Technical University of Denmark (DTU)

PhD scholarship Physico-Chemical Studies of Peptide and Protein Self-Assembly

Technical University of Denmark (DTU)

2800 Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark

General information
The newly established research group of Prof. Alexander K. Buell (start April 2019) at DTU Bioengineering is recruiting a PhD student, to start as soon as possible. Our research group is situated in newly refurbished, spacious laboratory facilities within the section of Protein Chemistry and Enzyme Technology, where world-leading expertise in protein chemistry and structural biology is concentrated. Our laboratory performs cutting edge experimental research in the study and engineering of protein and peptide self-assembly and aggregation. The applied experimental methods include protein engineering as well as various spectroscopy, scattering, biosensing and microfluidics techniques and we work on a wide variety of molecular systems, from simple model peptides to disease-related proteins. The overall aim of our research is to achieve a profound mechanistic understanding of protein and peptide assembly into ordered (fibrillar, crystalline) and disorderd (amorphous, liquid droplet) condensed phases and of the physico-chemical factors that drive it. The motivation behind our research is to enable rational control of such assembly processes in the context of human disorders, protein biotechnology as well as in the creation of novel types of functional biomaterials.

Research project
The self-assembly of peptides into different types of ordered (fibrillar, crystalline) and disordered assemblies can be associated with both biological function and malfunction. In this project the successful candidate will study sequences involved in both of these scenarios with the aim to obtain a quantitative understanding of the differences in physico-chemical parameters (driving forces for assembly, reversibility, mechanisms of assembly) between functional and deleterious self-assembling peptides. The successful candidate will apply a wide range of experimental methods, most notably biosensing, microfluidics and biophysical techniques, such as different types of scattering and spectroscopy. Furthermore, the candidate will also use available high-resolution structural information on the final peptide assemblies to rationalise and design interesting and relevant properties of peptide assemblies.

Responsibilities and tasks
The successful candidate will establish and apply the workflow of biophysical characterisation of peptide assembly, with particular focus on the application and development of microfluidic methods. Furthermore, the successful candidate will employ computational tools to analyse data and will use available high resolution structures to rationalise the experimental data.

The successful candidate will also take on responsibilities for instrument maintenance, supervision of undergraduate and Master’s projects and the general functioning and running of the research group.

Candidates should 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 in either Chemistry, Biochemistry, Biophysics, Biotechnology or a related field, and should ideally have carried out an experimental Master’s thesis, where he/she has gained experience with handling peptides or proteins. Experience in microfluidic device design and operation is an advantage, but not an absolute requirement. Excellent candidates with theoretical/computational research experience can also be considered and general experience with programming and/or molecular modelling is an advantage.

The successful candidate should in addition:

  • Be interested in the quantitative study of biomolecular systems in vitro
  • Have an excellent academic track record and be highly motivated to work on a challenging research project
  • Feel comfortable in an interdisciplinary research environment
  • Thrive in a collaborative environment of mutual support and encouragement

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 the DTU PhD Guide.

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.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Prof. Alexander K. Buell (


You can read more about the Department of Bioengineering at DTU at:

Application procedure
Please submit your online application no later than 31 March 2020 (23:59 local time).

Apply at

To apply, please open the link “Apply online”, fill out the online application form. The following must be attached in English:
  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here)
  • Names and contact details of 2 academic referees

Candidates may apply prior to ob­tai­ning their master’s degree but cannot begin before having received it.

Applications and enclosures 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.

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 vision to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That vision lives on today. DTU has 11,500 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. Our main campus is in Kgs. Lyngby north of Copenhagen and we have campuses in Roskilde and Ballerup and in Sisimiut in Greenland.

Please apply via recruiter’s website.