The Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Section for Plant Biochemistry, invites applicants for a PhD fellowship in detoxification pathways against Fusarium toxins in oat. The project is part of the research project “CerealGSTs”, which is financed by the Novo Nordisk Foundation.

Start date is (expected to be) September 1st 2022 or as soon as possible thereafter.

The project
In the CerealGSTs project we aim to identify new pathways for detoxification of the mycotoxins released by Fusarium funghi as virulence factors during infection of small grain cereals. The PhD-project involves infection of oat with Fusarium to perform a biochemical characterization of the interaction using chemical analysis, mainly LC-MS, and enzyme assays, as well as identification of candidate genes for the putative pathways using bioinformatics and transcriptomics.

The research group, scientific environment and ressources
The project is carried out in the research group for Plant Metabolic Plasticity (PMP), located at the Faculty of SCIENCE, University of Copenhagen, at Frederiksberg Campus in Copenhagen. We are embedded in the Section for Plant Biochemistry that consists of eight research groups that mainly work with the biochemistry, physiology, ecology and biotechnology of plant specialized metabolism. We host a metabolomics platform with several state-of-the-art instruments for GC- and LC-MS analyses, and in the PMP research group we furthermore collaborate with external partners on Mass Spectrometry Imaging, used to study the cell- and tissue-resolved distribution of small molecules in plant tissues. Our science relies on the chemical analysis of metabolites to study their abundance in plants, enzyme activities and to discover new metabolites in the biochemical pathways we focus on. Beyond technologies, our main research focus is the mysterious enzyme class glutathione transferases, which are also the focus enzymes in the CerealGSTs project and this advertised PhD-project. The Department for Plant and Environmental Sciences offer state-of-the-art growth facilities, bio-imaging facilities and many other infrastructures.

We offer creative and stimulating working conditions in a dynamic and international research environment characterized by knowledge sharing through research group meetings and internal and external seminars with peers. The PhD-students and postdocs of the Plant Biochemistry Section are organized in a network that organize events e.g. aimed at career development etc.

The principal supervisor of the PhS-project is Associate Professor Nanna Bjarnholt, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences,, +4535331136

Who are we looking for?
We are looking for candidates within the field(s) of plant science or plant pathology, preferably with experience with and/or a keen interest in acquiring skills within the areas of analytical chemistry, biochemistry and bioinformatics. Applicants should hold a MSc degree in biochemistry, biotechnology, molecular biology, plant biology, plant pathology, analytical chemistry or equivalent areas, and should be fluent in both spoken and written English.

The PhD programme

The position is to follow the PhD programme as a three year full-time study within the framework of the regular PhD programme (5+3 scheme).

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) related to the subject area of the project, as outlined above. 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.

Terms of appointment and payment accord to the agreement between the Danish Ministry of Taxation and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State. The position is covered by the Protocol on Job Structure.

Responsibilities and tasks in the PhD programme

  • Carry through an independent research project under supervision 
  • Complete PhD courses corresponding to approx. 30 ECTS / ½ FTE
  • Participate in active research environments, including a stay at another research institution, preferably abroad
  • Teaching and knowledge dissemination activities
  • Write scientific papers aimed at high-impact journals
  • Write and defend a PhD thesis on the basis of your project

We are looking for the following qualifications:

  • Professional qualifications relevant to the PhD project
  • Relevant publications
  • Relevant work experience
  • Other relevant professional activities
  • Curious mind-set with a strong interest in plant science, plant pathology and biochemistry
  • Good language skills

Application and Assessment Procedure

 Your application including all attachments must be in English and submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.

Please include

  1. Motivated letter of application (max. one page)
  2. Your motivation for applying for the specific PhD project
  3. Curriculum vitae including information about your education, experience, language skills and other skills relevant for the position
  4. Original diplomas for Bachelor of Science or Master of Science and transcript of records in the original language, including an authorized English translation if issued in another language than English or Danish. If not completed, a certified/signed copy of a recent transcript of records or a written statement from the institution or supervisor is accepted.
  5. Publication list (if possible)
  6. Reference letters (if available)

Application deadline:

The deadline for applications is Sunday 17.07.2022, 23:59 GMT+2

We reserve the right not to consider material received after the deadline, and not to consider applications that do not live up to the abovementioned requirements.

The further process
After deadline, a number of applicants will be selected for academic assessment by an unbiased expert assessor. You are notified, whether you will be passed for assessment.

The assessor will assess the qualifications and experience of the shortlisted applicants with respect to the above mentioned research area, techniques, skills and other requirements. The assessor will conclude whether each applicant is qualified and, if so, for which of the two models. The assessed applicants will have the opportunity to comment on their assessment. You can read about the recruitment process at

Interviews with selected candidates are expected to be held in week 31 + 32 August 2022. 

For specific information about the PhD fellowship, please contact the principal supervisor.

General information about PhD study at the Faculty of SCIENCE is available at the PhD School’s website:

The University of Copenhagen wishes to reflect the surrounding community and invites all regardless of personal background to apply for the position. 


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