PhD position in stem cells and regenerative neuroscience

Updated: about 1 month ago
Deadline: 30 Aug 2022

The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Stem Cell Medicine (reNEW) at University of Copenhagen is looking for a PhD fellow to join the Human Neural Development group led by PI Agnete Kirkeby. The position is scheduled to commence on the 1 November 2022 or on a nearby alternative date upon agreement with the chosen candidate. The position is for 3 years.

Research group
The Human Neural Development research team is located at the The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Stem Cell Medicine (reNEW) at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences of University of Copenhagen. Our group works to develop stem cell transplantation therapies for neurodegenerative disorders by producing high-purity cultures of subtype-specific human neural cells in the lab and testing these in animal models of disease. We further apply advanced stem cell technologies to study normally inaccessible stages of human brain development as well as to produce models of human brain diseases in the dish (i.e. Parkinson’s Disease, Schizophrenia, dementia and hypothalamic disorders).

We offer creative and stimulating working conditions in a dynamic and highly international research environment. Our team currently consists of 16 team members at University of Copenhagen + 5 team members in our sister group at Lund University, representing a total of 12 different nationalities. Our labs at University of Copenhagen are located in a new and modern research facilities and include state-of-the-art laboratories, pleasant office facilities and access to high-quality core facilities in transcriptomics, imaging, flow cytometry and proteomics.

To read more about the team:

Job description
We are seeking a highly motivated and ambitious pre-doctoral candidate with a strong educational background in the field of biotechnology, biomedicine, biology, medicine or bioinformatics. The candidate will enter into a research project aiming to discover novel stem cell-based transplantation therapies for treatment of Lewy Body Disease and narcolepsy through stem cell differentiation and performance of proof-of-concept studies of intracerebral transplantation using animal models. The project will involve stem cell culturing and neural differentiation, quantitative RT-PCR, stereotactic intracerebral transplantation to rat models of neurodegenerative diseases, complex behavioural and cognitive testing and immunohistochemical analysis. In addition to the student’s own project, the position will also involve collaborative work with other team members. The candidate will be expected to plan and carry out an independent research project under supervision by the PI, and will also be expected to participate actively in collaborative projects together with other team members.

The technologies you will apply are:

  • Culturing and neural differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells
  • Quantitative RT-PCR and ELISA
  • Intracerebral stereotactic implantation to rodents
  • Behavioural motoric and cognitive analyses in rodents
  • Immunohistochemistry, microscopy and automated image analysis

Key criteria for the assessment of applicants

The following requirements for the candidate will be assessed as key criteria for the recruitment.

Mandatory requirements:

  • Master’s degree related to the subject area of the project e.g. Biology, Biomedicine, Biotechnology, Human Biology, Bioinformatics/data science or similar
  • Experience in participating in biological research project(s)
  • Experience with human pluripotent stem cell culturing and neural differentiation
  • Experience in intracerebral stereotactic surgery and behavioural testing in rodents
  • FELASA certificate for working with animals
  • Prior training in working in R and/or Python
  • Fluency in English, written and spoken.

Positively assessed criteria:

  • Experience with immunostaining and microscopy
  • Experience in RNA extraction and qRT-PCR
  • Experience in high-throughput automated image analysis
  • Experience from working in teams and on collaborative projects
  • Positive reviews from previous supervisors, collaborators or mentors

Principal supervisor is Associate professor Agnete Kirkeby ( phone: +45 5168 5353)

Start:             1 November 2022

Duration:      3 years as a PhD fellow

Terms of employment
The average weekly working hours are 37 hours per week in average. The position is a fixed-term position limited to a period of 3 years and the start date is 1 November 2022 or after agreement.

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 approx. DKK 28,448 / EUR 3,818 (October 2022-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 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

4. Publication list (if possible)

Application deadline: 30 August 2022, 23:59 p.m. 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 find information about the recruitment process at: .

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

The University of Copenhagen wish to reflect the diversity of society and encourage all qualified candidates to apply regardless of personal background.

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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