KTH Royal Institute of Technology, School of Biotechnology

KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm has grown to become one of Europe’s leading technical and engineering universities, as well as a key centre of intellectual talent and innovation. We are Sweden’s largest technical research and learning institution and home to students, researchers and faculty from around the world. Our research and education covers a wide area including natural sciences and all branches of engineering, as well as in architecture, industrial management, urban planning, history and philosophy.

The School of Biotechnology offers a curriculum that reflects the multidisciplinary nature of Biotechnology, integrating theoretical and applied science in undergraduate and graduate courses. The school has six departments with about 300 employees, located at AlbaNova University Center in Stockholm and Science for Life Laboratory in Solna. The Biotechnology research within the school is internationally well recognized.

Job description

This project aims to quantitatively understand the fascinating physiology of Clostridium thermocellum and develop this microorganism as a next-generation robust microbial cell factory for production of sustainable fuels and chemicals.

Industrial biotechnological production of chemicals and fuels from bio-based resources provides a circular and sustainable alternative for petrochemical production, as illustrated by the recent start-up of many yeast and E. coli based industrial processes. For such processes the use of lignocellulosic feedstocks, instead of refined sugars, is preferred to expand (future) production volumes, improve cost-competitiveness and avoid competition with food. Examples of lignocellulosic feedstocks are agricultural- and forestry residues or dedicated ‘energy’ crops grown on non-arrable land. The recently started industrial yeast-based processes for ethanol production from corn stover and bagasse illustrate the potential for further innovations in both mechanical- and enzymatic pretreatment.

The main benefit of C. thermocellum is its natural ability to degrade (ligno-) cellulose without the addition of enzymes after minimal mechanical pretreatment, which give it the potential to replace current biocatalysts in the medium to long term future. The two PhD students in this project will be appointed at the Industrial Biotechnology Division at KTH Royal Institute of Technology and will perform their work in an international collaboration with the groups of Prof. Lee Lynd (Dartmouth College, U.S.A). The project will apply state-of-the-art molecular biology techniques combined with laboratory evolution, metabolic engineering and quantitative physiology in bioreactors to investigate the metabolism of C. thermocellum and simultaneously improve the robustness to changes in pH, presence of organic acids, fluctuating concentrations of monosaccharides, high product concentrations and decreased formation of by-products.


The candidate should have an Msc degree in industrial biotechnology, biochemical engineering or equivalent. Experience with bioreactor cultivation (batch and continuous) and molecular biology are important merits for these positions. A natural affinity for team work and communication as well as fluency in spoken and written English are required. The candidate should be highly motivated for doing scientific research and should have well developed analytical and problem solving skills.

Trade union representatives

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Your complete application must be received at KTH no later than the last day of application, midnight CET/CEST (Central European Time/Central European Summer Time).

The application must include the following documents:

  • Curriculum vitae
  • Official record of transcripts and a copy of degree certificate
  • Cover letter


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Disclaimer: In case of discrepancy between the Swedish original and the English translation of the job announcement, the Swedish version takes precedence.

Type of employment Temporary position longer than 6 months
Contract type Full time
First day of employment According to agreement (aiming for a start between 01-09-2017 and 31-12-2017)
Salary Monthly salary according to KTH’s Ph.D. student agreement
Number of positions 2
Working hours 100%
City Stockholm
County Stockholms län
Country Sweden
Reference number B-2017-0219
  • Antonius (Ton) J.A. van Maris, Prof. Dr., E-mail: tonvm@kth.se
Published 13.Apr.2017
Last application date 15.Jun.2017 11:59 PM CET

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