Environmental sterols as molecular precursors for endocrine disruptors

Applications are invited for a PhD fellowship/scholarship at Graduate School of Science and Technology, Aarhus University, Denmark, within the Environmental Science programme. The position is available from 1 February 2018 or later.


Title:
Environmental sterols as molecular precursors for endocrine disruptors


Research area and project description:
This PhD project is a cross-disciplinary research project within the areas of environmental chemistry, environmental analytical chemistry, environmental microbiology and environmental toxicology.

Our hypothesis is: natural substances, originating from man-made agroecosystems, act as molecular precursors for potent environmental endocrine disruptors. Therefore, we aim to investigate if environmental transformation processes, such as photolysis and biodegradation, can convert sterols into steroid hormones.

Sterols, such as b-sitosterol and cholesterol, are detected at concentrations of up to 92 µg/L in lake water and 30 mg/kg in agricultural soils. It is well known from medical drug production that a great number of microorganisms, such as Nocardia and Pseudomonas species, are capable of metabolizing sterol substances into steroid hormones. These aerobic and anaerobic microorganisms are omnipresent in nearly all ecosystems. The work focuses on the abiotic and biotic chemical transformation processes acting on sterols using standardized lab-scale testing procedures and controlled microcosm ecosystems. It will be possible to include field-scale agroecosystems in the study. Environmental analytical chemistry methods such as liquid chromatography and gas chromatography-based high-resolution mass spectrometry will be applied. A six months out-going research stay at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), Germany is tentatively planned.


Qualifications and specific competences:
Applicants to the PhD position must have a relevant Master’s degree in Environmental chemistry, environmental toxicology, environmental chemistry and health, environmental microbiology, environmental analytical chemistry or environmental science.


Place of Employment and Place of Work:
The place of employment is Aarhus University, and the place of work is Department of Environmental Science, Environmental Endocrine Disruptors Lab, Frederiksborgvej 399, 4000-Roskilde, Denmark. 


Contacts:
Applicants seeking further information are invited to contact: Senior Researcher Martin Hansen (martin.hansen@envs.au.dk) or Professor Lars Hestbjerg Hansen (lhha@envs.au.dk).


Application procedures


Before you apply

Information and attachments:

Please be aware that you must have all relevant appendices, attachments, addresses for referees, etc. ready when you apply, as the entire application must be uploaded to the system in one go.

Documentation of language skills:

The English language requirement at Graduates School of Science and Technology is comparable to an “English B level” in the Danish upper secondary school (“gymnasium”).

English language qualifications comparable to an “English B level” is documented by one of the following tests:

  • TOEFL test, minimum score: 560 (paper-based test) or 83 (internet-based test). Aarhus University does not accept the TOEFL ITP test. Aarhus University’s TOEFL code is 8935. You must request that the test centre send your test results to Aarhus University, in order to enable verification of your test results.
  • IELTS (academic) test, minimum average score: 6.5 points
  • Cambridge English Language Assessment:
    Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency (CPE)
    Cambridge English: Certificate of Advanced English with grade A,B or C (CAE)
    Cambridge English: First Certificate  with grade A (FCE)

When to take the test and how to upload the documentation:
The test result must not be more than two years old at the time of application.

The English language test should be taken before applying for admission and uploaded under “language skills documentation” in the online application form.

It is possible to apply for admission before you have taken the test. In this case documentation stating that you have signed up for a test (please state expected submission date) must be uploaded. If the test result is not part of the original application the test result is to be sent to sphd@psys.au.dk no later than one month after the application deadline.

The following applicants are exempted from documenting their English qualifications/taking a test:

  • Applicants with citizenship from the following countries: Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States, or one of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway or Sweden).
  • Applicants with a Bachelor’s or Master’s programme completed in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom, or United States. In this case, please upload your Bachelor’s or Master’s diploma under the section ”Language skills documentation”.
  • Applicants with a Bachelor’s or Master’s programme completed at Aarhus University for which the requirement was English B level at the time of admission. In this case, please upload your Bachelor’s or Master’s diploma under the section”Language skills documentation”.
  • Applicants able to document that English was the language of instruction during the whole period of their Bachelor’s and/or Master’s programme. This must be documented by uploading an official document from the institution stating this under “language skills documentation”. The onus is on the applicant to provide this information as GSST will not pursue information regarding language of instruction for any programmes or institutions.

The programme committee may request further information or invite the applicant to attend an interview.


How to apply:

1)      Find the application form:
Go to http://talent.au.dk/phd/scienceandtechnology/opencalls/
Choose November 2017 Call with deadline 1 November 2017 at 11.59 PM MET.
You will be directed to the call, and must choose the programme 'Environmental Science'

2)      Fill in the following information:

  • Personal information
  • Academic background
  • Admission
  • Financing (if any)
  • Study: In the dropdown menu you must choose the project: "Environmental sterols as molecular precursors for endocrine disruptors"
  • Source (how you found out about the call)

Next to some of the information fields you will find a number. Click on the number to get further directions on how to fill in the information field/what information is needed.

3)      Application attachments:
Please be aware that you cannot submit the application if one or several of these documents have not been uploaded.

If you wish to upload more than one document under each section, you must scan/merge all documents into one large PDF file and upload this. Please note that we reserve the right to remove scientific papers, large reports, theses and the like. Instead you can indicate a URL where the information is available.

Please note that all information in the application must be in Danish or English.

As a minimum all applications must include (pdf-files only, max. 20 MB, no zip):

  • One reference (template for references)
  • Curriculum vitae,
  • Motivation (max. 1 page)
  • Transcripts and diploma(s)
  • Project description (½-4 pages). This document should describe your ideas and research plans for this specific project. If you wish to, you can indicate an URL where further information can be found. Please note that we reserve the right to remove scientific papers, large reports, theses and the like.
  • Documentation of language skills if required.

After submission of the application, you will receive a confirmation e-mail with an application ID, you should use for reference if needed. The e-mail will also include a link to the application – GSST urges you to check that all mandatory data, marked with an asterisk (*), is registered correctly and all attached files are readable. In case of significant errors, you should reply to the confirmation e-mail with the correct details before the application deadline.

GSST reserves the right to verify the authenticity of your educational diploma and transcripts:

  • Request additional information to verify an application.
  • Reject the application if it is proven, or if the University has reasonable belief, that the information provided is false or if the applicant refuses to provide the requested information, whether or not an offer has already been made. 
  • For further information on applying, assessment procedures, etc. please see the GSST application guide here  

Please note:

  • The programme committee may request further information or invite the applicant to attend an interview.
  • The project will only be initiated if final funding (from GSST/the faculty) is secured.

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