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Revealing natural human milk variation and the effect on infant growth and gut colonization

Applications are invited for a PhD fellowship/scholarship at Graduate School of Technical Sciences, Aarhus University, Denmark, within the Food Science programme. The position is available from 1 February 2021 or later.

Title:
Revealing natural human milk variation and the effect on infant growth and gut colonization

Research area and project description:
The successful applicant will be part of a research team working with molecular biology, microbiology, nutrition and health. The PhD-project is part of the larger project “Mainhealth: The influence of maternal health on human breast milk composition with potential downstream effects on infant metabolism and gut colonization” (read more here https://food.au.dk/mainhealth/).

The project utilizes a mother-infant cohort based in Aarhus (Ethical approval: 1-10-72-296-18). We will acquire longitudinal samples from 200 mother-infant dyads during the first year of life across three groups of pre-gestational maternal BMI. The samples give a comprehensive record of what the infant has ingested (milk samples) and how the infant and infant gut microbiome responds to this (infant urine and feces). Recruitment of study participants are ongoing and scheduled to finish within 2020.

The specific aim of this PhD-project is to identify how proteins and glycans in human breast milk vary and how they influence infant health or gut microbiota.

Qualifications and specific competences:
We are looking for a highly motivated and independent student willing to take the challenge to do a successful 3-year PhD programme in Aarhus University. The ideal candidate will have the following profile (but not all items are required for a successful application):

  • Relevant Master’s degree (e.g., Food Science, Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Molecular medicine), although exceptional candidates from related disciplines will also be considered.
  • Excellent undergraduate and master degree grades are required.
  • Experience in LC-MS is preferred.
  • Good English verbal and written skills are required.

Background on proteomics, carbohydrate analysis, data analytics, or bioinformatics is highly desired

Place of employment and place of work:
The place of employment is Aarhus University, and the place of work is Department of Food

Contacts:
Applicants seeking further information are invited to contact:

Main supervisor: Associate professor, PhD Jette F. Young, Aarhus University, Dept. Food Science, mail: jettef.young@food.au.dk

Co-supervisor: Assistant professor, PhD Ulrik K. Sundekilde, Aarhus University, Dept. Food Science, mail: uksundekilde@food.au.dk, +45 22479963

 

Application procedures


Before you apply

Information and attachments:

Please be aware that you must have all relevant appendices, attachments, addresses for referees, etc. ready when you apply, as the entire application must be uploaded to the system in one go.

Documentation of language skills:

The English language requirement at the graduate school is comparable to an “English B level” in the Danish upper secondary school (“gymnasium”).

English language qualifications comparable to an “English B level” are documented by one of the following tests:

  • TOEFL test (internet-based), minimum score: 83. The graduate school does not accept the paper-based test, nor the TOEFL ITP test. Remember to ask the test center to send your test results to Aarhus University in order to enable verification of your test results. Aarhus University’s TOEFL code is 8935.
    Currently, the TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition test (available in selected areas) will also be accepted.
  • IELTS (academic) test, minimum average score: 6.5 points/
  • Cambridge English Language Assessment:
    Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency (CPE)
    Cambridge English: Certificate of Advanced English with grade A,B or C (CAE)
    Cambridge English: First Certificate with grade A (FCE)

When to take the test and how to upload the documentation:
The test result must not be more than two years old at the time of application.

The English language test should be taken before applying for admission and uploaded under “language skills documentation” in the online application form.

It is possible to apply for admission before you have taken the test. In this case documentation stating that you have signed up for a test (please state expected submission date) must be uploaded. If the test result is not part of the original application the test result is to be sent to gsts@psys.au.dk no later than one month after the application deadline.

The following applicants are exempted from documenting their English qualifications/taking a test:

  • Applicants with citizenship from the following countries: Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States, or one of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway or Sweden).
  • Applicants with a Bachelor’s or Master’s programme completed in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, or the United States. In this case, please upload your Bachelor’s or Master’s diploma under the section ”Language skills documentation”.
  • Applicants with a Bachelor’s or Master’s programme completed at a Danish university for which the requirement was English B level at the time of admission. In this case, please upload your Bachelor’s or Master’s diploma under the section ”Language skills documentation”.

The programme committee may request further information or invite the applicant to attend an interview.


How to apply:

1)      Find the application form:
Go to https://phd.tech.au.dk/for-applicants/apply-here/ - Note, the online application system opens on 1 September 2020.
Choose November 2020 Call with deadline 1 November 2020 at noon (11.59 AM CEST).
You will be directed to the call, and must choose the programme “Food Science incl. Horticulture”.

2)      Fill in the following information:

  • Personal information
  • Academic background
  • Admission
  • Financing (if any)
  • Study: In the dropdown menu you must choose the project: “Revealing natural human milk variation and the effect on infant growth and gut colonization”
  • Source (how you found out about the call)

Next to some of the information fields you will find a number. Click on the number to get further directions on how to fill in the information field/what information is needed.

3)      Application attachments:
Please be aware that you cannot submit the application if one or several of these documents have not been uploaded.

If you wish to upload more than one document under each section, you must scan/merge all documents into one large PDF file and upload this. Please note that we reserve the right to remove scientific papers, large reports, theses and the like. Instead you can indicate a URL where the information is available.

All information in the application must be in English or Danish, preferably English. A certified English translation is required for documents written in languages other than English or one of the Scandinavian languages (i.e. Norwegian, Swedish or Danish) languages.

As a minimum all applications must include (pdf-files only, max. 20 MB, no zip):

  • One reference (template for references)
  • Curriculum vitae,
  • Motivation (max. 1 page)
  • Transcripts, grade point averages (weighted and unweighted), and diploma(s) for both Bachelor’s and Master’s degree. If the original documents are not in English or one of the Scandinavian languages (i.e. Norwegian, Swedish or Danish) then copies of the original documents as well as a certified English translation must be attached.
  • Project description (½-4 pages). For technical reasons, you must upload a project description. When - as here - you apply for a specific project, please simply copy the project description above, and upload it as a PDF in the application. If you wish to, you can indicate an URL where further information can be found. Please note that we reserve the right to remove scientific papers, large reports, theses and the like.
  • Documentation of language skills if required.

After submission of the application, you will receive a confirmation e-mail with an application ID, you should use for reference if needed.

The graduate school reserves the right to verify the authenticity of your educational diploma and transcripts:

  • Request additional information to verify an application.
  • Reject the application if it is proven, or if the University has reasonable belief, that the information provided is false or if the applicant refuses to provide the requested information, whether or not an offer has already been made. 
  • For further information on applying, assessment procedures, etc. please see the GSTS Application Guide.

Please note:

  • The programme committee may request further information or invite the applicant to attend an interview.
  • The project will only be initiated if final funding (from the graduate school/the faculty) is secured.

All interested candidates are encouraged to apply, regardless of their personal background.

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