Postdoctoral Fellow in Molecular Biology / Gene Editing in Diatoms

Trondheim, Norway
28 Aug 2023
End of advertisement period
01 Oct 2023
Academic Discipline
Life sciences, Biological Sciences
Contract Type
Full Time

About the job

The postdoctoral fellowship position is a temporary position where the main goal is to qualify for work in senior academic positions.

The position is funded by the Norwegian Research Council in the project “Enabling natural photonics through genetic manipulation of diatoms”. Photonic crystals (PhCs) are key components of photonic technologies facilitating light manipulation even in three dimensions; however, the nanofabrication procedures required are far from being environmentally friendly and cost-effective. The ENIGMA team recently demonstrated that diatoms, which are unicellular microalgae, form high-quality PhCs in their silica-based cell wall, with highly reproducible photonic properties in the visible spectral range. Thus, diatoms have potential to act as a platform for producing highly cost-effective, environmentally friendly and natural PhCs for a wide range of applications. In this project, we will combine biotechnology and nanophotonics to obtain tailored bio-PhCs for specific applications. This shall be achieved through gene editing candidate genes identified through transcriptomics and bioinformatics. This project is a collaboration between the Genome Editing Group at NTNU and the Natural and Artificial Photonic Structures and Devices group at International Nanotechnological Laboratory (INL), Portugal.

Research activities relevant for the postdoctoral position will be focused on transcriptome assembly and characterization in two diatom species, establishment of gene editing in these species and characterization of diatom mutants.

Your hosts will be Researcher Tore Brembu and Associate Professor Per Winge.

Duties of the position

  • Perform transcriptome experiments on two diatom species to form a fundament for mining for target genes in cell wall biomineralization.
  • Generate transcriptome assemblies of the two diatom species.
  • Generate diatom cell wall mutants using CRISPR/Cas9-based gene editing and characterize these.
  • Presentation of results at project meetings and national and international workshops and conferences.
  • Preparation of scientific papers.
  • Close cooperation with the project partners in Portugal, possibly including research visits.

Required selection criteria

  • You must have completed a Norwegian doctoral degree or corresponding foreign doctoral degree recognized as equivalent to a Norwegian PhD in Biology. If you can document that the PhD thesis has been submitted, your application can be assessed even if you have not yet defended your dissertation. Documentation of the obtained doctoral degree must be presented before you can take up the position. 
  • Published scientific articles of high quality and with significant scientific content.
  • You must have a professionally relevant background in molecular biology, cell biology, biophysics, bioinformatics or equivalent.
  • Excellent English language skills, including documented skill in independent scientific writing (e.g., article manuscripts)

The appointment is to be made in accordance with Regulations on terms of employment for positions such as postdoctoral fellow, Ph.D Candidate, research assistant and specialist candidate.

Preferred selection criteria

  • Experience researching one or more of the following topics: Microalgae biology, cell wall biology, gene editing.
  • Experience with bioinformatic methods and tools such as R.
  • A background in curiosity-driven fundamental research is preferred over applied/industrial engineering research. 
  • Experience with teaching and supervision of students.
  • Research communication to the general public.
  • Good written and oral English and Norwegian language skills.

Personal characteristics

  • Strongly motivated to advance the current state of knowledge on the topic of this position.
  • Actively contribute in teams.
  • Have personal skills like a positive and friendly attitude.
  • Contribute to a sustainable and inclusive social environment.

Emphasis will be placed on personal and interpersonal qualities.

We offer 

Salary and conditions

As a Postdoctoral Fellow (code 1352) you are normally paid from gross NOK 604 900 per annum before tax, depending on qualifications and seniority. From the salary, 2% is deducted as a contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.

The period of employment is 2 years.

The engagement is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants, and the acts relating to Control of the Export of Strategic Goods, Services and Technology. Candidates who by assessment of the application and attachment are seen to conflict with the criteria in the latter law will be prohibited from recruitment to NTNU.  

After the appointment you must assume that there may be changes in the area of work.

It is a prerequisite you can be present at and accessible to the institution on a daily basis.

About the application 

The application and supporting documentation to be used as the basis for the assessment must be in English.

Publications and other scientific work must be attached to the application. Please note that applications are only evaluated based on the information available on the application deadline. You should ensure that your application shows clearly how your skills and experience meet the criteria which are set out above.  

If, for any reason, you have taken a career break or have had an atypical career and wish to disclose this in your application, the selection committee will take this into account, recognizing that the quantity of your research may be reduced as a result. 

The application must include: 

  • CV and certificates
  • Transcripts and diplomas for bachelor's-, master's- and PhD degrees. If you have not yet completed your Ph.D, you must provide confirmation on your estimated date for the doctoral dissertation, or that your PhD thesis has been submitted.
  • A copy of the doctoral thesis. If you are close to submitting, or have recently submitted your thesis, you can attach a draft of the thesis. Documentation of a completed doctoral degree must be presented before taking up the position.
  • Academic works - published or unpublished - that you would like to be considered in the assessment (up to 5items)
  • Name and contact information of three referees

If all, or parts, of your education has been taken abroad, we also ask you to attach documentation of the scope and quality of your entire education. Description of the documentation required can be found here. If you already have a statement from NOKUT, please attach this as well. 
Joint works will be considered. If it is difficult to identify your contribution to joint works, you must attach a brief description of your participation. 

In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience and personal and interpersonal qualities. Motivation, ambitions, and potential will also count in the assessment of the candidates. 

NTNU is committed to following evaluation criteria for research quality according to The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment - DORA. 

General information 

Working at NTNU 

NTNU believes that inclusion and diversity is a strength. We want our faculty and staff to reflect Norway’s culturally diverse population and we continuously seek to hire the best minds. This enables NTNU to increase productivity and innovation, improve decision making processes, raise employee satisfaction, compete academically with global top-ranking institutions and carry out our social responsibilities within education and research. NTNU emphasizes accessibility and encourages qualified candidates to apply regardless of gender identity, ability status, periods of unemployment or ethnic and cultural background.

The city of Trondheim is a modern European city with a rich cultural scene. Trondheim is the innovation capital of Norway with a population of 200,000. The Norwegian welfare state, including healthcare, schools, kindergartens and overall equality, is probably the best of its kind in the world. Professional subsidized day-care for children is easily available. Furthermore, Trondheim offers great opportunities for education (including international schools) and possibilities to enjoy nature, culture and family life and has low crime rates and clean air quality.  

As an employee at NTNU, you must at all times adhere to the changes that the development in the subject entails and the organizational changes that are adopted. 

A public list of applicants with name, age, job title and municipality of residence is prepared after the application deadline. If you want to reserve yourself from entry on the public applicant list, this must be justified. Assessment will be made in accordance with current legislation. You will be notified if the reservation is not accepted.

If you have any questions about the position, please contact Researcher Tore Brembu, email If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact Andrea Sommervold, e-mail:

If you think this looks interesting and in line with your qualifications, please submit your application electronically via with your CV, diplomas and certificates attached. Applications submitted elsewhere will not be considered. Upon request, you must be able to obtain certified copies of your documentation. 

Application deadline: 01.10.2023 

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 Biology 

We work with global challenges in natural diversity, climate, the environment, health and nutrition. Our expertise in biological processes at all levels – from molecules to ecosystems – contributes to a sustainable society. The Department educate graduates for a wide range of careers in public administration, business and academia. The Department of Biology is one of eight departments in the Faculty of Natural Sciences.

Deadline: 1st October 2023
Employer: NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality: Trondheim
Scope: Fulltime
Duration: Temporary
Place of service: Gløshaugen, 7491 Trondheim