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Université libre de Bruxelles
PhD position in Bioengineering: lignocellulose degradation and fermentation
Université libre de Bruxelles
In the heart of Europe, just 1h20 by train from Paris, 1h30 from Amsterdam, and 1h50 from London and Cologne, the city of Brussels offers all the advantages of a capital city and the quality of life of a large and lively town.
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JOB DETAILS
Published: 20 days ago
Application deadline: Feb 26
Location: Brussels, Belgium
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PhD position in Bioengineering: lignocellulose degradation and fermentation

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Job description: The Biomass Transformation Laboratory – BTL at ULB, is offering a PhD position in biotechnology of 3 years fully funded by the Innoviris funding agency. The successful candidate will implement new physicochemical stimuli to the classical settings for carrying the enzymatic hydrolysis and fermentation of lignocellulose. Introduction of Light as source of energy has been demonstrated to boost the activity of commercial cellulases cocktails likewise the addition of hydrogen peroxide. The candidate will have to find the optimal parameters to better exploit these new stimuli so to increase the digestion of lignocellulose biomass and its consequent fermentation. The fine tuning of the settings will be carried at milliliter scale together with a senior scientist involved in elucidating the electrochemistry of the process. The candidate will have to continue this work later, thus will be introduced to cyclic voltammetry and basic electrochemistry. The candidate will have to scale up the best found tunings progressively up to 20 liters volume using Biostat reactors or custom designed vessel. Finally fermentation of the biomass hydrolysate into a final desirable product will also be performed (few examples - but not limited to: ethanol or lactic acid or glycerol).        

Key qualifications: At BTL the lab members are expected to take leadership within their project as they will be required to drive and conclude their work independently but at the same time to take initiative and discuss/develop their own results and ideas, writing self-formulated reports and articles. Optionally during the PhD program the candidate could also spend short periods of visit at foreigner institutes that will be defined accordingly the candidates will. Technical skills required for the position are knowledge of photo-inducible molecules bio-derived from plants or bacteria. Also experience on bioreactor handlings, fermentation and/or basic molecular biology of fungi will be a plus. Proven ability of scientific writing will be considered a plus, priority to peer reviewed publications, master thesis, scientific blogs, youtube channels and more.  

BTL: The Biomass Transformation Laboratory – BTL is part of a bigger hub in biomass research activity launched recently by ULB. Rapidly growing BTL itself counts at today 8 members investigating bio-degradative processes for waste recycling as well as biopolymer rebuilding for production of applicable new biomaterials. At BTL competences spans from Chemical engineering to plant physiology, fungal microbiology, analytical chemistry, biochemistry, biopolymer sciences and fermentation processes.

The minimum requirements for the position are:

  • MSc in Sciences or Engineering disciplines
  • Enzymatic degradation of lignocellulose, fermentations or photobiology
  • Photo-bioreactor, growth of light sensible microorganisms and pigments manipulation will be considered as plus.
  • Language skills: good English (spoken and written), basic French but not mandatory (plus)
  • Scientific communication skills: able at communicating orally and writing scientific results in English

Application procedure

The application must be delivered sending the required documents at btl@ulb.ac.be

The application must include:

  • Reference code in email objective: 005 PhD application
  • One pdf file containing: 1 page motivation letter + 2 pages CV + communications/publications list if any. The file should start with 1 page max cover letter, be aware that the motivation letter should contain the answer to the questions: “Why do you want to do a PhD in bio-sustainable sciences? Why you think you are Thesuitable candidate for this position?”. The CV should stress the scientific technical skills, soft skills could be asked later during the interview. List of communications/publications of your previous scientific activities that most represent your skills (copy of the Master thesis, or full text of peer-reviewed manuscripts if any - not mandatory, links to scientific blogs, youtube channels and more).  
  • 1 file entitled References your name.pdf  containing the Names and full Contact details of two or three referees

Employment terms

Net salary around 2.000 euros. A start date is required strictly on June 1st, 2019. The PhD fellow will be hired for a three-year period to lead this project. You will have a full spectrum of vacation and leave benefits, as well as coverage from national health and business travel insurance.

Contact information

The candidates are exhorted to take contact for further information about the position, please contact prof. David Cannella or prof. Amin Shavandi at btl@ulb.ac.be

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