Postdoctoral Fellowship in Molecular Microbial Ecology

Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen

This Postdoc position is associated with a fully funded project Catch me if you conjugate !” awarded by the Vellux Foundation. The aim of the project is to develop and deploy an innovative method to recover microbial cell harboring plasmid directly from the environment without relying on cultivation or selective markers.

While plasmids are notoriously important in microbial ecology, bacterial adaptation and public health as vectors of antibiotic resistance, our current knowledge of the environmental plasmid and plasmid hosts pool is limited. This is due first because of the strong and understandable focus put on human and animal pathogens but also because of limited innovation on plasmid isolation methods. In this project, we will use immuno-targeting of the secreted conjugation machinery of different plasmid class, followed by flow-cytometry cell sorting and state-of-the-art sequencing methodologies.

The project will blend together a highly diverse set of methods and techniques, both in the wet-lab and in silico. Specifically, we will use in silico design of antibodies targeting plasmid-specific epitopes; protein production and purification; fluorescence activated cell-sorting; high-throughput and long-reads sequencing using latest available platforms; complete closed microbial genome assembly and plasmid-host linkage at high-throughput.

The Postdoc position is for 2 years and will be based at Section of Microbiology, Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. All equipments required for the envisaged project, such as flow-cytometry, high-throuput and long-reads sequencing platform are already routinely used at the Section. The project will be conducted in the lab of Prof Søren J. Sørensen who pioneered several innovative methods to study environmental plasmid biology. 

The postdoc’s duties will include research as well as teaching. The post may also include performing other duties. Innovative ideas to reach the project objectives will be always welcomed and encouraged. 

The position is open from September 1st 2021 or as soon as possible thereafter.


We are a multicultural and multidisciplinary research team looking for a highly motivated, independent and ambitious researcher with an outstanding record of independent research in environmental microbiology and plasmid biology able to work as a teamplayer as well as independently, with an open communication style and a problem-solving attitude.

Applicants should have the following qualifications:

  • PhD in Molecular Microbiology, Microbial Genetics, Biotechnology -- or equivalent.
  • Strong molecular microbiology and bacterial genetics background, with considerable experience working with bacterial culturing and state-of-the-art genetic manipulation techniques.
  • Basic bioinformatic skills (advanced skills are desired but not a requirement).
  • Experience with in-silico design of epitopes specific antibodies.
  • Previous experience with next-generation sequencing workflows, flow cytometry, and design of FACS analyses of bacterial communities will be considered an advantage.
  • Knowledge and research experience in structural biology and heterologous host protein production is highly desired.
  • Proficiency in English; excellent communication skills (written and spoken) is mandatory.
  • Experience teaching (BSc- and MSc-level courses) and mentoring students in the lab.
  • A publication record in relation to career stage.

Main tasks of the appointed applicant

  • In-silico design and testing of conjugative plasmid specific antibodies.
  • Development of high-throughput methodology for targeting and isolation of conjugative plasmids in from environmental matrices: soil, wastewater, freshwater.
  • Results dissemination at international conferences and peer-reviewed publications. 


The application must contain:

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 salary is currently up to DKK 436.730 including annual supplement (+ pension up to DKK 74.681). Negotiation for salary supplement is possible. 

The application, in English, must be submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below. 

The University of Copenhagen wishes our staff to reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background. 

The deadline for the application is June 13st 2021, 23:59 GMT +1. 

Applications received after the deadline, or with insufficient documentation or otherwise not complying with the above requirements, may 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.

You can read about the recruitment process at 

If you consider applying from abroad, you may find useful information on how it is to work in Denmark and at UCPH in this links:, and


Further information on the Department is linked at







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.


Application deadline: 13-06-2021
Employment start: 01-09-2021
Working hours: Full time
Department/Location: Department of Biology

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