PhD scholarship in Development of multiplex single molecule counting techniques for Alzheimer’s disease diagnostics

DTU Nanotech
Tuesday 21 Mar 17

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Apply no later than 30 April 2017
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Applications are invited from suitably qualified candidates for a position funded by the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (MSCA-ITN) project “BBDiag” within the Horizon 2020 programme of the European Union. The appointment will be on a temporary basis for a maximum period of 3 years (PhD student) with start June or July 2017. The student will be employed as a PhD student at the Dept. Micro and Nanotechnology, Technical University of Denmark (DTU Nanotech.

DTU Nanotech is a research institute at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) and represents a cross-disciplinary research environment where micro- and nanotechnology are applied to a wide range of scientific disciplines, e.g. mechanics, optics, chemistry, medical technologies, and biotechnology.

BBDiag is a four-year project, funded by the European Union Horizon 2020 Programme (H2020-MSCA-ITN-2016) under the MSCA-ITN Grant Agreement No. 721281. The project aim to find a specific, sensitive and minimally invasive diagnostics methods to identify people with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Lack of early diagnostics and early patient enrolment is among the main reasons for many notable clinical trial failures. The main challenges in developing the required diagnostics are identification of AD biomarkers and development of their detection techniques. The complex and interdisciplinary nature of the research underlines the need for innovative training of a new generation of researchers in the field. Fellows will be trained under the Vitae Researcher Development Framework innovatively combined with the BBDiag platform for gaining interdisciplinary scientific and transferable skills as well as personal quality, creative thinking and business mind- set. The PhD student will be part of group of 13 PhD students throughout Europe and will share the education with them.

Responsibilities and tasks
The PhD student will be a member of this multi-disciplinary team and will be responsible for the development of single molecule sensing techniques including

  • Micro-fabrication of clean room substrates for sample partitioning
  • Sandwich immunoassays
  • Multiplexing of assays
  • Testing clinical samples
  • Methods for statistical analysis
The candidate must meet the following requirements:
  • Participate in training events for researchers and Principal Investigators involved in the BBDiag program
  • Reporting to the Supervisors and Project Coordinator, which includes contributing to periodic scientific reports
  • Contributing to the reporting of project milestones and deliverables in accordance with EU deadlines
  • Spend required external research stays (secondments) at the project pre-defined partners of BBDiag; a maximum of 10 months
  • Promoting and disseminating results involved in the program, which includes contributing to newsletters and participating in outreach events
  • Willingness and ability to collaborate in a multidisciplinary team.
Candidates should have a master's degree in engineering (or a similar degree) with a background in nano-bio-technology, nanotechnology or molecular biology.

Relevant scientific background, including one but preferably several of the following:
  • Experience with molecular biology assays such as ELISA or similar
  • Cleanroom experience or other microfabrication
  • Statistics
  • Less than 4 years of full time equivalent research experience and not yet been awarded a doctoral degree (PhD)
  • Resided less than 12 months in Denmark in the 3 years prior to selection
  • Excellent communication and organisation skills
  • Fluent in spoken and written English
  • Flexibility and ability to work in a team environment
  • Availability to travel nationally and internationally two to three times a year
  • Experience with outreach events
  • A keen interest in pursuing pre-clinical research into neurological diseases.

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarships for the PhD degree are subject to academic approval, and the candidates will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes of DTU. For information about the general requirements for enrolment and the general planning of the scholarship studies, please see the DTU PhD Guide.

The assessment of the applicants will be conducted by Assoc. Prof. Martin Dufva from DTU Nanotech, Denmark.

We offer
We offer an interesting and challenging job in an international environment focusing on education, research, scientific advice and innovation, which contribute to enhancing the economy and improving social welfare. We strive for academic excellence, collegial respect and freedom tempered by responsibility. The Technical University of Denmark (DTU) is a leading technical university in northern Europe and benchmarks with the best universities in the world.

Salary and appointment terms
The salary will be in line with the European Commission rules for Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant holders (Early-Stage Researchers, Innovative Training Network). The period of employment is 3 years.

The work will be conducted at DTU Nanotech, Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark, but includes also mandatory external research stays at other partners of the consortium.

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Assoc. Prof. Martin Dufva (+45 51 33 37 53). You can read more about DTU Nanotech

Please submit your online application no later than 30 April 2017. Apply online at

Applications must be submitted as one pdf file. For the application to be considered, all five points listed below must be addressed with all mentioned materials enclosed. 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:
  • A motivation letter describing your research career goals, skills and experience (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma (official translation into English)
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and excel spreadsheet here)
  • Two letters of recommendation

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

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

DTU Nanotech is a department at DTU, dedicated to conduct research, education and innovation within micro- and nanotechnology at the highest international level. Being an active player in close to 100 collaborative research projects of which many includes national and international leading companies and institutions, DTU Nanotech has a high degree of external cooperation, urging our professionalism and our competencies to the forefront.
We promote academic excellence by fostering a team-based scientific environment building on the passion, talent and skills of our international and cross-disciplinary staff. DTU Nanotech has around 220 people on its staff of which 90 are PhD students and with 40 % international employees the department constitutes an international environment.
At DTU Nanotech, we exploit sciences across the traditional boundaries of technology enabling innovative solutions for the benefit of society. Micro- and nanotechnology is applied within the biomedical, life sciences, environment, energy, security, and sensing areas.

DTU is a technical university providing internationally leading research, education, innovation and scientific advice. Our staff of 5,800 advance science and technology to create innovative solutions that meet the demands of society; and our 10,300 students are being educated to address the technological challenges of the future. DTU is an independent academic university collaborating globally with business, industry, government, and public agencies.