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DNA origami-based nanoswitches for continuous sensing

Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Centre (iNANO)

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Prof Kurt Gothelf No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

PhD fellowship at Aarhus University in DNA origami-based nanoswitches for continuous sensing

Applications are invited for a PhD fellowship/scholarship in “DNA origami-based nanoswitches for continuous sensing” at Aarhus University, Denmark. . The project will be carried out in the research group of Professor Kurt Vesterager Gothelf at the Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center (iNANO) and Department of Chemistry. The position is available from Summer/Autumn, 2021.

Research area and project description:

A PhD fellowship is open for a motivated, creative, and flexible student who is interested in conducting research within the interdisciplinary fields of DNA Nanotechnology and sensing technology. The PhD programme is fully funded by CONSENSE, which is an Innovative Training Network (ITN) under the European Commission's prestigious Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions research fellowship programme.

The overall aim of the CONSENSE network, which will enrol up to 14 PhD students, is to train scientists in molecular engineering, optical detection technologies, and integration of these for realizing continuous-monitoring biosensors that will enable personal monitoring in healthcare applications. Two PhD students in the network will be employed in the group of Prof. Kurt Gothelf at Aarhus University and they will participate in joint training and research activities with other students in the ITN.

The aim of the project is to design and functionalize DNA nanostructures for continuous sensing of clinically relevant biomolecules. In particular, the project will focus on using the DNA origami technique, which is excellent for forming large nanostructures of arbitrary shapes and they have great potential for sensing and amplification of the readout. One of the major drawbacks of DNA origami is the lack of stability under physiological conditions, in particular in biological fluids such as blood and serum. Therefore, another aim of the project is to develop methods for stabilization of DNA origami while the functionality of the structure is preserved. The project further involves conjugation of antibodies and other proteins to DNA and integration of such biomolecules in DNA origami. The ultimate aim is to integrate the origami nanoswitches into solid- state devices in collaboration with other partners in the network. 

Application procedure and deadlines:

The application procedure contains two steps:

Applicants must send an application to: [Email Address Removed] containing:

  • a motivation letter,
  • a CV (including date of birth, nationality),
  • two letters of recommendation,
  • certificates, and transcripts of grades.
  • The deadline for the initial application is March 15, 2021.

Selected candidates from step 1 will be invited for an online interview with Professor Gothelf March/ April 2021 and potentially a site visit.

The selected candidate, for which funding is secured, will then apply to the Graduate School of Natural Sciences, Aarhus University at May 1, 2021 for enrolment on August 1, 2021.

For further information, please contact Professor Kurt Gothelf by email ([Email Address Removed]) writing “Position ITN 7” in the subject line, and/or visit the homepage of the research group, and the CONSENSE network

Qualifications and specific requirements

The applicant for this project should hold a master degree (or equivalent) in chemistry, molecular biology, nanoscience or related sciences. The applicant should ideally have practical experience in molecular biology techniques and organic chemistry. In accordance with the rules specified for multipartner Marie Sklodowska Curie ITNs, only candidates that are from a different country than the host (Denmark) or have stayed in the host country for less than 12 months during the past 3 years is eligible for the position. Furthermore, to be eligible applicants should have less than 4 years research experience to qualify for the position.

Place of employment and place of work:

The PhD project will be supervised by Professor Kurt Gothelf at iNANO at Aarhus University. The research group has strong competences in organic chemistry, bioconjugation, DNA nanotechnology and biosensors and consists of approximately 10 PhD students, a number of post docs, master students and younger students. iNANO, Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center (, was established in 2002 and at present is a major research and education center based at Aarhus University hosting 60 senior scientists, ~100 post docs and ~100 PhD students. The center combines expertise and faculty from Physics, Chemistry, Molecular biology and Medicine to carry out world-class interdisciplinary research in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology. The center gives access to a broad range of infrastructure, tools and expertise. With a 5-year undergraduate nanotechnology program and nanoscience graduate program ( the center provides a full educational environment. In addition to the large base of basic research, the center has a large number of ongoing industrial projects and partnerships.

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

Funding Notes

Innovative Training Network (ITN) under the European Commission's prestigious Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions research fellowship programme
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