PhD fellowship in molecule-mineral interactions at GLOBE Institute

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
University of Copenhagen


We are offering a PhD fellowship in molecule-mineral interactions commencing 1st of March 2023 or as soon as possible hereafter.

Our group and research
You will be part of a group where we have an interdisciplinary mix of skills and background. The combined focus of our work is mineral surfaces and interactions with organic matrices in particular DNA, proteins and bacteria. We apply nano- and microscale techniques (atomic force microscopy, Raman and infra-red spectroscopy) combined with bulk level approaches to quantify dynamics of interactions and to understand the parameters driving them. Beside the PI, the group consist of 4 Post docs (1 biomineralogist, 1 archaeologist, 2 geomicrobiologists) and 1 PhD student (archaeologist). Current ongoing projects include biofilm formation on mineral surfaces, horizontal gene transfer experiments, protein and DNA survival on pottery and sediments and preservation mechanisms of DNA in sediments.  For more info on the group, our research and approach to supervision and inclusion:

Project description
The aim of this project is to investigate why minerals can stabilize DNA across space and time and how to utilize that knowledge for the research field of sedimentary ancient DNA. You will be using liquid cell atomic force microscopy in combination with other nano to microlevel and bulk approaches to probe the underlying mechanisms driving DNA preservation and degradation when associated with different mineral surfaces. You will perform in-situ degradation experiments by e.g. introducing enzymes and study the degradation and stability of the DNA-mineral interactions in a range of environmental relevant conditions. You will also probe molecule-mineral binding forces and general adsorption behaviours. You will have the possibility to be involved in protein-mineral stabilization studies and to partake in understanding bacterial preference toward different natural surfaces in relation to understanding biofilm propagation. It will be expected that you have a drive for experimental work and an interest in adsorption dynamics and mechanisms at the nano and molecular level.

Principal supervisor is Associate Professor Karina Krarup Sand, GLOBE Institute,, direct phone: +45 35324111.

Start:                 1st of March 2023

Duration:          3 years as a PhD student

Job description
Your key tasks as a PhD student at SUND are:

  • Carry through an independent research project under supervision
  • Complete PhD courses or other equivalent education corresponding to approx. 30 ECTS points
  • Participate in active research environments including a stay at another research team
  • Obtain experience with teaching or other types of dissemination related to your PhD project
  • Teach and disseminate your knowledge
  • Write a PhD thesis on the grounds of your project

Key criteria for the assessment of applicants
Applicants must have qualifications corresponding to a master’s degree related to the subject area of the project, e.g. geology, geochemistry, biogeochemistry, chemistry, environmental sciences, biology, material science. Please note that your master’s degree must be equivalent to a Danish master’s degree (two years).

For more information on whether your master’s degree is equivalent to a Danish master’s degree please read here.

Other important criteria are:

  • The grade point average achieved
  • Professional qualifications relevant to the PhD project include basic knowledge of (one or more):
    • Interfacial geochemistry
    • Atomic force microscopy
    • Molecular (geo)biology
    • Spectroscopy
    • Experimental experience
  • Topic of previous publications
  • Relevant work experience
  • Other professional activities
  • Curious mind-set with a strong interest in bio-mineral interactions
  • Writing and communication skills
  • Team player

Place of employment
The place of employment is at Globe Institute, Section for GeoGenetics, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. We offer creative and stimulating working conditions in a dynamic and international research environment. The Sections research facilities include modern laboratories for gene extractions, sequencing, and general wet chemistry. The group host a state-of-the-art atomic force microscope and access to fluorescent microscopes and microbiologic labs.

Terms of employment
The employment as PhD fellow is a full time (37 working hours a week) fixed-term position for 3 years. The starting date is 1 March 2023 or as soon as possible hereafter.

It is conditioned upon the applicant’s success­ful enrolment as a PhD student at the Graduate School at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen. This requires submission and acceptance of an application for the specific project formulated by the applicant prior do the start date.

The PhD study must be completed in accordance with The Ministerial Order on the PhD programme (2013) and the Faculty’s rules on achieving the degree.

Salary, pension and terms of employment are in accordance with the agree­ment between the Ministry of Taxation and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State. Depending on seniority, the monthly salary starts at approximately 28,300 DKK/Roughly 3,800 EUR (April 2022 level) plus pension.

The position is covered by the ‘Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff at the Universities of December 11, 2019.

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

General information about PhD study at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences is available at the Graduate School’s website:

Application procedure
Your application may be submitted electronically by clicking ‘Apply now’ below. The application must include the following documents in PDF format: 

1. Motivated letter of application (max. one page)

2. CV incl. education, experience, language skills and other skills relevant for the position

3. Certified copy of original Master of Science diploma and transcript of records in the original language, including an authorized English translation if issued in other 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. As a prerequisite for a PhD fellowship employment, your master’s degree must be equivalent to a Danish master’s degree. We encourage you to read more in the assessment database: Please note that we might ask you to obtain an assessment of your education performed by the Ministry of Higher Education and Science

4. Publication list (if possible)

Application deadline: 15 November 2022, 23.59pm CET

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 the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the hiring committee. All applicants are then immediately notified whether their application has been passed for assessment by an unbiased assessor.

The assessor makes a non-prioritized assessment of the academic qualifications and experience with respect to the above-mentioned area of research, techniques, skills and other requirements listed in the advertisement.

Once the assessment work has been completed each applicant has the opportunity to comment on the part of the assessment that relates to the applicant him/herself.

You find information about the recruitment process at:

The applicants will be assessed according to the Ministerial Order no. 242 of 13 March 2012 on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Universities.


The University of Copenhagen wish to reflect the diversity of society and encourage all qualified candidates to apply regardless of personal background. 


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.


Karina Krarup Svenninggaard Sand


Application deadline: 15-11-2022
Employment start: 01-03-2023
Working hours: Full time
Department/Location: Globe Institute
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