News From The Group

Associate Professor Karina K. Sand receive 9.9 mio DKK from VILLUM FONDEN

The YOUNG INVESTIGATOR GRANT funds my project on

Distribution of antibiotic resistance genes in the environment: The role of mineral facilitated horizontal gene transfer

Abstract:  Antibiotic resistance genes are propagated to most of our environments at a rate we did not predict. I find that minerals serve as unrecognised hotspots for propagation. Minerals can enhance the gene lifetime, transport them across environments and facilitate their transfer to bacteria. I aim to investigate these processes and build the necessary foundation for preventing further spread of antibiotic resistance in our environments.

With this grant I will start building my own group and labs at the National History Museum and join the Center for GeoGenetics.



PhD Position Avaliable

The position

Your background should be in a quantitative science or engineering, in physics, chemistry, mineralogy, materials science, geochemistry, hydrogeology, biochemistry, engineering, mathematics or other – it does not matter – but we expect you to be competent with physics, chemistry and mathematics.  An interest in surface science or materials and their interactions in nature is important.

No experience is required but keen interest and a drive for solving problems is essential, as is enthusiasm for working in a team with scientists and engineers from other disciplines and other cultures. Facility with English is essential.

To fulfill the university requirements for this position, the candidate must have, or soon have, a degree that permits him/her to enter a PhD program. This might be a Masters degree, a “diplome”, an Honours Bachelor or 4 year Bachelor, or equivalent (i.e. experience in research or other). The successful candidate must not have a PhD.

The position will preferably start in late spring or summer of 2018. In a special case, for a perfect candidate, there is a possibility to hold the position for a few months.

The research scope

The successful candidate will work in a team that crosses disciplines, i.e. behaviour and properties of materials and the preservation of archaeologic artefacts. The ability of organic material to adhere to mineral surfaces is of importance in biomineralisation, the processes by which organisms make hard parts such as teeth, bone and shells, and these materials form an important tool for archaeologists in understanding the past. In order to get full benefit of the information trapped in these materials, it is essential to understand the mechanisms that got them there and keep them there.

The main goal of the PhD project is to understand the interaction of organic compounds, especially proteins or fragments of proteins, with mineral surfaces. The research questions include: “Can we understand the molecular level processes that control the behaviour of organic compounds on mineral surfaces?, “What conditions are optimal” and “What can be predicted about the long term behaviour?”

The research team and facilities

The research will benefit from the close interaction of scientists and engineers across a number of disciplines from two divisions of the University of Copenhagen.  Prof. S. Stipp, leader of NanoGeoScience, a part of the Nano-Science Centre is working with Prof. M. Collins, in the Evolutionary Genomics Section, Natural History Museum. The expertise in these complementary groups will help solve some long standing questions about how organic materials interact with inorganic solids common in nature. Both groups are large, with excellent international reputations for leading edge research and broad international networks.

The NanoGeoScience team specialises in using nanotechniques to investigate solid-fluid interface reactivity with expertise and equipment that is unique in the world. The main techniques include scanning electron microscopy (SEM) with focussed ion beam (FIB) sectioning, cryo sample handling and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDXS), atomic force microscopy (AFM) including chemical force and infrared (IR) mapping, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) also in cryo mode, and we are frequent users of computational resources for molecular modelling and synchrotron radiation (SR) facilities, particularly for X-ray micro and nanotomography imaging.

The Palaeoproteomics team works in a scientific environment that has developed a reputation for the study of ancient DNA and proteins, where there is access to state of the art facilities for preparation, analysis and interpretation of ancient proteins. More information about the Palaeoproteomics team, expertise and analytical facilities can be found on the website.

Our expectations about you, as a person

The research groups are dynamic, international and multidisciplinary. It is an exciting environment. We are looking for candidates with motivation, energy and creativity. We expect that you like to be part of a team, that you have a sense of humour, you are a good problem solver, enjoy helping others and that you are also able to work effectively and independently. You are interested in the behaviour of natural materials and are enthusiastic about learning more. You are also excited about fundamental science and applying the results to solve practical questions of interest to society. Because the groups and the research questions are interdisciplinary, we are looking for people who are open minded, excited about absorbing new information across disciplines and curious about applying their skills in new ways.

About a third of those you would work with would be Danish and the rest come from the rest of the world. Therefore daily interaction is in English. We are about half women and half men and we aim to keep this diversity. The Nano-Science Center, the Evolutionary Genetics Section, The Natural History Museum and the University of Copenhagen aim to have its members reflect the diversity of science and society, so we look forward to your application regardless of your gender, your age, your religion or your ethnic background.

Employment conditions

The start date for the position is flexible. To get the right candidate, we are willing to fill it immediately or to wait for a few months.  Please indicate in your application, your choice of start date. Note that this will not affect whom we choose. Salary and employment conditions are set by agreements between the Danish Finance Ministry and the relevant trade union and are determined from your education and experience.

A PhD salary in Denmark lasts exactly 36 months.  It requires taking courses, some teaching and research equivalent to three first author papers or two first author and two coauthor papers. Attendance at scientific meetings and efforts in public outreach are also required.

The candidate must be in possession of a degree or qualifications that admit him/her to a PhD program at the time the employment contract begins. It is not necessary to have completed this education at the time of application. Scientists who already have a PhD or doctorate are not eligible.

To apply

If you have not already done so, you must read this full announcement. It is critical that you know about the project and that you include in your application, all of the information that is requested.

Requirements for the application are listed below. Applications that are incomplete or that have not been prepared with consideration of these requirements will not be considered. Please do not use the European Commission standard CV form.  We find that it requests too much detail for topics that are unimportant and misses some of the important aspects of your background.  There are websites and books that explain the basics of a good CV.

