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Molecular Biology and Genetics

PhD programme for the Department of Molecular Biology & 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.

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 Molecular 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 microdissection, microarray.


Bioinformatics focuses on developing computational methods for collecting, handling and analyzing biological data. Research ranges from formulating models and theories about biological systems, to constructing algorithms and developing computer programs, and requires expertise in many traditional disciplines. Bioinformatics has a strong emphasis on molecular evolution, molecular population genetics, and statistical and algorithmic approaches to bioinformatics, and our research spans from addressing purely theoretical questions, to program development, applications and empirical collaborations.

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.

International collaboration:

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, http://www.egsabg.eu/).

Geographic location:

The PhD programme is associated with the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, which is situated at four locations in or close to the Aarhus University campus: “Biokæden”, C. F. Møllers Allé 130 and Forskerparken, Gustav Wieds Vej 10c, iNANO, Gustav Wieds Vej 14 and Biomedicine, Ole Worms Allé 8. More information about the locations.

Approx. number of PhD students:


Current list of PhD students at the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics

Latest PhD defences at the  Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics

Information for PhD students enrolled in the PhD programme  

Whom to contact

If you have any questions, both in connection with your start at the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics (MBG), but also in general, please feel free to contact the Head of MBG's PhD Programme Committee or the PhD student secretary (please see below) who can answer your questions, or help you further. 

Local Programme Secretary, Molecular Biology

Helle Homann

Department Secretary

Advisory committee

All PhD students from the MBG PhD programme must have an advisory committee. The committee consists of the supervisor, and at least two other members, one of which must be a member of the scientific staff who is not involved in the project. This staff member may be a person from the Department and does not have to be 'external'.

The size of the committee is not limited, so any co-supervisor or daily supervisor is welcome to participate.

The committee should meet with the student at least every six months. The Qualifying exam can count as a meeting.

Please inform Helle Homann (heho@mbg.au.dk) about the members of your advisory committee and report to her the date when you have held a meeting.

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