The electromicrobiology of homoacetogenic bacteria


Applications are invited for a PhD fellowship/scholarship at Graduate School of Science and Technology, Aarhus University, Denmark, within the Engineering programme. The position is available from 1 August 2019 or later.

Research area and project description:
Homoacetogenic bacteria have the intriguing capacity to use electrodes as electron donor. This capacity can be applied for the development of highly interesting technologies, such as microbial electrosynthesis, in which bacteria are fed with electricity to convert CO2 into biofuels and biochemicals. So far, the mechanisms by which homoacetogenic bacteria take up electrons from electrodes are not yet understood, even though such an understanding is crucial for the development of new technologies.

The PhD candidate is expected to investigate the H2 utilization thermodynamics and kinetics of homoacetogenic bacteria and explore if differences in the H2 utilization thermodynamics and kinetics can explain the different capacities of homoacetogenic strains to withdraw electrons from solid electron donors, such as electrodes.

The PhD candidate will also be involved in educational activities as supervisor of Master’s and Bachelor’s student projects, as well as teaching assistant in courses related to his/her expertise. 

Qualifications and specific competences:
We are looking for talented and enthusiastic applicants with a Master’s degree in Microbiology, Bioengineering, Biotechnology, or another discipline with a relevant specialisation. Practical experience within electromicrobiology, bioelectrochemical systems, biocorrosion, anaerobic cultivation, etc. will be seen as a plus. A theoretical background with microbial thermodynamics and kinetics will be important for this project. Analytical and critical thinking are essential to pursue a PhD. Further requirements are English fluency, good reporting skills and being able to work independently.

Applicants are encouraged to include a max. 1-page statement on their research ideas for the proposed project.

Place of employment and Place of work:
The place of employment is Aarhus University and the place of work is with the Microbial Electrosynthesis Research Group at the Department of Engineering, Hangøvej 2, 8200 Aarhus. Aarhus University is located in the vibrant city of Aarhus.

About the Microbial Electrosynthesis Research Group  
The Microbial Electrosynthesis Research group is a recently started group studying the microbial processes behind microbial electrosynthesis, biocorrosion and gas fermentation with as goal to improve the applications of these processes. The Microbial Electrosynthesis Research Group is part of the growing and highly dynamic section of Biological and Chemical Engineering. 

About the Biological and Chemical Engineering Section
Biological and Chemical Engineering is a multidisciplinary research area. It includes disease and health, materials, environmental technologies, biorefining, energy technologies and food and ingredient technology. The research at the Biological and Chemical Engineering Section at Department of Engineering is based on both theoretical and experimental methods, and include the design, development, operation, monitoring, control, and optimization of chemical, physical and biological processes.

Contact details: 
The project will be supervised by Assistant Professor Jo Philips and Associate Professor Alberto Scoma from Department of Engineering. Applicants seeking further information are invited to contact: Assistant Professor Jo Philips ( or Associate Professor Alberto Scoma (
Contact email address:
Expiration date: 
Wednesday, May 1, 2019