Dept. of Plant and Environmental Sciences invites applicants for PhD fellowships in studies of plant immunity. Start date is Oct. 1, 2022 or as soon as possible thereafter.

The projects
The projects are part of the research project “PlantsGoImmune”, lead by Professor Hans Thordal-Christensen and financed by Novo Nordisk Fonden.

Plants have a highly complex immune system where recognition of pathogens activates signalling cascades to trigger immune responses. Using the powdery mildew fungus, we have uncovered that membrane trafficking processes in the plant cell are essential for building immune structures at the site of invasion. Alternatively, the attacked plant cell can undergo a programmed cell death reaction that stops this pathogen. Meanwhile, pathogens secrete effector proteins that target and counteract these immune responses.

The three projects aim to generate more insight in these processes to allow us to exploit them in sustainable disease control.

Effectors targeting membrane trafficking. We have previously identified powdery mildew fungal effectors interfering with the immunity-associated membrane trafficking and a PhD project has been designed to study this targeting in detail.
Pre-invasive immunity-signalling. An Arabidopsis mutant with resistance to powdery mildew and strong pre-invasive immunity has been identified. A PhD project has been designed for genetic and molecular studies of the signaling cascade behind this immunity.
Multivesicular bodies in disease resistance. Previous studies in the lab have shown that molecular components involved in the formation of multivesicular bodies are required for correct execution of disease resistance. A PhD project has been designed to analyse this phenomenon more closely to uncover how the requirement is manifested.
Who are we looking for?
We are looking for highly dedicated and enthusiastic candidates with interests, insight and experience in the fields of molecular biology, genetics, cell biology and host-microbe interaction. We welcome applicants with background from plant, microbial, animal and human molecular biology, cell biology, genetics, biochemistry etc.

Our group and research – and what do we offer?
In the Dept. of Plant and Environmental Sciences our group of appr. 15 scientists is highly experienced in advanced genetic, molecular and cellular studies of plant immune responses. We have access to advanced infrastructure and equipment required for such studies. We are affiliated in the Dept. of Plant and Environmental Sciences at Frederiksberg Campus of University of Copenhagen together with 500 scientists engaged in related research fields ( Thus, we offer creative and stimulating working conditions in a dynamic and international research environment.

Principal supervisor is Professor Hans Thordal-Christensen,, +45 33353443.

The PhD programme

Formal qualifications needed for the PhD programme
To be eligible for the 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 projects. 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

MSc degree from related programme
Professional qualifications relevant to the PhD project
Relevant publications
Relevant work experience
Other relevant professional activities
Curious mind-set with a strong interest in molecular and cell biology
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:

Motivated letter of application (max. one page)
Your motivation for applying for the specific PhD project/State which PhD project you are applying for
Curriculum vitae including information about your education, experience, language skills and other skills relevant for the position
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.
Publication list (if possible)
Contact information for three reference persons
Application deadline

The deadline for applications is Sunday 28th of August, 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 fulfill 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, and the assessor will conclude whether each applicant is qualified. Next, 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 37 + 38 September 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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