University of Turku

1-4 doctoral researcher positions in fundamental and applied photosynthesis

2024-04-15 (Europe/Helsinki)
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The University of Turku has a unique, creative and inspirational work environment. Here you will work with top experts, pedagogues and researchers.

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We are seeking 1-4 doctoral researchers to join the Photosynthetic Microbes group led by Professor Yagut Allahverdiyeva. The positions are part of the PhotoFactory consortium, which has recently received > 2.2 Mil EUR from the Erkko Foundation. The positions will be based in the Faculty of Technology within the Department of Life Technologies in Turku, Finland. Employment starts on 1.5.2024, or as agreed upon. The successful doctoral researcher will be offered a fixed two-year contract, with the possibility of extension until the completion of the PhD thesis.

About the Photosynthetic Microbes Research Group: We are studying the regulation of photosynthesis and applying photosynthetic principles to develop sustainable biotechnologies. The research areas encompass various aspects, including the understanding of alternative electron transport routes, utilizing photosynthetic microbes as biocatalysts for production of solar chemicals (including photoH2), biophotovoltaics (BPV) and developing solid-state photosynthetic cell factories, as well as large-scale algae cultivation for phytoremediation and the production of solar chemicals (such as biostimulants and biopesticides). The PhotoMicrobes group is involved in several EU, Nordic, and national projects and regularly publishes research outcomes in hihghly respected journals. We have established a large research network with connections to well-known international laboratories and industrial partners. Our team members not only active participants in international conferences but also regularly organise symposia and conferences (e.g. Nordic Photosynthesis Congress and the Nordic Algae Symposium). In addition, we have several talented post-doctoral and senior researchers who will provide step-by-step guidance to the PhD students in the lab.

To learn more about the Photosynthetic Microbes research group, you can visit our website at www.utu.fi/photo-microbes or follow us on LinkedIN and Twitter at @PhotoMicrobes.

Job description

The PhotoFactory aims to unleash photosynthesis from inherent limitations to improve bioproduction efficiency of microalgae and cyanobacteria for biomanufacturing solar-driven products within the circular bioeconomy concept. To achieve the goal, PhotoFactory will merge expertise in photosynthesis and synthetic biology with additive manufacturing, material and data science. Additive manufacturing and material science will be conducted in close collaboration with Professor C. Xu group (Åbo Akademi University). The accepted doctoral researchers will benefit fully from the well-established international and national network.

Position 1-2. Redesigning photosynthetic light reactions for bioproduction.

The applicant will apply single or multiple engineering steps (using CRISPR-CAS technology) to improve electron flow to photosynthetic reducing equivalents. The applicant will learn to operate state-of-the-art equipment available in PhotoSYN and will be involved in research visits to other labs. Biotechnologically relevant photomixotrophic conditions will also be applied.

Whole-cell biotransformation or photosynthetic H2 production will be considered as final production systems for verification. In the final step, 3D printing and tailored materials will be applied to immobilize cells in order to design artificial leaves.

Position 3. Photosynthetic cell factories. The applicant will apply metabolic engineering for the production of commodity chemicals or added-value products. 3D printing and tailored materials will be applied to immobilize cells in order to design artificial leaves.

Position 4. The PhotoBioFilmReactor and AI-assisted optimization of bioproduction. PhotoBioFilmReactor system with the online monitoring and AI-assisted optimization, will be used for long-term photoproduction of solar chemicals or whole-cell biotransformation by 3D-printed cell-biopolymer assemblies. Knowledge in data driven systems is necessary for this position.

Here are some details about our recent work relevant to these projects:

  • Tóth GS, Siitonen V, Backman O, Siivola T, Xu W, Kosourov S, Siitonen V, Xu C, Allahverdiyeva Y.  Employing photocurable biopolymers to engineer photosynthetic 3D-printed living materials for production of chemicals. 2024 Green Chemistry, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1039/D3GC04264B
  • Siitonen V, Probst A, Toth G, Kourist R, Schroda M, Kosourov S, Allahverdiyeva Y. Engineered green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii as a whole-cell photosynthetic biocatalyst for stepwise photoproduction of H2 and ε-caprolactone. 2023 Green Chemistry 25, 5945-5955 DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/d3gc01400b
  • Santana-Sánchez A, Nikkanen L, Werner E, Tóth G, Ermakova M, Kosourov S, Walter J, He M, Aro EM, Allahverdiyeva Y. Flv3A facilitates O2 photoreduction and affects H2 photoproduction independently of Flv1A in diazotrophic Anabaena filaments. 2023 New Phytologist 237:126-139. DOI: 10.1111/nph.18506.
  • Santana-Sanchez A, Solymosi D, Mustila H, Bersanini L, Aro EM, Allahverdiyeva Y. Flavodiiron proteins 1-to-4 function in versatile combinations in O2 photoreduction in cyanobacteria. 2019 eLife. 8:e45766. DOI: 10.7554/eLife.45766

