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PhD Fellowship in Phages in Virulence and Transmission of Antibiotic Resistance

Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences  
Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences  
University of Copenhagen  
Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (IVH), Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at University of Copenhagen is offering a PhD Fellowship in Biology of Antibiotic Resistance to commence on 1 February 2018 or as soon as possible thereafter. The position is limited to three years.  
Information about the Department can be found at  
In the human pathogen, Staphylococcus aureus, bacterial viruses termed bacteriophages (in short phages) carry critical virulence genes enabling for example human colonisation as well as they are central in transfer of antibiotic resistance genes between cells. The aims of this PhD project are to 1) examine the interactions between the humanising phage phi13 and livestock, methicillin resistant S. aureus (MRSA) strains, 2) determine the ability of phi13 and other phages to transfer bacterial genes including antibiotic resistance genes and and characterise the mechanism behind and 3) assess the environmental conditions that allow phage transfer with the ultimate goal of limiting transmission of genes that are critical for staphylococcal infections.  
Phages are viruses that can enhance virulence and transfer mobile genetic elements in bacterial cells. For the human pathogen S. aureus, phages contribute to colonisation of humans and also to the transfer of antibiotic resistance between strains. In this project, the successful candidate will study transfer of the humanising phage phi13 to livestock MRSA strains and examine how transduction and auto-transduction contribute to development of antibiotic resistance. The position will be based at Hanne Ingmer’s group that focuses on studies of antibiotic resistance, alternatives to antibiotics and transfer of resistance genes and it will address the important contributions of phages to biology of S. aureus. As part of Cartnet, an EU funded training network for PhD Students involving students from other disciplines (chemists, biologists), the successful candidate should be prepared for scientific stays and training events at other institutions involved in Cartnet. The overall aim of CARTNET is to train young researchers in Europe to address serious and global problems of antibiotic resistance.
Project description
The candidate will study transduction of bacterial genes by staphylococcal phages and determine which phages are able to transduce and perform autotransduction, a process whereby genes from surrounding cells may be acquired. Further addressed will be the contribution of host and phage factors to the transduction process and how transduction in evolutionary experiments contribute to the acquisition of bacterial genes including antibiotic resistance genes. Lastly the establishment of phages in various S. aureus strains will be investigated including livestock MRSA strains and the role of the phages in the virulence of these strains examined. The project will involve genetic manipulations of S. aureus and its phages and globale analysis of genomes and transcriptomes as well as mutant construction and library screenings.  
Project organisation
The project has a duration of 3 years. The PhD fellow will be associated to the MSCA-ITN-2017 training network CARTNET, and the fellow will be enrolled in the PhD programme Molecular Bacteriology and Infection at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen. We offer the opportunity to work in a state-of-the-art, highly innovative and scientifically stimulating environment with ambitious colleagues, excellent training opportunities, both personally and professionally and the opportunity to contribute with new knowledge to an exciting and fast-moving scientific field.  
Principal supervisor
Professor Hanne Ingmer  
Direct Phone: (+45) 2215 9518  
Required qualifications
  • MSc in a biological science, molecular biology, biotechnology, medicine or other equivalent degree
  • A special interest and competencies within microbiology of human bacterial pathogens and bacteriophages
  • Excellent molecular biology skills
  • High level of motivation, responsibility and flexibility
  • Highly enthusiastic, ambitious and team-oriented personality
  • Excellent communication skills in English (written and oral)
Preferred qualifications
  • Experience with whole genome sequencing and bioinformatics 
General job description
Your key tasks as a PhD fellow at Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences (SUND) are to:  
  • Manage, carry through and conclude your research projects, from experiments to analyses of samples
  • Actively participate in PhD courses
  • Write scientific articles and finalise your PhD thesis
  • Participate in international congresses
  • Conduct research stays and participate in training events at institutions involved in Cartnet
  • Teach and disseminate your research
 We offer
  • A highly important research topic, aiming to address one of the major global challenges to human health
  • A scientific environment with highly dedicated colleagues from wide academic backgrounds
  • An international work atmosphere with a large proportion of non-Danish co-workers
  • A research environment that strives to provide strong impact both in science and on human health
Key criteria for the assessment of candidates
  • The grade point average achieved in relevant university degrees  
  • Professional qualifications relevant to the PhD programme  
  • Previous publications (if any)  
  • Relevant work experience  
  • Other professional activities  
  • Language skills, including English  
  • The successful candidate is also required to be resourceful and to possess good interpersonal skills  
  • At the 1st day of employment, it is required that the candidates have not previously been awarded a PhD (or equivalent) and must be in the first four years of their research careers. Furthermore, the candidates must not have worked or studied in Denmark for more than 12 months in the three years prior to the start of the employment
Formal requirements
The position is available for a 3-year period for applicants holding a relevant master´s degree. The successful candidate will be requested to formally apply for enrolment as a PhD fellow at the Graduate School of Health and Medical Sciences. Employment as a PhD fellow will be conditional on successful enrolment in the PhD programme according to the rules stipulated in “Bekendtgørelse nr. 18 af 14. januar 2008 om ph.d.-graden.“
Terms of employment
Salary and other terms and conditions of appointment are set in accordance with the Agreement between the Ministry of Finance and AC (Danish Confederation of Professional Associations) or other relevant professional organisations. Depending on seniority, the monthly salary begins around DKK 26.073 (approx. 3.499 EUR) plus pension. The position is covered by the Job Structure for Academic Staff at Universities (2013).  
For further information about the position please contact Professor Hanne Ingmer, email For any administrative queries please contact HR Officer Marie-Louise Rosenlund, email
Foreign applicants may find the following link useful: (International Staff Mobility).  
General information about PhD programmes at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences is available on the Graduate School’s website  
Application procedure
The application must be submitted in English, by clicking on “Apply online” below and must include the following:  
  • Cover letter detailing your motivation and background for applying for the specific PhD project
  • CV
  • Diploma and detailed transcripts of records
  • Other information for consideration, e.g. list of publications (if any), peer reviewed and other
  • Personal recommendations (if any)
  • A maximum of 3 relevant scientific works which the applicant wishes to be included in the assessment (if any)
The deadline for applications is 23 December 2017 at 23:59. Any applications received after this time or incomplete will not be considered.
Receipts of the applications will be acknowledged, and the applicant will be kept continuously informed of the progress of the application.
The further process
Shortlist: After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorised recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the Appointment Committee. All applicants are then immediately notified whether their application has been passed for assessment by an expert assessment committee. Selected applicants are notified of the composition of the committee and each applicant has the opportunity to comment on the part of the assessment that relates to the applicant him/herself. You can read about the recruitment process at
Assessment: The selected applications will be assessed according to the Ministerial Order no. 242 of 13 March 2012 on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Universities and the University of Copenhagen’s guidelines 2013. The Assessment Committee makes a non-prioritised assessment of the academic qualifications and experience with respect to the mentioned area of research, techniques, skills and other requirements listed in the advertisement.
Please note that the applicant will be contacted if the assessment committee requires further documentation.
The University of Copenhagen wishes to reflect the diversity of society and welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.
The project is part of the Marie Curie ETN training network (CARTNET) and will involve secondments at other sites involved in the network. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 765147.

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.


Hanne Ingmer


Application deadline: 23-12-2017
Employment start: 01-02-2018
Working hours: Full time
Department/Location: Institut for Veterinær- og Husdyrvidenskab

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