PhD fellowship in microemulsions as delivery systems for antimicrobial peptides

Updated: about 2 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 15 Sep 2021

Department of Pharmacy

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences (SUND)

University of Copenhagen

The Department of Pharmacy is offering a three-year PhD fellowship to investigate physicochemical aspects of microemulsions as delivery systems for antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), laying the foundation for translation of such systems towards therapeutics in combatting skin disease. The project will be carried out within the LEO Foundation Center for Cutaneous Drug Delivery, which integrates several disciplines, including physical chemistry, pharmaceutics, and molecular biology, to perform state-of-the-art research and to create innovative solutions within cutaneous drug delivery of both small and large molecules. The successful applicant will have the opportunity for cross-disciplinary research in collaboration with other PhD students and researchers in the Center, as well as with external collaborators. The fellowship is available from December 1, 2021 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Project description

The aim of the project is to provide a foundation for microemulsions as delivery systems of AMPs in treatment of skin disease. Specifically, the project sets out to clarify key factors determining the capacity of such delivery systems to promote peptide permeation into and through skin, as well as consequences of this for bacterial killing and suppression of infection-mediated cell activation. In doing so, we will investigate how AMPs effect the structures of low-toxic sugar-based microemulsions, as well as consequences of this for their interactions with bacteria-mimicking lipid membranes, employing a battery of state-of-the-art physicochemical methods. Such mechanistic studies will be combined with diffusion cell experiments and microscopy studies for monitoring skin permeation. In addition, bacterial killing and suppression of infection-mediated cell activation will be monitored in vitro. Through this, we aim to provide a rational foundation for how microemulsions can be designed for overcoming the skin barrier in treatment of skin disease with AMPs.

The successful candidate will be a member of the LEO Foundation Center for Cutaneous Drug Delivery. This project, which is funded by the LEO Foundation, is part of a larger set of 7 coordinated PhD projects recently awarded, all aiming at employing physicochemical approaches for overcoming the skin barrier for improved therapeutic outcome of both small and large drugs.


Principal supervisor: Professor Martin Malmsten, e-mail: , phone: + 45 31 49 92 03

Co-supervisor: Associate Professor Mariena J.A. van der Plas, e-mail: , phone: +45 35 33 27 16

Your job

Your key tasks as a PhD fellow at the Faculty are to:

  • Carry out an independent research project under supervision
  • Write scientific manuscripts and the PhD thesis on the grounds of your research project
  • Complete PhD courses or other equivalent education corresponding to approx. 30 ECTS points
  • Obtain experience with teaching and other types of dissemination related to your PhD project
  • Participate in the undergraduate teaching of students in pharmaceutical sciences
  • Participate in national and international conferences and scientific meetings
  • Stay at an external research institution, preferably abroad
  • Participate in Center activities


We are looking for a highly motivated and enthusiastic individual with the following competencies and experience:

Required qualifications

As an applicant you must have:

  • Obtained a relevant Master´s degree prior to the starting date
  • Fluency in English and excellent communication skills, both oral and written.
  • The ability to work in an interdisciplinary environment.
  • The ability to travel for performing experiments at collaborators.

Preferred qualifications

The ideal candidate for this project has hands-on experience with research within colloid and interface science, and a background in surface chemistry, physical chemistry, or biophysics. Experience with methodologies for investigating self-assembly systems (SAXS) and biological systems at interfaces (QCM-d, ATR-IR, neutron reflectometry, ellipsometry) is an advantage.

Key criteria for the assessment of applicants

  • Professional qualifications relevant to the PhD programme
  • Relevant work experience
  • Previous publications
  • The grade point average achieved
  • Other professional activities and achievements
  • Language skills

Terms of employment

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

It is conditioned upon the applicant’s successful enrolment 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 to the Graduate School of Health and Medical Sciences.

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.

The PhD student is expected to be affiliated to the graduate programme in pharmaceutical sciences, Drug Research Academy .

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 DKK 27,780 (approx. 3,735 EUR) (taxable) plus pension (April 2021 level).

Application procedure

Your online application, in English, must be submitted electronically through the University of Copenhagen job portal.

Your application must include following documents/attachments – all in PDF format:

  • Cover letter (approx. 1 page) describing your background, qualifications, interest and motivation for applying for this position
  • Full CV
  • Certified copy of original Master of Science diploma and transcript of records in the original language, including an authorized English translation if issued in other language than English or Danish. If not completed, a certified/signed copy of a recent transcript of records or a written statement from the institution or supervisor is accepted.

As a prerequisite for a PhD fellowship employment, your master’s degree must be equivalent to a Danish master’s degree. We encourage you to read more in the assessment database: . Please note that we might ask you to obtain an assessment of your education performed by the Ministry of Higher Education and Science.

Applicants with a Master´s degree from abroad should also enclose a short description of the grading scale used

  • Other information for consideration, e.g. list of publications and relevant certificates
  • Names and contact details of references and/or recommendation letters

Deadline for application

September 15, 2021, 23:59 GMT+1. Please note that only online applications will be accepted.

Applications received later than this date, or which do not live up to the abovementioned requirements, will not be considered.

Post application procedure

After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorised 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.

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 during the first half of October.

You can read about the recruitment process at


For further information, applicants may contact supervisor Martin Malmsten (email: , phone +45 31 49 92 03) or PhD administrator Marianne W. Jørgensen (e-mail: , phone: +45 35 33 64 49).

For more information on working and living in Denmark visit  (International staff mobility) and

University of Copenhagen wish to reflect the diversity of society and welcome applications from all qualified candidates regardless of age, disability, gender, nationality, race, religion or sexual orientation. Appointment will be based on merit alone.

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