Please include information about when you would like to begin or when you expect to complete the education that provides you access to a PhD program (such as a Masters degree, a Diplome, an Honours Bachelor degree, a 4 year Bachelor degree or some other equivalent).

Applications that lack one or more of the following parts will not be considered:

  1.  your CV (and if you have any publications, please include the publication information for them)
  2.  names and contact information for 3 references
  3.  a copy of your list of courses and grades from your bachelor (and your masters as far as it is available); a copy is sufficient; an official translation is not necessary at this stage
  4.  no more than a half page about your research interests, and
  5.  no more than one page explaining why you would like to join us and what you have to offer the project. You may use this statement as your cover letter if you wish.

Candidates selected for the short list might be asked for further information, or an interview, or both.

Your application must be submitted directly on the University of Copenhagen web site.  Follow the link http://employment.ku.dk/all-vacancies/?show=146608

Do NOT send your application by email. It must be submitted through the official University of Copenhagen, Human Resources site or it cannot be considered.

Deadline for submission is on or before 23 March 2018.

ARTiS Award Ceremony 2017

You are invited to attend the ARTiS prize ceremony on Friday 24th November! The event will start at 16.30, with the prizes being announced at 17.00. The event will finish at 19.00. Everyone welcome.


Kim competes in the World Championships of Coastal Rowing

Our very own Kim has been training hard at Svanemøllen with her crew to compete in the World Championships in the women’s quad. Coastal Rowing involves rowing in the ocean, or in this case a large lake, where there are waves, winds and currents. The course is over 6 km with many turns- over ten turns in this years course. The sport is characterised by lots of crashes at the turns, which results in broken oars,  boats taking the wrong course and lots of yelling.

You can replay all the live action here:

Earliest evidence of life on Earth

Tue and a team of researchers from NanoGeoScience (Martin, Kim), the Natural History Museum of Denmark (Minik Rosing) and DTU (David) have used a new technique to examine what is potentially the oldest evidence of life on Earth. The samples, from Greenland, we analyzed with the new NanoIR, and the results are now published in Nature and received international attention.

The CarbFix project in The New York Times

Journalists from The New York Times were present during the drilling at the CarbFix site in Iceland. In October and November last year scientists from Iceland, USA, France and Denmark collected drill core samples looking for carbonate minerals.

The CarbFix project aims at storing CO2 as solids in the basaltic subsurface of Iceland. CarbFix is a pilot field experiment in which a mixture of CO2 and water was injected into a basaltic rock formation. This carbonated water dissolve the basaltic rock, releasing divalent cations such as Ca which combine with CO2 and water to form carbonate minerals. The CO2 was supplied from the Hellisheiði power plant located in southwest Iceland. Samples were collected before and after the injection. In collaboration with other research groups, the NanoGeo group is currently trying to identify the carbonate minerals formed as a result of the CO2 injection.

The New York Times published an article with a video called “Burying a Mountain of CO2”.



Winner of the Nobel Crystal Ball event: W. S. Broecker by Kim N. Dalby

In an effort to inspire scientists, young and old, to be more involved and aware of the Nobel Prize, the Department of Chemistry at the University of Copenhagen held the very first Nobel Crystal Ball event. A week before the winner was announced, seven scientists from each section in Chemistry were given 8 minutes to present the candidate(s) they thought should, or would, win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry this year. The NanoGeoScience group presented a scientist who identified one of the biggest challenges facing mankind today – climate change. Wallace S. Broecker, with his expertise in 14C dating and global ocean chemistry, developed the idea of a Great Ocean Conveyer, where ocean currents circulate around the globe. Wally predicted that if this conveyer was modified, then global temperatures would also change and on a very rapid time scale (40-80 years). Wally’s prediction has been confirmed by analysis of several ice cores from Antarctica. The NanoGeoscience group thought that Wally was a worthy candidate because his discoveries had major implications, not only for how we understand climate, the C cycle and the need for CO2 sequestration, but also for the health of society and our way of life.

Despite being voted by the audience as the candidate most likely to win the Prize this year, Wally did not prevail. This year, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded jointly to Eric Betzig, Stefan W. Hell and William E. Moerner “for the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy” (www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/chemistry/laureates/2014/). Their clever work now means that we can get around the Abbe limit of 0.2 micrometers in an optical light microscope and by using fluorescence, it is now possible to image in real time, “the interplay between individual molecules inside cells; they can observe disease-related proteins aggregate and they can track cell division at the nano level”(www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/chemistry/laureates/2014/popular-chemistryprize2014.pdf).

Match making

The NanoGeoScience group was well represented at the match making event for NanoScience- and physics students.

We had a lot of interesting conversations about our research and got young students interested in joining us for their bachelor/master projects.

IMG_20141003_141508 IMG_20141003_141528
IMG_20141003_135201 IMG_20141003_135157


The proud football team of the NanoGeoScience Group

During the tournament at the Chemistry Department our team managed to be second best in Group 2. Against the inorganic chemists we sadly lost 0-1, against the atmospheric chemists we won 3-0 and at last we also won against the nanos 2-0.
In the semifinals against Michael Bols’ team we lost in penalty shootout, however our team did a brave fight to the end. Bols’ team ended out to be the winner of the tournament.


Photo provided by: Liv Klein

CarbFix cited as an European commission success story – Horizon 2020

An EU-funded project (CarbFix) has demonstrated technology to shorten the time carbon takes to mineralise underground – from thousands of years down to a few. Storing captured CO2 underground is made safer – opening the door to its wider use in preventing global warming.

Read the full communication:

Related links:
[1] http://ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020/en/news/horizon-2020-brief-eu-framework-programme-research-innovation
[2] http://ec.europa.eu/research