PhD fellowship in Neuronal Cell and Membrane Biology at the Department of Neuroscience

Updated: 3 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 25 Jul 2022

We are offering a PhD fellowship in Neuronal Cell and Membrane Biology commencing 07/11-2022.

Our group and research
The research group started in 2013 and currently include 4 Post Docs, 3 PhD student, 3 master students, a research assistant and a technician. Our research addresses fundamental aspects of basic pharmacology, molecular pharmacology and neuropharmacology, with certain translational aspects. The work is divided into three Work Packages each containing a number of specific projects. Work Package 1 is focused on the pharmacology of PSD95/Disc-large/ZO-1 homology (PDZ) mediated proteins-protein interaction and how these domains might represent new attractive pharmacological targets as alternatives to surface receptors. Translational aspects of the WP relate to PDZ inhibitors for treatment of pain and addiction. Work Package 2 seeks to understand the role of protein-membrane interactions in context of synaptic transmission and generation of Large Dense Core vesicles. It further explores the controversial idea that trafficking of receptors and transporters, which in many cases is strongly integrated with their pharmacology, is determined not only by protein-protein interactions, but also by yet unappreciated protein-lipid interactions that govern localization of the receptors and transporters to areas of high membrane curvature in the plasma membrane. Work Package 3 is aimed at obtaining fundamental new understanding of dopamine signalling processes in the brain and its relation to PKA signalling. Evidently, this has broad pharmacotherapeutic perspectives given the key role of dysfunctional dopamine signalling in many brain disease including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, ADHD, Parkinsons’ Disease and drug abuse.

Methodologically, we specialize in molecular biology, protein purification, receptor binding, advanced light microscopy, including live microscopy and fluorescence energy transfer microscopy (FRET), as well trafficking assays of integral membrane proteins using ELISA and confocal microscopy.

Project description

Lipid membranes separate the ins and outs of cells and proteins traversing the membrane maintain the critical flux of nutrients, metabolites and information across this barrier. Proper localization of these proteins is essential for cellular function and misdirection lead to disease. We have discovered that membrane proteins themselves, likely using an ancient mechanism, can navigate cellular membranes by reading out its curvature without the relying on a complex network of proteins. In this project, we aim to characterize the role of this mechanism in localization of proteins to some the most highly curved membrane compartments, namely synaptic vesicles as well as for entry of bacterial toxins into cells. These experiments holds the potential to fundamentally revise our molecular understanding of fast neurotransmission, but may also point to novel avenues for therapeutic intervention and drug delivery.

Principal supervisor is Associate professor, Kenneth Lindegaard Madsen, Department of Neuroscience, , Direct Phone: +45 23649401

Start:                  Date  07/11-2022

Duration:          3 years as a PhD student

Job description
Your key tasks as a PhD student at SUND are:

  • Carrying through an independent research project under supervision.
  • Completing PhD courses or other equivalent education corresponding to approximately 30 ECTS points.
  • Participating in active research environments including a stay at another research team.
  • Obtaining experience with teaching or other types of dissemination related to your PhD project
  • Teaching and disseminating your knowledge.
  • Writing 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. This may include experience with microscopy, membrane and lipid biology, protein lipid interactions, synaptic vesicle biology, viral entry etc. Please note that your master’s degree must be equivalent to a Danish master’s degree (two years).

Other important criteria are:

  • The grade point average achieved
  • Professional qualifications relevant to the PhD project
  • Previous publications
  • Relevant work experience
  • Other professional activities
  • A curious mind-set with a strong interest in cell biology
  • Language skills

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 dynamic and international research environment. Our research facilities include modern laboratories and highly collaborative working environment

Terms of employment
The average weekly working hours are 37 hours per week.

The position is a fixed-term position limited to a period of 3 years. The start date is 07/11-22.

The 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 Taxation and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State. Depending on seniority, the monthly salary starts at approximately 27,800 DKK/Roughly 3,700 EUR (October 2021 level) plus pension.

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

General information about PhD studies 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. 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

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