PhD fellowship in molecular mechanisms of synaptic homeostasis at the Department of Neuroscience

Updated: about 2 months ago
Deadline: 23 Mar 2021

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

University of Copenhagen

We are offering a PhD fellowship in molecular mechanisms of synaptic homeostasis commencing 1st of June 2021 or as soon as possible hereafter.

Our group and research

The Walter group is highly interactive and characterized by teamwork. The team is interdisciplinary and international and we welcome team members of any nationality, gender and age. For our work we use the model system Drosophila melanogaster and study synaptic transmission at the larval neuromuscular junction (NMJ). This model synapse is easily amenable to electrophysiological analyses and light microscopy. Besides studying the basic molecular machinery mediating neurotransmission, the lab is interested in describing plasticity mechanisms by which synapses dynamically adjust their transmission strength on various timescales. Information on the Walter group can be found here: .

Project description

The position is part of the project “The cooperative synapse: relevance for neurotransmission and human disease” funded by the Novo Nordisk foundation. The project involves the characterization of molecular mechanisms underlying presynaptic homeostatic potentiation (PHP), an innate rescue mechanism synapses use to adapt their transmission strength in the light of external perturbations. Recent work in the lab has established distinct PHP mechanisms at the NMJ on timescales of minutes vs. hours/days (see Böhme et al., Nat Commun. 2019 Mar 6;10(1):1085. doi: ). The current project is directed to investigate pre- and postsynaptic signaling events underlying PHP specific for these timescales by combining electrophysiology, confocal- and super-resolution STED microscopy with pharmacology and Drosophila genetics. The project also aims to investigate putative effects of known human disease mutations on synaptic function and PHP by introducing those into Drosophila melanogaster for further analysis.

Principal supervisor is Associate Professor Dr. Alexander Matthias Walter, Department of Neuroscience,  , direct phone: +45 3533 4631.

Start:                  1. June 2021.

Duration:          3 years as a PhD student

Job description
Your key tasks as a PhD student at SUND 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 environment
  • Obtain experience with teaching or other types of dissemination related to your PhD project
  • Write a PhD thesis on the grounds of your project

Key criteria for the assessment of applicants
At the time of appointment applicants must have qualifications corresponding to a master’s degree related to the subject area of the project e.g. biology, molecular biology, biochemistry or similar.

Other important criteria are:

  • The grade point average achieved
  • Relevant work experience with Drosophila melanogster.
  • Relevant work experience with electrophysiology or light microscopy.
  • Curious mind-set with a strong interest in synaptic transmission and disease models.
  • Proficiency in spoken and written English

Place of employment

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

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

Employment 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 formulated by the applicant.

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 27.560 DKK /approx. 3.706 EUR (Feb 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 relevant)

Application deadline:  23 March 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 abovementioned 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 15 or 16 (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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