PhD fellow in Plant Molecular Biology and in Plant Membrane Biochemistry

Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science at University of Copenhagen is offering two PhD scholarships in Plant Molecular Biology and in Plant Membrane Biochemistry, respectively, commencing 01.01.2021 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Description of the scientific environment

The Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences is among the largest Departments at the University of Copenhagen. The focus is on plants, microorganisms, animals and the environment as a basis for sustainable production of food and other biological products. Research and teaching cover natural resources, agriculture, biotechnology and synthetic biology from the molecular level to the ecosystem scale. The candidates will be based in the lab of Prof. Michael Palmgren, Section of Transport Biology.  The traditional focus of the research group has been of P-type ATPases, a large family of ubiquitous primary active transport proteins, which in plants are involved in nutrient uptake and reallocation, signal transduction, and secretion processes. The function and regulation in plants by a plethora of methods going from molecular biology and membrane biochemistry to cell biology and whole plant physiology have been studied. The research group has recently become interested in accelerating breeding of orphan crops and wild plants for a future agriculture that is sustainable and climate-friendly.

Project description
Nine plant species provide almost all the world’s food intake, and all are refined. By comparison, there are about 380,000 wild plant species. Nature therefore offers us huge genetic variation that we do not exploit today. Instead of trying to make highly domesticated plants more robust, our research addresses how to harness the hardiness of wild plants as a starting-point to make crops that are resilient to diseases, nutrient shortage and extreme weather events. Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) is a nutritious minor crop that tolerates drought and salinity better than most other crops. Although quinoa has yet to reach its potential as a fully domesticated crop, breeding efforts to improve the plant have been limited. Molecular and genetic techniques combined with traditional breeding are likely to change this picture. We work to decipher the molecular mechanisms underlying water stress tolerance in plants, and generate a knowledge base and procedure for breeding of this and other drought-tolerant crops.

Principal supervisor is Professor Michael Palmgren,

Job description

The position is available for a 3-year period and your key tasks as a PhD student at SCIENCE are:

  • To manage and carry through your research project
  • Attend PhD courses
  • Write scientific articles and your PhD thesis
  • Teach and disseminate your research
  • To stay at an external research institution for a few months, preferably abroad

Formal requirements
Applicants should hold an MSc degree in Biology-Biotechnology, Biology, Biochemistry Molecular Biology or a closely related field with excellent results and good English skills. As criteria for the assessment of your qualifications, emphasis will also be laid on previous publications (if any) and relevant work experience.

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 at a minimum DKK 331,125 (approx. €43,750) including annual supplement (+ pension at a minimum DKK 53,811). 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, stating which PhD project you are applying for and detailing your motivation and background for applying for the specific PhD project.
  • CV
  • Diploma and transcripts of records (BSc and MSc)
  • Acceptance Letter for the relevant MSc Programme at SCIENCE, if any
  • Other information for consideration, e.g. list of publications (if any)
  • 1-3 reference letters (if any)

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 31.10.2020, 23:59 GMT +2.

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. The successful candidate will then be requested to formally apply for enrolment as a PhD student at the PhD school of Science. You can read more about the recruitment process at


For specific information about the PhD scholarship, please contact the principal supervisor prof. Michael Palmgren,

General information about PhD programmes at SCIENCE is available 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.


Rosa Laura Lopez Marques


Application deadline: 31-10-2020
Employment start: 01-01-2021
Working hours: Full time
Department/Location: Section of Transport Biology
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