PhD Fellow in Structural Biology

Deadline: 23.05.2021

UiT The Arctic University of Norway

UiT is a multi-campus research university in Norway and the northernmost university of the world. Our central location in the High North, our broad and diverse research and study portfolio, and our interdisciplinary qualities make us uniquely suited to meet the challenges of the future. At UiT you can explore global issues from a close-up perspective.

Credibility, academic freedom, closeness, creativity and commitment shall be hallmarks of the relationship between our employees, between our employees and our students and between UiT and our partners.

Faculty of Science and Technology

The position

The Department of Chemistry seeks a motivated and enthusiastic PhD fellow to join the Research Group in Biomolecular and Structural Chemistry. The successful PhD fellow will become a member of an international and interdisciplinary research team focusing on structural and functional studies of proteins. Collaborative work will be carried out with other groups at the university and at European synchrotron radiation facilities. As a student, you will enter an international and collegial environment, and be enrolled in the Norwegian ‘BioCat Graduate School in Biocatalysis’, which provides top-level graduate courses in both scientific and transferable skills, arranges national PhD conferences and offers generous travel stipends for student research visits to collaborator laboratories.

The PhD fellow will be part of the Centre for New Antibacterial Strategies (CANS) and work in the LacZymes group, with group leader Prof. Hanna-Kirsti Schrøder Leiros.

The position is for a period of four years. The nominal length of the PhD programme is three years. The fourth year is distributed as 25 % each year and will consist of teaching and other duties. The objective of the position is to complete research training to the level of a doctoral degree. Admission to the PhD programme is a prerequisite for employment, and the programme period starts on commencement of the position.

The workplace is at UiT in Tromsø. You must be able to start in the position in Tromsø within a reasonable time, within 6 months after receiving the offer.

The position’s field of research

This position will focus on structural studies of enzymes involved in bacterial antibiotic resistance. Three-dimensional structures will be used to determine residue determinants for the enzyme mechanism, and aid sequence-based diagnostics.

Methods will include some or all of the following, depending on details of the project and its progress:

  • a. Cloning, expression and purification of proteins
  • b. Biophysical and biochemical characterization of proteins, and complementary techniques
  • c. Biochemical and biophysical characterization protein-substrate binding
  • d. Structural analysis using X-ray crystallography
  • e. In silico molecular dynamic simulations

The PhD fellow will work in an interdisciplinary research team where we apply protein evolution to obtain mutations and use the structure-activity relationship to understand effects on the enzyme mechanisms. The PhD fellow will also interact with a machine learning group to include three-dimensional structural analysis to increase the accuracy of sequence-based diagnostics. This project will focus on serine- and metallo-beta-lactamases.


For further information about the position, please contact:


This position requires a Master’s degree (two years or equivalent) in a relevant filed of chemistry such as structural biology, biochemistry, or computational protein chemistry, with a grade point average equivalent to C or better. Previous experience in one or more of the techniques or subject areas mentioned above is required to be eligible for the position.

Both a strong academic record and a genuine interest in conducting research are essential to qualify for the position. This must be demonstrated by your Master’s thesis, academic record, and other application materials (see below).

The applicant must be able to document proficiency in English, either as a native language, via undergraduate education in a Nordic or certain other countries, or by test scores as described below. Proficiency in a Scandinavian language will be favoured due to teaching obligations.

The candidate’s potential for research, motivation and personal suitability for the position will be emphasized.

As many as possible should have the opportunity to undertake organized research training. If you already hold a PhD or have equivalent competence, we will not appoint you to this position.

Admission to the PhD programme

For employment in the PhD position, you must be qualified for admission to the PhD programme at the Faculty of Science and Technology and participate in organized doctoral studies within the employment period.

Admission normally requires:

  • A bachelor's degree of 180 ECTS and a master's degree of 120 ECTS, or an integrated master's degree of 300 ECTS.
  • A master's thesis with a scope corresponding to at least 30 ECTS for a master's degree of 120 ECTS.
  • A master's thesis with a scope corresponding to at least 20 ECTS for an integrated master's degree of 300 ECTS.

To gain admission to the programme, the applicant must have a grade point average of C or better for the master’s degree and for relevant subjects of the bachelor’s degree. A more detailed description of admission requirements can be found here.

Applicants with a foreign education will be subjected to an evaluation of whether the educational background is equal to Norwegian higher education, following national guidelines from NOKUT.

If you are employed in the position, you will be provisionally admitted to the PhD programme. Application for final admission must be submitted no later than two months after taking up the position.

Inclusion and diversity

UiT The Arctic University i Norway is working actively to promote equality, gender balance and diversity among employees and students, and to create an inclusive and safe working environment. We believe that inclusion and diversity is a strength and we want employees with different competencies, professional experience, life experience and perspectives.

If you have a disability, a gap in your CV or immigrant background, we encourage you to tick the box for this in your application. If there are qualified applicants, we invite least one in each group for an interview. If you get the job, we will adapt the working conditions if you need it. Apart from selecting the right candidates, we will only use the information for anonymous statistics.


Your application must include:

  • Cover letter explaining your motivation and research interests
  • CV
  • Diploma for Bachelor's and Master's degree
  • Transcript of grades/academic record for Bachelor's and Master's degree
  • Diploma Supplement for completed degrees from EU universities (and applicants from non-EU universities are advised to attach an explanation of the grading system)
  • If not otherwise exempt, documentation of English language proficiency for PhD-studies, with a recommended minimum score of 6.5 on each part of the IELTS test, or minimum scores of 22, 22, 22 and 25 (reading, listening, speaking and writing, respectively) on the TOEFL test
  • 2-3 references and/or letters of recommendation, including contact details
  • Copy (or links) to a Master’s thesis (representing at least 30 study points or one full semester load); see below if the Master’s degree is not yet complete.
  • A description of research performed and/or any other works (published or unpublished) which you wish to be considered. In cases of multiple authorship, your specific contributions must be described.

Qualification with a Master’s degree is required before commencement. For those who are near to completion of their Master’s degree, submit a draft version of the thesis and a letter from your university confirming the planned date of examination. You must have fulfilled all requirements (and passed all examinations) for the Master's degree before the planned commencement date.

All documentation to be considered must be in a Scandinavian language or English. Diplomas and transcripts must also be submitted in the original language, if not in English or a Scandinavian language. We only accept applications and documentation sent via Jobbnorge within the application deadline.


The assessment will emphasize academic performance, motivation and personal suitability for the position. You must be willing to engage in the ongoing development of your discipline and the university as a whole. During the assessment process, emphasis will be put on your potential for research, as shown by the Master’s thesis and other academic work, relevant research experience and academic performance and teaching experience and/or qualifications. Teaching experience and/or qualifications will be considered an advantage. In addition, we may consider work experience or other activities of significance for the PhD studies.

General information

The appointment is made in accordance with State regulations and guidelines at UiT. At our website, you will find more information for applicants.

A shorter period of appointment may be decided when the PhD Fellow has already completed parts of their research training programme or when the appointment is based on a previous qualifying position PhD Fellow, research assistant, or the like in such a way that the total time used for research training amounts to three years.

Remuneration for the position of PhD Fellow is in accordance with the State salary scale code 1017. A compulsory contribution of 2 % to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund will be deducted.

More practical information for working and living in Norway can be found here: Welcome to UiT! We process personal data given in an application or CV in accordance with the Personal Data Act (Offentleglova). According to Offentleglova information about the applicant may be included in the public applicant list, also in cases where the applicant has requested non-disclosure. You will receive advance notification in the event of such publication, if you have requested non-disclosure.

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