Who we are looking for

We seek a highly motivated and enthusiastic candidates. Applicants should have an MSc in plant science, molecular biology, biophysics, or related fields (a good GPA is considered). If you have not completed your MSc, you can still apply and start as a Research Assistant in a short employment until the MSc degree is completed,  and you are accepted to the UTUGS graduate school. Proficiency in written and verbal English communication is essential for this position.

Read more about University of Turku’s Graduate school UTUGS) and its programmes.

Our selection criteria are based on the principle of finding the most qualified and suitable candidate for the positions. In practice, this means that not only education, scientific merits and working experience but also personal qualities, communication, motivation, and other relevant criteria will be considered.

Benefits

  • We offer you responsible and interesting tasks and the opportunity to develop your professional skills in a versatile operating environment. 
  • You get a professional and inspiring team to support your work.
  • We take care of your well-being at work and the functionality of your everyday life, e.g. with the help of flexible working hours and our well-being services.

We value equality and diversity in our work community and encourage qualified applicants, regardless of background, to apply for our open positions.

Please read more about University of Turku as an employee from our Come work with us! pages.

The European Commission has awarded the University of Turku the right to use the HR Excellence in Research logo. The logo is a token of the University's commitment to continuous development of the position and working conditions of researchers according to the guidelines set forth in the European Charter for Researchers. 

The university offers good support and orientation for international hires. Please learn more about the Finnish culture and relocation to Finland:

Salary and Application Guidelines

The salary is determined by the collective agreement system of the Finnish universities. The positions belong to our research personnel and the salary for a Doctoral Researcher or a Project Researcher is in the range of 2500–2600 €/month and for a Research Assistant in the range of 2200 - 2300 €/month on average.

Please write your application and accompanying documents in English. 

Applicants should enclose with their application:

  • motivation letter, including statement of motivation, summarizing scientific work and research interest (max 1 page)
  • CV, including education, positions, professional experience, names and contact details of two academic referees (max 2 pages)
  • list of publications (please do not attach your thesis or papers)
  • degree certificate(s) in English or in Finnish

For further information about the position, please contact: professor Yagut Allahverdiyeva, allahve(at)utu.fi

With questions about the application process, please contact: HR-specialist Paula Luoma paula.luoma(at)utu.fi

This is an enriching job opportunity in a rapidly evolving field in our new faculty  - we warmly welcome you to join our multicultural working community.

Department of Life Technologies

The Department of Life Technologies is one of the largest teaching and research units at the University of Turku. Professionals of both science and professionals are educated in four mutually supportive fields: biochemistry, biotechnology, food sciences, and molecular plant biology. The research focuses on biomolecules and their reactions as well as aims to find out how nature functions at the cellular and molecular levels. This information is used in the applications of different fields and at the same time it enables versatile collaboration between research communities, businesses and industry.

The Faculty of Technology is the newest faculty of the University of Turku, it was established in the beginning of 2021. The Faculty consists of the Department of Computing, Department of Biotechnology and the Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering. We have more than 2,000 graduate and postgraduate students and circa 400 employees, 50 of whom are professors. Our faculty is an international, multicultural and diverse work community.

The University of Turku is an inspiring and international academic community of 25,000 students and staff in Southwest Finland. We build a sustainable future with multidisciplinary research, education, and collaboration. With us, your work will have a significant impact and relevance in the changing world.

See our open vacancies

HR Excellence in Research Logo

Information for the applicant

The application form cannot be saved as a draft. However, after submitting you can return to edit your application via the link you receive by email. The application can be edited until the application deadline.

You have 6 hours to complete your application before the timeout.

Instructions for submitting a job application

Job details

Title
1-4 doctoral researcher positions in fundamental and applied photosynthesis
Location
Tykistökatu 6 Turku, Finland
Published
2024-04-03
Application deadline
2024-04-15 16:00 (Europe/Helsinki)
2024-04-15 15:00 (CET)
Job type
PhD
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About the employer

The University of Turku has a unique, creative and inspirational work environment. Here you will work with top experts, pedagogues and researchers.

Visit the employer page

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