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Postdoctoral Research Fellow - Synthetic Biology for the production of high-value terpenoids in yeast

We are seeking a highly motivated, creative and independent postdoctoral scientist to work on the development of innovative approaches for the production of high-value compounds in engineered yeast. The successful candidate will join a vibrant international research environment and will be integrated at the research groups of Associate Professor Sotirios Kampranis ( and Professor Søren Bak ( at the Section of Plant Biochemistry, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences.  
The Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences (PLEN) offers a highly ambitious, stimulating, and international research environment, with infrastructure that includes a state-of-the-art Metabolomics Platform, Bio imaging as well as modern Plant Grown Facilities. The vision of the section for Plant Biochemistry is to be a world-leading and highly attractive research environment for scientists, students and industrial partners. The mission is to produce cutting-edge scientific knowledge; to deliver excellent research-based education and training; and to encourage entrepreneurship and industrial collaboration.  
The research groups headed by Sotirios Kampranis ( and Søren Bak ( are working in the interface between plant specialized metabolism and biotechnology and offer a unique environment for interdisciplinary research in an ambitious research setting. 
The position is for 24 months with the possibility of extension and is funded by a grant from the Novo Nordisk Foundation. Commencement will be 1 April 2019 or as soon as possible thereafter.  
Terpenoids are the largest class of plant specialized metabolites with numerous industrial applications as pharmaceuticals, fragrances, flavours and colourants. The incoming scientist will focus on establishing yeast production systems for the high-value anti-cancer diterpenoid taxol and the anti-obesity agent celastrol. The research work will focus on elucidating the missing steps of the two pathways and on combinatorial biosynthesis for the production of libraries of structurally related compounds.  
Skills and experience required or highly desired for the position: 
  • Postgraduate experience in a related research area (e.g. metabolic engineering, enzymology, biochemistry, molecular biology).  
  • Broad curiosity in biological questions and open-mindedness to cross-disciplinary research.  
  • Knowledge of specialized metabolism with special focus on terpenoids  
  • Theoretical and hands-on expertise in molecular biology and biochemistry, particularly in pathway characterization and heterologous expression.  
  • Enthusiasm and good interpersonal and communication skills with the ability to work and collaborate with others, including the supervision and mentoring of postgraduate students.  
  • Ability to work independently and see projects through to completion.  
  • Strong scientific writing skills and publication record.  
Formal requirement 
Applicants should be fluent in both spoken and written English.  
Terms of employment  
The position is covered by the Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff.  
Terms of appointment and payment accord to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State.  
The starting annual salary is currently at a minimum DKK 405,203 including annual supplement (+ 17.1% pension). Negotiation for salary supplement is possible. 
Application Procedure 
The application, in English, must be submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.  
Please include:  
  • Cover Letter. Please state your motivation and describe how your background contributes to the project. Please also include full contact details (name, address, telephone & email) of 1-3 professional referees (Maximum 2 pages including list of referees).  
  • CV and list of publications. 
  • Diploma and transcripts for BSc, MSc and PhD degrees.  
  • Other information for consideration.  
The University wishes our staff to reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background. 
The deadline for applications is 27 January 2019 at 23:59 GMT +1. Applications received after the deadline for applications will not be considered.  
After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the Interview Committee. Afterwards an assessment committee will be appointed to evaluate the selected applications. The applicants will be notified of the composition of the committee and the final selection of a successful candidate will be made by the Head of Department, based on the recommendations of the assessment committee and the interview committee. The main criterion for selection will be the research potential of the applicant and the above mentioned skills.  
For more information contact Associate Professor Sotirios Kampranis ( or Professor Søren Bak (  

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.


Sotirios Kampranis


Søren Bak


Application deadline: 27-01-2019
Employment start: 01-04-2019
Working hours: Full time
Department/Location: Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences

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