PhD positions

Doctoral student in applied microbiology: Sweden

The Division of Applied Microbiology is a part of the Department of Chemistry. The research conducted focuses on industrially relevant subjects such as microbial production of biofuels and biochemicals, probiotics and food safety to more general research topics such as whole-cell biocatalysis, drinking water biofilms and DNA analysis involving next generation sequencing and pre-PCR processing strategies. The Division of Applied Microbiology has been granted funding from the Swedish Research Council, the Swedish Research Council for Sustainable Development and the Swedish Energy Agency to work on the understanding and engineering of key microbial cell factories.

Project description

The implementation of commercial biofuel production from lignocellulose requires a fermentation process where all sugars are efficiently converted by yeast. Although major bottlenecks for xylose fermentation are identified and corresponding solutions implemented, xylose is fermented at a much lower rate than glucose, which directly impacts the process economy. The project, performed at Lund University aims at improving ethanol yield and productivity by (i) establishing new methods for on line flow cytometry monitoring the physiological state of industrial yeast populations during real process conditions, (ii) use these methods to identify and/or modify pre-cultivation conditions to generate fitter yeast pre-cultures, (iii) improve the feeding strategy in mixed sugar fermentations and (iv) identify genetic targets in yeast for increased fitness and efficiency under process conditions.

Work duties

The main duties of doctoral students are to devote themselves to their research studies which includes participating in research projects and third cycle courses. The work duties will also include teaching and other departmental duties (no more than 20%).

Admission requirements
A person meets the general admission requirements for third-cycle courses and study programmes if he or she:

  • has been awarded a second-cycle qualification, orhas satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits of which at least 60 credits were awarded in the second cycle, orhas acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad.A person meets the specific admission requirements if he or she has:
  • at least 30 credits in the subject (bioscience), of which at least 15 credits from the second cycle and a specialised project of at least 15 second-cycle credits in the subject, or an MSc in Engineering, other Master’s degree orother comparable degree including applied bioscience (such as Biotechnology, Microbiology, Chemical engineering, or similar)Finally it is required that the student has the abilities required to manage the education.

Additional requirements:

  • Excellent oral and written proficiency in English.

Assessment criteria

  • Selection for third-cycle studies is based on the student’s potential to profit from such studies. The assessment of potential is made primarily on the basis of academic results from the first and second cycle. Special attention is paid to the following:
  • Knowledge and skills relevant to the thesis project and the subject of study. An assessment of ability to work independently and to formulate and tackle research problems.Written and oral communication skills.Other experience relevant to the third-cycle studies, e.g. professional experience.

Other assessment criteria:

  • Practical experience of fermentation technology, metabolic engineering and modeling. Practical experience of analytical techniques with relevance to the project (including flow cytometry, microscopy, HPLC, LC-MS, and PCR.Skills in programming and data analysis software (e.g. Excel and Matlab). Consideration will also be given to good collaborative skills, drive and independence, and how the applicant, through his or her experience and skills, is deemed to have the abilities necessary for successfully completing the third cycle programme.
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