PhD Position in Systems and Network Biology

Trondheim, Norway
02 Apr 2019
End of advertisement period
15 May 2019
Contract Type
Full Time

About the position

We have a vacancy for 2 PhD positions in Sysems and Network Biology. One position is financed by the ERA-CoBioTech program, and the other by the Research Council of Norway through the Biotek2021 Digital Life program. Both appointments have a duration of 3 years, with the possibility of up to a one-year extension.

Constraint-based analysis of genome-scale metabolic networks has become a central method in many systems biology investigations. In contrast to kinetic models, which are traditionally formulated in terms of differential equations, constraint-based approaches are based on linear or non-linear programming where the constraints are a mixture of physio-chemical and biological in origin. The solid mathematical foundation of the methodology makes it possible to conduct in-depth analyses of a variety of properties, and the mathematical flexibility naturally allows the inclusion of a wide variety of omics data. Constraints-based methods can be used to emulate optimal and sub-optimal cellular utilization of metabolic networks for a wide variety of nutrient and environmental conditions. Important insights into the organization and function of whole-cell metabolic networks have been gained through the recent use of constraint-based optimization approaches. The Almaas Lab ( has been working actively in this field for more than 15 years.

The position reports to Professor Eivind Almaas.

Job description

ERA-CoBioTech project "CoolWine - Model-guided evolution for balanced attenuation of wine ethanol content by developing non-GMO yeast strains and communities"

Increasing temperature in the European wine producing regions is having a negative impact on this key sector. Climate change results in a lack of balance between technological and phenolic ripening of wine grapes and, as a consequence, alcohol increase in wines. This trend is of great concern for the European wine industry because it has a negative impact on wine quality, becomes a hurdle for international trade, and jeopardizes compatibility of moderate wine consumption with a healthy lifestyle. In this project, we will use model-guided computational analysis based on genome-scale metabolic modeling in combination with adaptive laboratory evolution to develop GMO-free yeasts that will produce wine with reduced alcohol content. The candidate will be part of an international interdisciplinary team consisting of partners in Sweden, Germany and Spain.

Digital Life project "BEDPAN - Bio-engineered Palladium Nanoparticles"

Palladium nanoparticles (Pd NPs) have a wide range of applications in catalysis, sensors, fuel cells, antimicrobial textile coatings and have been used in various nanomedical applications. Pd NPs are currently produced by conventional chemical/physical methods that involve toxic and/or expensive chemical agents. Hence, new, more environmentally friendly approaches are in high demand. The use of microorganisms to reduce soluble metal ions and produce NPs is such an approach. In this project, the candidate will use high-quality genome-scale metabolic reconstructions for E. coli and use/ develop constraint-based methods for metabolic modeling to make informed decisions on pathway modifications for optimal Pd production. The candidate will be part of an interdisciplinary team with directed by Univ. of Oslo, with partners at NTNU, Univ. of Birmingham, and Univ. of Granada.

Qualification requirements

The PhD-position's main objective is to qualify for work in research positions. The qualification requirement is completion of a master’s degree or second degree (equivalent to 120 credits) with a strong academic background in Systems Biology, Computational Biology, Biostatistics, Physics, Biochemistry, Biology, or a closely related field with a grade of B or better in terms of NTNU’s grading scale. Applicants with no letter grades from previous studies must have an equally good academic foundation. Applicants who are unable to meet these criteria may be considered only if they can document that they are particularly suitable candidates for education leading to a PhD degree.

The appointment is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants and national guidelines for appointment as PhD, postdoctor and research assistant

Other qualifications

  • Strong knowledge of basic biology / biochemistry and strong experience with numerical analysis and programming.
  • Experience with network analysis and constraint-based analysis will be considered an advantage, but not a requirement.
  • Good written and oral English language skills.

Personal characteristics

  • Creative.
  • Strong ability to work problem oriented.
  • Enjoy interdisciplinary research and take keen interest in learning and working in teams.

In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience and personal suitability, as well as motivation, in terms of the qualification requirements specified in the advertisement

We offer

Salary and conditions

PhD candidates are remunerated in code 1017, and are normally remunerated at gross from NOK 449 400 before tax per year. From the salary, 2 % is deducted as a contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.

The period of employment is 3 years.  Appointment to a PhD position requires admission to the PhD program in Biotechnology (

As a PhD candidate, you undertake to participate in an organized PhD programme during the employment period. A condition of appointment is that you are in fact qualified for admission to the PhD programme within three months.

Appointment takes place on the terms that apply to State employees at any time, and after the appointment you must assume that there may be changes in the area of work.

General information

A good work environment is characterized by diversity. We encourage qualified candidates to apply, regardless of their gender, functional capacity or cultural background. Under the Freedom of Information Act (offentleglova), information about the applicant may be made public even if the applicant has requested not to have their name entered on the list of applicants.

Questions about the position can be directed to Professor Eivind Almaas, e-mail:

About the application:

Publications and other academic works that the applicant would like to be considered in the evaluation must accompany the application. Joint works will be considered. If it is difficult to identify the individual applicant's contribution to joint works, the applicant must include a brief description of his or her contribution.

Please submit your application electronically via

A complete application will include (1) a cover letter and CV that has information about education, scientific work and previous work experience. It will also include (2) contact information for three references, and (3) a 2 page discussion of the candidate’s systems biology research interests, and the candidate’s vision for and/or experience with network biology.

Certificates from B.Sc. and M.Sc., possible publications and other scientific works, copies of transcripts, and copies of documentation on English language proficiency test, must also be submitted. It must be stated which position is of highest interest if applying for both positions. Applicants invited for interview must include certified copies of transcripts and reference letters.

Please refer to the application number NV-35/19 when applying.

Application deadline: 15.05.2019

NTNU - knowledge for a better world

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) creates knowledge for a better world and solutions that can change everyday life.

Department of Biotechnology and Food Science

Our activities contribute to increased exploitation of existing and new ingredients for sustainable food production as well as next-generation energy solutions and medical technology. We educate graduates for a wide range of careers in industry, public administration and academia. The Department of Biotechnology and Food Science is one of eight departments in the Faculty of Natural Sciences.

Deadline 15.05.2019
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Temporary
Place of service Trondheim

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