Analysis of food processing products in cocoa

Jacobs University Bremen is a private, state-recognized, English-language research university, offering Bachelor, Master or PhD programs in the focus areas Health, Mobility and Diversity. The guiding principles are first class research and teaching, international diversity and transdisciplinary cooperation. Jacobs University’s goal is to prepare young talents from all around the world to take on the new challenges in today’s globalized workplace. Currently, more than 1,300 students from over 100 nations live and study on the residential campus.

The department of Life Science & Chemistry in the focus area Health at Jacobs University invites applications for a

PhD position in Analytical Chemistry (f/m) – (Full-time and limited for three years)

Analysis of food processing products in cocoa


The collaborative project COMETA (COcoa METAbolism) analyzes the precise chemical composition of cocoa beans from various origins and their chemistry in the various cocoa processing steps. The overarching goal is to develop new rapid quality tests for cocoa classification, processing, and planning requirements for raw materials and processing conditions controlling all aspects of the final product. This project bridges cutting edge research areas, including Microbiology, Analytical Chemistry, and Systems Biology, with direct industrial applications in a unique, highly interdisciplinary framework.

The aim of the PhD project is the elucidation of chemical mechanisms behind cocoa processing and identification of compounds defining the characteristics of the final products in particular colour, processibility, flavor and aroma.

Tasks and responsibilities

  • Extraction and purification of cocoa samples
  • Chemical analysis by LC-MS of cocoa products
  • Identification and structure elucidation of processing products
  • Identification of processing step-specific chemical and metabolic markers
  • Reconstruction of a processing model including the relevant chemical and metabolic reactions for the quality indicators starting from the identified markers


  • MSc degree (or equivalent) in chemistry or biochemistry
  • Solid knowledge of mechanistic organic chemistry, analytical methods and biochemistry
  • Strong problem solving skills
  • Creativity
  • Experience in handling high-throughput and highly complex data is an advantage
  • Knowledge of analytical chemistry and structure elucidation
  • Experience with LC-MS instrumentation is an advantage
  • Ability to work in an interdisciplinary environment and good communication skills including fluent in spoken and written English
  • Willingness to travel

What we offer

We offer an innovative, multidisciplinary, and dynamic research environment with a strong international profile and close connections to industry partners. The PhD position is available for a period of three years.

How to apply

Letters of application must be received by August 31st, 2015, for consideration. Interested candidates are encouraged to submit a CV, contact details of two references and a short letter of motivation electronically to: Prof. Nikolai Kuhnert and Dr. Roy D´Souza ( Please, feel free to contact us for informal inquiries and additional information.

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Jacobs University is an equal opportunity employer.