PhD fellow in gut-brain signaling in the regulation of behavior

Updated: about 2 months ago
Deadline: 03 Dec 2020

Department of Biology
Faculty of Science

University of Copenhagen

 Department of Biology, Faculty of Science at University of Copenhagen is offering a PhD scholarship in investigating gut-brain signaling in the regulation of behavior commencing 15.02.2021 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Description of the scientific environment

The Rewitz lab at University of Copenhagen is currently on the lookout for a Ph.D.-student colleague! The lab is working intensively on aspects of endocrine regulation of development, metabolism, and behavior in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, and the projects for which we are recruiting students are in this area.

The Rewitz lab at the moment comprises Prof. Kim Rewitz (Principal Investigator), one Associate Professor, one Assistant Professor, one Ph.D. student, two research assistants, six Master's students, and a laboratory manager/technician. Prior experience with Drosophila genetics and behavior is a strong advantage. No preference will be given in any way to any aspect of the applicant's non-scientific background, including ethnicity, sex and identity, nationality, and so on.

Project description

Hormonal gut-brain communication that influences behavior

Gut health is important to mental well-being. Gut microbiota and intestinal health are linked to brain function and behavior, including emotional and cognitive processes that are affected by mental illnesses. Gut-to-brain communication is mediated, at least in part, by systemic signals that are secreted by cells of the gut into circulation; these affect the function of the central nervous system and thereby influence behavior. Many genes are predicted to encode secreted proteins, any of which might act as a hormonal factor signaling from the gut to the brain. We are conducting a large-scale, multi-readout RNAi screen of potential hormones to systematically uncover gut-derived factors that regulate brain function and behaviors associated with human psychiatric disorders. Among the evolutionarily conserved behavioral phenotypes we are assessing are sleep, activity, arousal, and anxiety-like effects. This project involves in-vivo RNAi screening and assessment of animal behaviors; CRISPR-mediated genomic manipulations; and follow-up studies on identified factors of interest through, e.g., genetic, metabolic, and imaging studies. The successful candidate will participate in aspects of the screen as well as the follow-up efforts.

Principal supervisor isProfessor, Kim Rewitz, Department of Biology,, Direct Phone: +45 6165 6026

Job description

The position is available for a 3-year period and your key tasks as a PhD student at SCIENCE are:

  • To manage and carry through your research project
  • Attend PhD courses
  • Write scientific articles and your PhD thesis
  • Teach and disseminate your research
  • To stay at an external research institution for a few months, preferably abroad
  • Work for the department

Formal requirements
We are looking for a highly motivated and ambitious person with the following qualifications:

  • M.Sc. in Biology, Molecular biosciences, Genetics, or other similar fields
  • Experience with genetics and molecular cell biology
  • Experience with invertebrate model organisms – Drosophila experience is a distinct advantage
  • Experience with behavioral analysis of sleep, activity, and feeding is a strong advantage
  • Experience with in-vivo tissue-specific genetic screening and CRISPR-based gene editing
  • Preference will be given to candidates with a record of peer-reviewed publications
  • Ability to communicate in written and spoken English is required
  • The successful candidate will bring good communication and interpersonal skills and be well-organized, independent, driven, and curious

Terms of employment

The position is covered by the Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff.

Terms of appointment and payment accord to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State.

The starting salary is currently at a minimum DKK 331,125 (approx. €43,750) including annual supplement (+ pension at a minimum DKK 53,811). Negotiation for salary supplement is possible.

Application Procedure

The application, in English, must be submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.

Please include

  • A letter of motivation
  • Curriculum vitae
  • List of publications (if applicable)
  • Copy of relevant diplomas
  • Contact details of 2 persons for references, with associated letters of recommendation
    The University wishes our staff to reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.
    The deadline for applications is 03.12.20, 23:59 GMT +1.
    After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the Interview Committee. Afterwards an assessment committee will be appointed to evaluate the selected applications. The applicants will be notified of the composition of the committee and the final selection of a successful candidate will be made by the Head of Department, based on the recommendations of the assessment committee and the interview committee.
    The main criterion for selection will be the research potential of the applicant and the above mentioned skills. The successful candidate will then be requested to formally apply for enrolment as a PhD student at the PhD school of Science. You can read more about the recruitment process at .
    For specific information about the PhD scholarship, please contact the principal supervisor Kim Rewitz
    General information about PhD programmes at SCIENCE is available at .

Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe’s top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation – with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture – creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.

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