Application deadline: May 1, 2018

Applications are invited for a 3-year PhD fellowship/scholarship in organic synthesis and DNA nanotechnology available at Aarhus University, Denmark. The project will be conducted in the research group of Professor Kurt Vesterager Gothelf at the Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center and Department of Chemistry. The position is available from the fall of 2018.

Research area and project description:

The goal of the project is to explore new methods for precise mechanical actuation of DNA nanostructures by organic molecules and/or polymers that undergo mechanochemical changes. The main objective of the project is to synthesize organic compounds that are mechanically responsive to light, such as azobenzene derivatives, organic oligomers that are mechanically switchable by electrochemistry, or by reactions induced by certain reagents. The compounds may be incorporated in oligomers or polymers and will be conjugated to DNA by automated DNA synthesis. The molecular actuators will be integrated in dynamic DNA nanostructures typically made of DNA origami, to induce actuation.

The position is for 3 years and is funded by the PhD school DNA-Robotics, a recently established Innovative Training Network (ITN) under the European Commission’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions research fellowship programme ( DNA-Robotics will train early stage researchers in the skills required to meet futures challenges in bionanotechnology, from fundamental science to novel applications. The PhD study involves 3 months of secondments in total at one or more of the other partner universities in the network.

Qualifications and specific competences:

The successful candidate should have extensive theoretical and laboratory experience in organic synthesis. Experience in biophysics, polymer chemistry, nucleic acid chemistry and/or DNA-nanotechnology is preferred but not required. The candidate should have completed a masters’ degree (or equivalent) in chemistry no later than August 1, 2018.  To qualify for funding under the rules of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie action, candidates must: i) not have lived in Denmark for more than 12 months in the last 3 years ii) not already possess a PhD degree and iii) be in the first four years of their research career, since, for example, completion of a masters’ degree.

Application procedure and deadlines:

The application procedure contains two steps:

  1. First applicants must send an application containing: a motivation letter, a CV (including date of birth, nationality and a photo), two letters of recommendation, certificates, and transcripts of grades to: The deadline for the initial application is May 1, 2018. Please write “Position ITN 1” in the subject line.
  2. Selected candidates will be invited for a 1 week visit to the research group of Professor Gothelf at Aarhus University in May/June 2018. The selected candidate, for which funding is secured, will then apply to the Graduate School of Science and Technology, for enrolment during the fall of 2018

For further information please contact Professor Kurt Gothelf by email ( writing “Position ITN 1” in the subject line, and/or visit the homepage of the research group, and the DNA-Robotics network