Lund University, Faculty of Engineering, Dept of food technology

Lund University was founded in 1666 and is repeatedly ranked among the world’s top 100 universities. The University has 40 000 students and 7 600 staff based in Lund, Helsingborg and Malmö. We are united in our efforts to understand, explain and improve our world and the human condition.

LTH forms the Faculty of Engineering at Lund University, with approximately 9 000 students. The research carried out at LTH is of a high international standard and we are continuously developing our teaching methods and adapting our courses to current needs.

The Department of Food Technology, Engineering and Nutrition conducts research focused on food engineering, nutrition and formulation engineering. Formulation engineering describes the relation between composition, structure and quality for complex systems of relevance to food, pharma and other comparable consumption products.

Project description

Project title: The encapsulating matrix of freeze dried Lactobacillus Cultures

The study is aimed to identify critical factors for microbiological viability and probiotic functionality of Lactobacillus strains after preservation and storage using freeze drying process technology focusing on the formulation of the encapsulating matrix. The preliminary hypothesis is that the ice crystal formation should be under control and the cryo-protecting functionality of the components is important. It is also assumed that the preservation of the glassy state in the frozen state in the dried matrix is beneficial for survival and probiotic functionality and that eventual phase separation in a complex cryo-protectant formulation can affect the stability. It has commonly been observed that complex freeze drying formulations improves the stability of the bacteria’s.

The methodology is focused on the drying process itself as well as the material aspects of the matrix (carbohydrates, proteins, lipids and salts). It includes SEM and tomography for characterization of the outer structure, x-ray crystallography to study amorphousness and crystallinity and calorimetry to study glass transition of the material. Furthermore, techniques such as Raman spectroscopy and FTIR can also be used to further gain information. Engineering and statistical calculations utilizing technical software (MatLab) is expected to be an integrated part of the project.

The project is a collaboration between the Department of Food Technology, Engineering and Nutrition and Division of Applied Microbiology at the Department of Chemistry and BioGaia AB. The PhD project will work closely together with another PhD students focusing on microbiology and biomarkers of probiotic efficiency in the parallel projects at Applied Microbiology and at SLU. The work duties also include some teaching, some of it is expected to be performed in Swedish, as well as other departmental duties.

Work duties
The main task of a PhD is to devote themselves to their research studies including both participation in research and postgraduate courses. The job can also involve the participation of teaching and other departmental work, but no more than 20% of the time. The PhD project will also be a collaboration in a platform for the production of probiotic bacteria in which the interaction takes place between the Department of Food Technology, Engineering and Nutrition, Division of Applied Microbiology, SLU and BioGaia.

Admission requirements
A person meets the general admission requirements for third-cycle courses and study programmes in Food- and Formulation engineering if he or she:

  • has been awarded a second-cycle exam, or
  • has satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits of which at least 60 credits were awarded in the second cycle, or
  • has acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad.

A person meets the specific admission requirements for third cycle studies in applied microbiology if he or she has:

  • at least 60 credits in subjects of specific relevance for the area of the subject
  • a thesis work of at least 30 credits on an advanced level with relevance to the subject.
  • completed their M.Sc. in Biotechnology (Sv. Civiligenjör i bioteknik), M.Sc. in Chemical engineering (Sv. Civiligenjör i kemiteknik),  or other relevant M. Sc. usually fulfill the requirements above.

Additional requirements:

  • Excellent oral and written proficiency in English.
  • Acceptable abilities in Swedish (oral and written)

Assessment criteria
Selection for third-cycle studies is based on the student’s potential to profit from such studies. The assessment of potential is made primarily on the basis of academic results from the first and second cycle. Special attention is paid to the following:

  1. Knowledge and skills relevant to the thesis project and the subject of study.
  2. An assessment of ability to work independently and to formulate and tackle research problems.
  3. Written and oral communication skills.
  4. Other experience relevant to the third-cycle studies, e.g. professional experience.
Other assessment criteria:
  • Ability to work in a larger project and to interact with industry
  • Education in colloid chemistry, formulation technology or material chemistry
  • Experience in calculations utilizing engineering software (MatLab)
  • Experience of optimization of freeze drying
  • Letters of recommendation from relevant persons/institutions
Consideration will also be given to good collaborative skills, drive and independence, and how the applicant, through his or her experience and skills, is deemed to have the abilities necessary for successfully completing the third cycle programme.

Terms of employment
A PhD position is an employment with the main duty to be engaged in PhD studies according to the study plan. The duration of PhD studies is 4 years full time studies. In addition, those appointed to doctoral student position may be required to work with educational tasks, research and technical/administrative duties at a level of at most 20% of full time. The position is then extended correspondingly, however not longer than corresponding to 5 years full time employment. PhD positions are subject to special regulations. These can be found in the Swedish Higher Education Ordinance (SFS 1993:100, ch. 5, with updates). Only those who are or have been admitted to PhD-studies may be appointed to PhD position. 

Instructions on how to apply
Applications shall be written in English and include a cover letter stating the reasons why you are interested in the position and in what way the research project corresponds to your interests and educational background. The application must also contain a CV, a copy of the applicant’s Master’s thesis (or a summary text if the thesis is not yet completed), contact details of at least two references, copies of grade certificates, and any other documents that the applicant wishes to refer to. In addition, the cover letter should clearly address the required experience. The English version of this announcement is an interpretation of national formalities expressed in the Swedish text. In case of uncertainties, the Swedish text applies.

Type of employment Temporary position longer than 6 months
First day of employment As soon as possible
Salary Monthly salary
Number of positions 1
Working hours 100 %
City Lund
County Skåne län
Country Sweden
Reference number PA2018/3052
  • Björn Bergenståhl, 046-2228310,
Union representative
  • OFR/ST:Fackförbundet ST:s kansli, 046-222 93 62
  • SACO:Saco-s-rådet vid Lunds universitet, 046-222 93 64
Published 13.Sep.2018
Last application date 04.Oct.2018 11:59 PM CET

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