PhD in Biotechnology

Faculty of Natural Sciences

PhD in Biotechnology

Two PhD candidates doing an experiment in the lab. Photo

PhD programme in Biotechnology

About the programme

The Department of Biotechnology and Food Science is responsible for the major research area biotechnology. Research is performed in cooperation between departmental and external research groups. Both basic and applied research topics are addressed.

The Department of Biotechnology and Food Science offers 13 courses on the PhD level.


Research areas

  • Biopolymer chemistry and bio-nanotechnology
  • Genetics
  • Determination of polysaccharide primary structure
  • Enzymatic, chemical and physical modification of polysaccharides
  • Determination of conformation in solution and gel phase
  • Interactions between polysaccharides and ions, enzymes, antigens, DNA and RNA
  • Non-viral gene delivery using chitosans
  • Nanostructure, phase behaviour and rheology in biopolymer gels, films, emulsions and suspensions
  • Alginate based capsule technology for treatment of diabetes
  • New experimental methods for characterization of polysaccharides
  • New biomedical and pharmaceutical applications of alginates, chitosans, gelatine, sphagnan, beta glucans, glycoproteins and proteoglycans
  • Capsule- and gel technology applied in food


Marine biochemistry/mariculture

  • Production of fatty acids (DHA) in marine microorganisms
  • Marine biopolymers – from raw material to biological applications
  • Fish gelatins: Properties and modifications
  • New antibiotics from marine bacteria
  • Capsule- and gel technology in feed technology

Molecular genetics/Microbiology

  • Studies of the mechanism for plasmid replication, construction of cloning vectors and analysis of recombinant protein expression
  • Genetic analysis of the production of antibiotics in bacteria
  • Studies of molecular mechanisms for cellular osmoregulation
  • The genetics of alginate biosynthesis and function studies of the enzyme structures
  • Oil microbiology
  • Development of new plasmid tools for use in bioprospecting
  • Microbial producers of bioactive agents from the marine environment

Biochemical engineering

  • Production of secondary metabolites in bacteria
  • Microbiological aspects in food science
  • Microbial production of lysine from methanol

Food chemistry

  • Superchilling
  • Utilization of Calanus
  • Using NMR to study water and salt during salting of fish and meat
  • Application of NMR for determination of food authenticity
  • Lipid oxidation
  • Ethical slaughtering of white fish
  • Production of stable marine oils

Environmental biotechnology/Microbial ecology

  • Biofilm formation and biofouling
  • Gel-immobilized microbial ecosystems
  • Anaerobic fermentation of organic material
  • Directing microbial environment in marine aquaculture
  • Mechanisms for bacterial colonization and directing microbial environment in marine aquaculture
  • Structure and stability in natural pelagic ecosystems


Research divisions at the Department of Biotechnology and Food Science

Research Divisions

Analysis and Control of Microbial Systems

Contact Person: Olav Vadstein

  • Environmental Biotechnology
  • Microbial Ecology

Principal Investigators: Ingrid Bakke, Olav Vadstein

Biopolymers and Biomaterials

Contact Person: Berit Løkensgard Strand

  • Applications of Biopolymers and Biomaterials
  • Carbohydrate Based Biomaterials
  • Carbohydrate Structure–Function Relationships
  • Enzymatic and Chemical Tailoring of Biopolymers

Principal Investigators: Berit Løkensgard StrandBjørn E. Christensen, Catherine Taylor NordgårdFinn L. Aachman, Gudmund Skjåk-Bræk, Kurt Draget, Marit Sletmoen

Food Science

Division Leader: Jørgen Lerfall

  • Quality of raw materials and products, including quality changes through processing
  • Marine lipids, proteins and peptides, biopolymers, metabolites and pigments
  • Shelf life and food chain knowledge
  • Stability of marine lipids
  • Food safety, food microbiology, biofilms, hygienic design and development of hygienic processing equipment
  • Rest raw materials, new raw materials (seaweed) and sustainable production

Principal Investigators:  Turid Rustad, Anita Nordeng Jakobsen, Alexander Dikiy, Jørgen Lerfall, Eva Falch, Lisbeth Mehli, Eirin Marie Skjøndal Bar, Ida-Johanne Jensen, Marcin Kurek

Microbial Biotechnology

Division Leader: Trygve Brautaset

  • Alginate Biosynthesis
  • Bioenergy
  • Controlled Expression of Genes and Pathways
  • Metabolomics, Fluxomics
  • Synthetic Biology
  • Systems - Network Biology

Principal Investigators: Eivind Almaas, Martin F. Hohmann-MarriottHelga Ertesvåg, Per BruheimRahmi Lale, Trygve Brautaset


National research centre


Centre for Digital Life Norway

Centre for Digital Life Norway is a unique transdisciplinary research centre creating the biotechnology for tomorrow. The aim is to evolve new knowledge and methods to create value and address societal challenges.


More information about research at the Department of Biotechnology and Food Science

PhD education

PhD education

A Philosophiae doctor degree (PhD) is the highest level of formalized education in Norway. The goal of a PhD education is to enable the candidate to conduct original research at a high international level.

The PhD degree is awarded after examination of a thesis. The original contribution to knowledge required of candidates must be consistent with at least three years of supervised research and significant parts of the work should be worthy of publication at international levels.

The PhD candidate will be able to solve complex research problems independently using creative solutions that will have a social and economic impact on society.


PhD biotechnology


Degree: Philosophiae doctor (PhD)
Duration: 3 years, 180 ECTS
Programme code: PHBIOT
Language of instruction: English

City: Trondheim
Faculty: Faculty of Natural Sciences
Department: Department of Biotechnology and Food Science
Contact person: Maja C. Haaker

Useful PhD links

Blog posts about PhD studies


My PhD - Blog posts

- Technology and natural sciences