Molecular Biology and Genetics

The programme:

The PhD programme ’Molecular Biology and Genetics’ comprises a large number of projects within molecular life sciences. Even though projects are not necessarily limited to the fields described below, the list gives a comprehensive overview of the activities at the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics:

  • Molecular Medicine: Molecular embryology and fertility, Retroviruses in tumorgenesis and as gene vectors, Neurobiology, Stem cells, Cell differentiation and development, Disease models in zebrafish, Ageing, Regulation by cytokines and peptides, Cell signalling, Regulation of cell function and differentiation by phosphate, Plasminogen activation, Molecular genetics, Genomic instability, DNA topology, RNA processing, mRNA control, Transcriptional regulation, Infectious patogenes. For information about the joint PhD programme in Molecular Medicine, see here
  • Structural Biology: Structure-function analysis, Macromolecular crystallography, Protein complexes, Translational apparatus, RNA regulation and processing, mRNA control, Membrane proteins, Primary and secondary transporters, Neuroreceptors, Carbohydrate and scavenger receptors, Calcium binding proteins, Cytokines and peptide hormones, Proteolytic enzymes, Innate immunity, Protein engineering.
  • Systems Biology: Animal and plant genome sequencing, Genome annotation, non coding RNA biology, MicroRNA biology, Genetic mapping of complex traits, Identification of disease genes, Disease models, Functional genomics, Molecular genetics, Epigenetics, Expression quantitative trait loci, Transcriptomics, Genetic and structural variation, Metagenomics, Bioinformatics
  • Plant Biology: Symbiotic nitrogen fixation, Plant development, Seed formation, Plant-microbe interaction, Genetics and genomics, Plant biotechnology, Molecular biological studies of cereals and grasses, Gene expression analysis, Biolistic and Agrobacterium-mediated transformation of barley and wheat, Transgenic plants, QTL analysis of perennial ryegrass with primary focus on flowering, cell wall composition and male sterility, Mechanisms behind the availability, utilization and metabolism of phosphate, nitrogen, starch, amino acids, minerals and cell walls, New cereal and grass varieties with improved properties for yield and use as feed, food and biomass for bioethanol production, Biomass production in wheat and ryegrass, BAC libraries, genetic mapping, microsatellite markers, laser capture micro dissection, microarray.
  • Quantitative Genetics: Quantitative and integrative genomics, Animal and plant breeding, Genomic selection, Statistical genetics, Genetic improvement and diversity, Genetic basis of complex traits and diseases, Genomic predictions, Selection and breed conservation programs, Phonemics, Integration of 'omics' data, Model organisms (mouse, Drosophila, Arabidopsis), animals (cattle, pigs, mink, aquaculture), plants (rye grass).

Read more about the research at the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics

Research facilities available:

The PhD programme in Molecular Biology and Genetics allows students to take advantage of a range of modern and advanced technologies in addition to standard molecular biology methodologies. Advanced methods include: Next generation sequencing, DNA array technology, greenhouses and controlled environment cabinets for growth of transgenic plants, stables for transgenic animals, mink breeding facilities, facilities for zebrafish, class 2 cell culture facilities, macromolecular x-ray crystallography, biophysics equipment for measurements of kinetic/equilibrium parameters, 3D molecular graphics, nano-drop macromolecular crystallization equipment, high resolution protein purification, fermentation, and large scale protein production.

Affiliated centres/departments:

The PhD programme is based at the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics and is affiliated with the following Danish National Research Foundation (Danmarks Grundforskningsfond) centres: Centre for mRNP Biogenesis and Metabolism, CARB - Centre for Carbohydrate Recognition and Signalling and PUMPkin - Centre for Membrane Pumps in Cells and Disease. Other centres at the department.

Examples of employment after graduation:

The Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics has a strong profile in basic research and a significant fraction of PhD students therefore continue with an academic career after completing their degree, usually as post docs in laboratories abroad. Many of these former students eventually return to Denmark as new group leaders at universities and other research institutions. A large part of the department also deals with applied research and candidates from these fields often find employment in the pharmaceutical or agricultural industries. Students from the PhD programme also work with teaching (higher education and high school) and in biotech companies in Denmark and abroad.

Geographic location:

The PhD programme is associated with the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, which is situated at two locations in the Aarhus University campus (“Biokæden”, C. F. Møllers Allé 130 and Forskerparken, Gustav Wieds Vej 10c) and at two external locations at the agricultural Research Centre Foulum near Viborg and AU Flakkebjerg near Slagelse.

International cooperation:

A large part of the projects of the PhD programme involve interaction between molecular biology and medicine and are therefore naturally carried out in collaboration with research groups at AU Health. These projects are mainly aimed at 1) understanding and preventing the development of diseases, 2) improving diagnostic methods based on a molecular understanding of human diseases, and/or 3) developing novel therapeutic approaches towards human diseases. Some projects focus on understanding protein function, because such knowledge is required for a molecular understanding of disease. Other projects focus at understanding disease at the level of the genome, or involve animal model systems. The PhD programme is a partner in the European Graduate School in Animal Breeding and Genetics (EGS-ABG,

Approx. number of PhD students: