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PhD scholarship in Biofuel Cells for Harvesting Energy inside the Gut – DTU Health Tech

Technical University of Denmark (DTU)
Copenhagen, Hovedstaden (DK)
Closing date
19 Mar 2024

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Engineering, Life Science
Job Type
PhD Position
Employment - Hours
Full time
Fixed term
As part of our commitment to the Novo Nordisk Foundation Challenge Grant 'Energy Materials for the Gut (EMGUT)', we seek a motivated PhD student to spearhead research in the field of biofuel cells tailored for the application in ingestible devices. The primary focus of this position will be on harnessing energy from the gastrointestinal tract for various purposes including sensing, drug delivery, and gut sampling. The project entails the fabrication of a biofuel cell system by modifying both anodes and cathodes to optimize biochemical energy harvesting inside the Gut environment.

The successful candidate will explore a diverse range of energy materials, including novel nanocomposites and polymers to enhance energy generation on the cathodic side. Concurrently, innovative approaches involving the immobilization of different microorganisms will be investigated for the anodic component. This interdisciplinary research opportunity offers a stimulating and collaborative environment, fostering creativity and ambition.

The project will be conducted within the IDUN section, under the leadership of Prof. Anja Boisen, at the Department of Health Technology, Technical University of Denmark (DTU). IDUN is a vibrant research section comprising over 40 members, dedicated to advancing micro and nanotechnology-based sensors, detection systems, and drug delivery devices.

Responsibilities and qualifications
As a PhD candidate, you will lead the design, fabrication, and characterization of biofuel cells tailored for energy harvesting within the gastrointestinal tract. Your primary responsibilities will involve fabrication of efficient electrode materials, characterize them and testing these electrodes both individually and in combination, exploring strategies for efficient energy harvesting and storage. Additionally, you will oversee the integration of these electrodes into our ongoing activities such as drug delivery, sensing, and gut sampling.

Working closely with colleagues at DTU Health Tech, you will engage in device characterization and contribute to in vivo experiments utilizing suitable animal models. A strong background in materials science and electrochemistry is essential for this role. Basic knowledge of biology, biotechnology and electronics would be advantageous. We seek candidates who are highly independent, self-motivated, and adept at collaborative work in a multidisciplinary academic setting. The ability to drive projects forward, supervise fellow students, and achieve ambitious research goals is paramount.

This position is embedded within the vibrant framework of IDUN, where our mission is to 'bring science to life'. We uphold values of openness, inclusivity, ambition, impact, and collaboration. In your role, you will actively participate in the drug delivery and sensing research efforts of the section, collaborating with experts from diverse fields including biology, microfabrication, pharmaceutical science, and polymer science. Given the interdisciplinary nature of the project, we anticipate that you thrive in a team-oriented environment and excel at coordinating tasks with your colleagues.

You must have a two-year master's degree (120 ECTS points) or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master's degree.

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see DTU's rules for the PhD education.

The assessment of the applicants will be made by Prof. Anja Boisen, Dr. Santanu Patra and Dr. Gohar Soufi.

We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Salary and appointment terms
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years, and the start date expects to be June 2024.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Prof. Anja Boisen ( ), Dr. Santanu Patra (, and Dr. Gohar Soufi (

You can read more about DTU Health Tech at

If you are applying from abroad, you may find useful information on working in Denmark and at DTU at DTU – Moving to Denmark. Furthermore, you have the option of joining our monthly free seminar “PhD relocation to Denmark and startup “Zoom” seminar” for all questions regarding the practical matters of moving to Denmark and working as a PhD at DTU.

Application procedure
Your complete online application must be submitted no later than 19 March 2024 (23:59 Danish time). Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply now", fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:
  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma (in English) including official description of grading scale
You may apply prior to ob­tai­ning your master's degree but cannot begin before having received it.

Applications received after the deadline will not be considered.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

DTU Health Tech
DTU Health Tech engages in research, education, and innovation base on technical and natural science for the healthcare sector. The Healthcare sector is a globally expanding market with demands for the most advanced technological solutions. DTU Health Tech creates the foundation for companies to develop new and innovative services and products which benefit people and create value for society. DTU Health Tech’s expertise spans from imaging and biosensor techniques, across digital health and biological modelling, to biopharma technologies. The department has a scientific staff of about 210 persons, 140 PhD students and a technical/administrative support staff of about 160 persons, of which a large majority contributes to our research infrastructure and related commercial activities.

Technology for people
DTU develops technology for people. With our international elite research and study programmes, we are helping to create a better world and to solve the global challenges formulated in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Hans Christian Ørsted founded DTU in 1829 with a clear mission to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That mission lives on today. DTU has 13,500 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. DTU has campuses in all parts of Denmark and in Greenland, and we collaborate with the best universities around the world.

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