engagement in Departmental and Laboratory activities including lab duties, teaching and dissemination of your research
Ensuring GLP and general safety operations

Formal requirements

Applicants should, prior to the start date, hold a PhD degree in synthetic biology, biochemistry, biotechnology, molecular biology, microbial biology, or similar subjects, and should be fluent in both spoken and written English. If you are still a PhD student at the time of the application deadline, please provide a confirmation letter from your supervisor that you are expected to finish in time before the start date of the Post-doctoral position. Previous publications and relevant work experience will be included in the assessment of your qualifications.

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 up to DKK 437.843 including annual supplement (+ pension up to DKK 74.871). Negotiation for salary supplement is possible.

Application Procedure

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

Please include

Cover Letter. State your motivation for applying and describe how your profile contributes to the project. Please also include full contact details (name, address, telephone and e-mail) of 1-3 professional referees (maximum 1 page)
CV (maximum 2 pages)
Diplomas (Master and PhD degree or equivalent)
Research plan – description of current and future research plans (maximum 2 pages)
Complete publication list
Separate reprints of up to 3 particularly relevant papers

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 December 15th , 2020 23:59 GMT +1. Applications received after the deadline for applications will not be considered.

After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the Interview Committee.

The main criterion for selection will be the research potential of the applicant and the above-mentioned skills.

You can read about the recruitment process at


For specific information about the Postdoc fellowship, please contact Post doc. Johan Andersen-Ranberg, e-mail: Section for Plant Biochemistry at the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences.

Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe’s top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation – with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture – creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.

Johan Andersen-Ranberg

Application deadline: 15-12-2020
Employment start: 01-03-2021
Working hours: Full time
Department/Location: Plant Biochemistry

Apply now

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