Technical University of Denmark (DTU)

PhD students in Next-generation Snakebite Antivenoms

Technical University of Denmark (DTU)

2800 Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark

We are looking for 2 PhD students for two 3-year positions within the field of antibody technologies from the 1st of December 2019. The positions are part of a strategic PhD program focused on the development of recombinant antivenoms against Australian snake and spider bites. This program is a collaboration between the Technical University of Denmark and the University of Queensland in Australia.

Scientific field

Snakebite envenoming is a Neglected Tropical Disease that each year claims 150,000 lives and maims another 400,000 victims for life. Existing treatments based on polyclonal antibodies derived from the blood of immunized animals are scarce and have a number of drawbacks, including high cost and propensity to elicit adverse reactions due to their immunogenic disposition. Scientific and technological advancement is highly warranted and may enable the introduction of improved therapies for snakebite victims living in impoverished rural areas worldwide!

In this strategic PhD program, we are championing the development of recombinant antivenoms based on mixtures of carefully selected human monoclonal antibodies with the purpose of bringing efficacious, safe, and affordable next-generation snakebite therapeutics to life. To pursue this goal, we utilize advanced antibody discovery technologies for designing antibodies with special binding properties, such as being broadly-neutralizing, being directed to distinct anatomic sites, and/or being possible to administer at exceptionally low dose. Additionally, this program has a strong research component focused on the development of isogenic CHO cell lines for oligoclonal expression of recombinant antibodies, which has the potential to deliver cost-effective biomanufacturing technology for recombinant antivenoms to the market.

Responsibilities and tasks

The first PhD position focuses on developing human monoclonal antibodies with special binding properties for effective toxin neutralization using phage display technology. This position will be anchored mainly in the Tropical Pharmacology Lab (see further below).

The second PhD position will be focused on developing of isogenic CHO cell lines for oligoclonal expression of recombinant antibodies. This position will be anchored mainly in the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability (see further below).

The role of the candidates will primarily be to perform experiments in the laboratory, data analysis, and scientific publication, as well as to take 30 ECTS points of relevant PhD courses as required in Danish PhD programs.

Both candidates are expected to have a secondment for at least 6 months at the University of Queensland in Australia in the laboratories headed by Bryan Fry, Glenn King, or Trent Munro’s Lab, respectively.


Applicants should hold a 2-year M.Sc. degree (120 ECTS) in a relevant life sciences discipline, have excellent communication skills, and be trained in either antibody discovery techniques, protein biochemistry, protein engineering, protein expression, or molecular/synthetic biology. In our research groups, we highly value collaboration, and it will be expected that the candidate can demonstrate that he/she has a track record for successfully collaborating with his/her peers.

It is beneficial (but not mandatory) if the applicant has experience with one or more of the following techniques:

  • Phage display technology
  • Surface Plasmon Resonance
  • High-density peptide microarray design and analysis
  • Mammalian cell cultivation
  • Isothermal Titration Calorimetry
  • Toxin isolation and purification
  • Recombinant protein expression and purification

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 programs at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study program, 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.

The Tropical Pharmacology Lab

The research group, the Tropical Pharmacology Lab (TPL) is headed by Associate Professor Andreas Hougaard Laustsen and is based in the section for Protein Science & Biotherapeutics at the Department of Biotechnology and Biomedicine. In TPL, we are a group of high performing younger scientists that share the vision that science is supposed to benefit humankind, especially underprivileged societies and/or societal groups. This shared vision with a very international outreach has created an academic environment that is ambitious and innovative fueled by an exceptionally collegially supportive attitude to both people and their work. We welcome people with all types of backgrounds and strive for diversity. Our research group is highly active in numerous outreach activities and our international travel agendas are typically busy. Finally, group members typically have an entrepreneurial attitude, resulting in the establishment of a number of spin-out biotech companies by group members.

See more:

Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability

The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability (CFB) is an international research center of excellence developing next generation cell factories and bioprocesses for sustainable production of high-value chemical compounds as well as protein-based products. The center uses advanced metabolic engineering techniques and computational biology ensuring efficient and cost-effective design and construction processes. This position will be based in the CFB mammalian cell engineering program, which provides world-leading expertise in mammalian cell precision engineering and a fermentation.

Center activities are a balanced mix of basic and translational research, complemented by an emphasis on business development to facilitate commercialization of new cell factories and associated technologies. The Center offers state-of-the-art research facilities in the recently opened, custom-designed DTU Biosustain building at the DTU Lyngby Campus. The centre assembles world leaders in the field thus offering a unique platform providing excellent talent development and career opportunities.

You can read more about The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability on

Salary and terms of employment
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 positions are for 3 years.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.

The positions will be located at the DTU Lyngby campus at the Department of Biotechnology and Biomedicine and the NNF Center for Biosustainability in newly established research buildings hosting ultra-modern laboratories for antibody discovery and phage display technology, state-of-the-art facilities for protein science and proteomics, and mammalian cell engineering and cultivation.

Further Information

Additional information may be obtained from Assoc. Prof. Andreas Hougard Laustsen,, and Professor Lars Keld Nielsen,

Application procedure

Please submit your online application no later than 15 October 2019. Apply at

Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link “Apply online,” fill in the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

  • Application (cover letter)
  • CV
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here)
  • List of publications
  • Names and contact details of 2 academic referees

Applications and enclosures received after the deadline will not be considered.

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

DTU is a technical university providing internationally leading research, education, innovation and scientific advice. Our staff of 6,000 advance science and technology to create innovative solutions that meet the demands of society, and our 11,200 students are being educated to address the technological challenges of the future. DTU is an independent university collaborating globally with business, industry, government and public agencies.

Please apply via recruiter’s website.