Skip to main content
Till KTH:s startsida Till KTH:s startsida

Doctoral student in Acetivibrio thermocellus for sustainable production

School of Engineering Sciences in Chemistry, Biotechnology and Health at KTH

Project description

Third-cycle subject: Biotechnology

The overall purpose of this project is to develop Acetivibrio thermocellus as a next-generation robust microbial cell factory that can convert (ligno-)cellulose to sustainable fuels and chemicals with minimum pretreatment. The use of lignocellulose, instead of refined sugars, is preferred to expand (future) production volumes, improve cost-competitiveness and avoid competition with food. The project will apply state-of-the-art molecular biology techniques, genomics and proteomics combined with laboratory evolution and quantitative physiology in bioreactors to unlock the potential of A. thermocellus, including:

  • Research strategies to achieve increased understanding of the metabolism of the obligately anaerobic thermophile A. thermocellus.
  • Functional analysis of the central metabolism of A. thermocellus.
  • Metabolic engineering of A. thermocellus for formation of new products.

The PhD student will communicate scientific progress within the team at KTH and with our (international) collaborators, as well as through oral presentations, scientific publications and through information for a general audience. In addition to the research, the PhD student will contribute to (co-)Supervision of MSc students and teaching and supervision in lab courses on Cultivation Technology and Bioprocess Design.

Supervision: Antonius van Maris is proposed to be the main supervisor and Prof. Dr. Paul Hudson is proposed to be the co-supervisor to the doctoral student. Collaborators from Dartmouth College (U.S.A.) will also be involved in the project. Decisions are made on admission

What we offer

Admission requirements

To be admitted to postgraduate education (Chapter 7, 39 § Swedish Higher Education Ordinance), the applicant must have basic eligibility in accordance with either of the following:

  • passed a second cycle degree (for example a master's degree), or
  • completed course requirements of at least 240 higher education credits, of which at least 60 second-cycle higher education credits, or
  • acquired, in some other way within or outside the country, substantially equivalent knowledge

In addition to the above, there is also a mandatory requirement for English equivalent to English B/6.


In order to succeed as a doctoral student at KTH you need to be goal oriented and persevering in your work. During the selection process, candidates will be assessed upon their ability to:

  • independently pursue his or her work
  • collaborate with others,
  • have a professional approach and
  • analyse and work with complex issues.
  • Functionally analyse central metabolism of a microorganism, preferably anaerobes or thermophiles.
  • Perform enzyme activity assays, molecular biology and/or bioreactor cultivations.
  • Demonstrate personal integrity, good communication, focus on goals and results, persistence and seeing the bigger picture

After the qualification requirements, great emphasis will be placed on personal competency. 

Target degree: Doctoral degree

Information regarding admission and employment

Only those admitted to postgraduate education may be employed as a doctoral student. The total length of employment may not be longer than what corresponds to full-time doctoral education in four years ' time. An employed doctoral student can, to a limited extent (maximum 20%), perform certain tasks within their role, e.g. training and administration. A new position as a doctoral student is for a maximum of one year, and then the employment may be renewed for a maximum of two years at a time. In the case of studies that are to be completed with a licentiate degree, the total period of employment may not be longer than what corresponds to full-time doctoral education for two years.

Union representatives

Contact information for union representatives.

Doctoral section (Students’ union on KTH Royal Institute of Technology)

Contact information for doctoral section.

To apply for the position

Apply for the position and admission through KTH's recruitment system. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that the application is complete in accordance with the instructions in the advertisement.

Applications must be received at the last closing date at midnight, CET/CEST (Central European Time/Central European Summer Time).

Applications must include the following elements:

  • CV including your relevant professional experience and knowledge.
  • Application letter with a brief description of why you want to pursue research studies, about what your academic interests are and how they relate to your previous studies and future goals. (Maximum 2 pages long)
  • Copies of diplomas and grades from previous university studies and certificates of fulfilled language requirements (see above). Translations into English or Swedish if the original document is not issued in one of these languages.Copies of originals must be certified.
  • Representative publications or technical reports. For longer documents, please provide a summary (abstract) and a web link to the full text.

Other information

Striving towards gender equality, diversity and equal conditions is both a question of quality for KTH and a given part of our values.

For information about processing of personal data in the recruitment process.

The position may include security-sensitive activities. To become authorized, you therefore need to pass a possible security check.

We firmly decline all contact with staffing and recruitment agencies and job ad salespersons.

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



About KTH

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 architecture, industrial management, urban planning, history and philosophy. Read more here

Apply here
Type of employment

Temporary position

Contract type

Full time

Full-time equivalent


First day of employment

According to agreement


Monthly salary according to KTH's doctoral student salary agreement

Number of positions





Stockholms län



Reference number




Last application date


Antonius Van Maris