The Glycobiology Section at The Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences (PLEN) invites applicants for two PhD fellowships in lipid and protein research to address important questions in cell wall biology. Start date is (expected to be) 1 May 2023 or as soon as possible thereafter.

The project
All plant cells produce a polysaccharide-rich exocellular skeleton, called cell walls. The chief component of these walls is cellulose, a glucan-based polymer that is the load-bearing structure of the walls. Cellulose is crucial to plants as it controls their morphology and supports plant stature. In addition, cellulose is an important raw material for the paper, textile and lumber industries. Knowledge of how cellulose is synthesized, and how the process is regulated, is thus of great relevance both for fundamental plant biology and for applied research.

The projects aim to address how cell wall, and cellulose, is regulated in the context of lipid membranes and protein interactions. The successful candidates will use a range of molecular, microscopic and physiological techniques to address these questions, including exciting new types of protein proximity labelling and localized lipid perturbation techniques.

The outcomes of the project will provide key insights into how plants produce cellulose and therefore how the synthesis of Earth’s most abundant biopolymer is controlled.

Who are we looking for?
We are looking for candidates within the field(s) of molecular & cell biology, biochemistry and physiology. Cloning experience will be a plus. Previous experience with proximity labelling techniques, protein mass spectrometry data, and different types of microscopy will also be advantageous.

Applicants should hold an MSc degree, or equivalent, in any area of Molecular & Cell biology, or related fields, with good results and good English skills. As criteria for the assessment of your qualifications, emphasis will also be laid on previous publications (if any), relevant work experience, reference letters and interviews.

Our group and research- and what do we offer?
The group is a part of PLEN, Faculty of SCIENCE, University of Copenhagen. The successful candidate will be part of a highly cross-disciplinary and exciting team that includes the full range of microscopy, proteomics, glycomics, biochemistry and molecular biology. Indeed, the group currently holds around 20 people with a wide variety of backgrounds and nationalities.

This will ensure that you will receive a broad but cutting-edge experience that will build a solid foundation for your future scientific career. Together, we will generate an exciting environment to understand mechanisms that underpin cell wall synthesis in plants.

Principal supervisor is Professor Staffan Persson, PLEN (email: with Dr’s. Lise Noack and/or Shuai Zheng, PLEN (email: & ) as co-supervisors.

The PhD programme
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, e.g. Plant Science. For information of eligibility of completed programmes.

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.

Responsibilities and tasks

  • 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 biology and how plants allocate their carbon resources
  • 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. Motivation letter of application (max. one page)
  2. Project proposal, i.e. how would you tackle an important question in cell wall biology. Write a research project of max one page.
  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 / 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 any)
  6. Reference letters (if available), or contact details for references

Application deadline:

The deadline for applications is 18 December  2022 , 23:59 GMT +1.

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.

Interviews with selected candidates are expected to be held in early 2023

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

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

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.


Staffan Persson



Application deadline: 18-12-2022

Employment start: 01-05-2023

Working hours: Full time

Department/Location: Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences

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