PhD fellowship in biophysical neuropharmacology at Department of Neuroscience

Updated: about 1 month ago
Deadline: 18 May 2021

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

University of Copenhagen

We are offering a PhD fellowship in biophysical neuropharmacology commencing August 1st or as soon as possible hereafter.

Our group and research
At the Laboratory for Membrane Protein Dynamics , we focus on structure-function relationships in membrane transporters with special interest on the Neurotransmitter:Sodium Symporter (NSS) class of proteins.

We elucidate at atomic level resolution the molecular mechanisms within the proteins that mediate substrate transport. We identify the specific protein domains that undergoes conformational changes during substrate binding and translocation. We also map binding sites and binding modes for substrates (e.g. dopamine, serotonin, amphetamine) and inhibitory drugs (e.g. cocaine, antidepressants).

The methods we use to address these issues include advanced biophysics on purified proteins, including fluorescence spectroscopy and radioligand binding and structural studies (cryo-EM and x-ray crystallography). We also use all aspects of biochemistry and molecular pharmacology on cell systems.

Project description
The current project concerns the development of an experimental protocol for the expression and purification of functional human dopamine transporter (hDAT). The methods should be based on the expression and extraction of hDAT from HEK293expi cells transduced with hDAT using baculovirus. hDAT extraction will be performed both with detergent and detergent-free methods such as nano discs and SMALPS. When successful, the purified hDAT will be subject to structural studies (e.g. cryo-EM) and functional studies (e.g. radioligand binding, microscale thermophoresis, dopamine transport in reconstituted systems) 

Principal supervisor isProfessor Claus J. Løland, Department of Neuroscience, , Direct Phone: +45 28756407.

Start:                  August 1. 2021

Duration:          3 years as a PhD student

Job description
Your key tasks as a PhD student are:

  • Carry through an independent research project under supervision
  • Complete PhD courses or other equivalent education corresponding to approx. 30 ECTS points
  • Participate in active research environments including a stay at another research team
  • Obtain experience with teaching or other types of dissemination related to your PhD project
  • Teach and disseminate your knowledge
  • Write a PhD thesis on the grounds of your project

Key criteria for the assessment of applicants
Applicants must have qualifications corresponding to a master’s degree related to the subject area of the project e.g. molecular biomedicine, human biology, neuroscience, biochemistry or related educations.

In connection with the appointment to the post, special importance will be attached to the applicant having the following professional and personal qualifications:

  • Experience with molecular biology
  • Experience with purification and functional characterization of membrane proteins
  • Experience with radioligand binding assays, in particular scintillation proximity assay (SPA)
  • Experience with expression and insertion of proteins into nano discs
  • Excellent communication skills, both written and oral

Other important criteria are:

  • The grade point average achieved
  • Professional qualifications relevant to the PhD project
  • Previous publications
  • Relevant work experience
  • Other professional activities
  • Curious mind-set with a strong interest in experimental biology
  • Excellent language skills, both spoken and in writing

All highly motivated and ambitious candidates, regardless of their personal background and status, are encouraged to apply.

Place of employment
The place of employment is at the Department of Neuroscience, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen. We offer creative and stimulating working conditions in a dynamic and international research environment. Our research facilities include modern laboratories and an excellent research team. 

Terms of employment
The employment as PhD fellow is full time and for 3 years.

It is conditioned upon the applicant’s success­ful enrolement as a PhD student at the Graduate School at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen. This requires submission and acceptance of an application for the specific project formulated by the applicant before the PhD period can be initiated.

The PhD study must be completed in accordance with The Ministerial Order on the PhD programme (2013) and the Faculty’s rules on achieving the degree. Salary, pension and terms of employment are in accordance with the agree­ment between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State. Depending on seniority, the monthly salary begins around 27,568 DKK /approx. 3.707 EUR (February 2021-level) plus pension.

For specific information about the PhD fellowship, please contact the principal supervisor.

General information about PhD study at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences is available at the Graduate School’s website:

Application procedure
Your application must be submitted electronically by clicking ‘Apply now’ below. The application must include the following documents in PDF format: 

1. Motivated letter of application (max. one page)

2. CV incl. education, experience, language skills and other skills relevant for the position

3. Master of Science diploma and transcript of records. If not completed, a certified/signed copy of a recent transcript of records or a written statement from the institution or supervisor will do

4. Publication list (if possible)

Application deadline:  May 18, 2021, 23.59pm CET

We reserve the right not to consider material received after the deadline, and not to consider applications that do not live up to the above mentioned requirements.

The further process
After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the hiring committee. All applicants are then immediately notified whether their application has been passed for assessment by an unbiased assessor.

The assessor makes a non-prioritized assessment of the academic qualifications and experience with respect to the above-mentioned area of research, techniques, skills and other requirements listed in the advertisement.

Once the assessment work has been completed each applicant has the opportunity to comment on the part of the assessment that relates to the applicant him/herself.

You can read about the recruitment process at

The applicant will be assessed according to the Ministerial Order no. 242 of 13 March 2012 on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Universities.

Interviews are expected to be held in week 22/2021.

The Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences comprises approximately 7500 students, 1500 PhD students and 3200 employees. The Faculty advances the field of health sciences through its core activities: research, teaching, knowledge sharing and communication. With basic research fields ranging from molecular studies to studies of society, the Faculty contributes to a healthy future through its graduates, research findings and inventions benefitting patients and the community. The University of Copenhagen wishes to reflect the surrounding community and invites all regardless of personal background to apply for the position. 

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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