Postdoctoral researcher within chemical synthesis of complex carbohydrates and glycoconjugates

Deadline: 28.03.2023

Norwegian University of Life Sciences

NMBU's focus is a joint effort for a sustainable future. Our university will contribute to securing the future of life, through outstanding research, education, communication and innovation.

NMBU has 1,900 employees of which about 500 phd scholarships and 6,700 students. The university is divided into seven faculties.

NMBU believes that a good working environment is characterised by diversity.

We encourage qualified candidates to apply regardless of gender, functional ability, cultural background or whether you have been outside the labour market for a period. If necessary, workplace adaptations will be made for persons with disabilities. More information about NMBU is available at www.nmbu.no.

About The Faculty of Chemistry, Biotechnology and Food Science

The Faculty of Chemistry, Biotechnology and Food Science (KBM) employs about 160 people. Currently about 50 PhD students are enrolled into our PhD program. KBM represents a broad range of scientific fields encompassing basic natural sciences such as microbiology, chemistry, biochemistry as well as the application of these towards food chemistry, technology and safety, biotechnology, bioprocessing and environmental issues. The Faculty is responsible for education, research and information within our fields of expertise and also has state-of-the-art instrumentation to perform research within these fields. KBM collaborates in networks and research projects both nationally and internationally.

Further information here.

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About the position

The Protein Engineering and Proteomics (PEP) and Bioprocess Technology and Biorefining (BioRef) groups at the Faculty of Chemistry, Biotechnology and Food Science (KBM), Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) have a post-doctoral researcher position available within the FunEPS project.

FunEPS aims to determine how exopolysaccharides (EPS) from food-related and pathogenic bacteria are degraded and metabolized. Knowledge of these processes will eventually allow us to use both enzymatic methods and organic synthesis to produce and tailor novel oligo- and polysaccharides for use in food and health applications. We will also obtain a deeper fundamental understanding of the roles of EPS in biofilms and complex microbial communities (e.g. in the human gut). A central research element in the project is the synthetic preparation of glyconjugates for labelling/creating antibiotic features through the use of modern carbohydrate methodology. To cover all the aspects of the research, FunEPS has project partners with expertise in carbohydrate active enzyme screening (DTU, Denmark), clinical microbiology (Oslo University Hospital, Norway, and University of Amsterdam Medical Center, The Netherlands) and organic (carbohydrate) chemistry (Carmen Galan at University of Bristol, UK).

It will be possible for the postdoctoral researcher to visit and perform research tasks in the partner labs.

The FunEPS project will run over five years, starting in 2022, and will employ two PhD students and three postdoctoral researchers.

In this announcement we are looking for a postdoctoral researcher that will work on chemical synthesis of carbohydrates and glycoconjugates based on EPS that are produced by the other researchers/participants in FunEPS. Parts of the EPS production will be done in relatively large scale (multigram scale) in the NMBU biorefinery, which is operated by the BioRef group. The synthesis work will be done in a tight collaboration with the Galan group at the University of Bristol and the Natural Product Chemistry and Organic Analysis group (more specifically, Associate Prof. Marius Aursnes) locally at KBM. The duration of the position is 3 years.

Main tasks

The postdoctoral researcher is expected to have competence in chemical synthesis, preferably within the subdiscipline of carbohydrates and glycoconjugates. The post doc will work tightly together with a PhD student and another Postdoc that are hired in the FunEPS project to carry out the following tasks:

  • Conduct chemical synthesis of carbohydrates and glycoconjugates in mg-gram scale.
  • Characterize EPS and derivatives by NMR methods. The PhD student already hired in the project is an analytical chemist responsible for chromatographic, mass spectrometric analyses of the materials produced in the project.
  • Write and publish scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals of high standard.

For interested candidates it may be possible to participate in teaching activities in relevant courses at KBM, but this is not a prerequisite.


Required academic qualifications and experience

  • A PhD degree in chemical synthesis, preferably within carbohydrate and glycoconjugation.
  • Proficient in routine NMR analysis of organic molecules. This includes practical experience using NMR instruments, selecting and applying relevant techniques (such as COSY, HSQC, HMBC, NOESY/ROESY) as well as interpreting the resulting data.

One or more of the following additional experiences and skills are highly desirable

  • Experience with functionalizing and conjugation of oligo/polysaccharides
  • via e.g. transaminidation, carbonyl conjugation, carboxylic acid coupling
  • Experience in enzymatic synthesis of glycans and glycoconjugates

Personal qualities:

The ideal candidates will combine (and be able to document) the following personal qualities:

  • Hard-working, ambitious and accurate.
  • Genuinely interested in scientific research and its industrial applications.
  • Good social and collaborative skills documented, e.g., by successful international collaboration.
  • Good communicative skills, orally and written, in English (candidates will be required to give a research presentation in English as part of the recruitment process).

We expect that the candidates will publish research findings in high-impact peer reviewed scientific journals. Applicants must be proficient both written and spoken, in English, and, preferably, also in a Scandinavian language.

Remuneration and further information

Post-doctoral positions are placed in government pay scale position code 1352 Post doctor, (salary grade 62-77) (NOK 573 900-765 600), or position code 1109 Researcher, (salary grade 66-77) (NOK 615 000-765 600) /, depending on qualifications.

For further information, please contact the project:

General Information to applicants


To apply online for this vacancy, please click on the 'Apply for this job' button above. This will route you to the University's Web Recruitment System, where you will need to register an account (if you have not already) and log in before completing the online application form.

Application deadline: 28.03.2023

Please indicate whether you are applying for the PhD position or the postdoctoral researcher position.

To save time, we advise you to upload your complete CV as a pdf file rather than filling out CV-related details in the online application form.

Printed material which cannot be sent electronically should be sent by surface mail to Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Faculty of Chemistry, Biotechnology and Food Sciences, P.O. Box 5003, NO-1432 Ås, within (28.02.23023). Please quote reference number 23/01436.

Applicants invited for an interview will be asked to present verified copies of diplomas and certificates.

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