PhD Fellowship to Study Human DNA Replication Programme and Genome Integrity

Updated: 7 days ago
Deadline: 15 Jan 2022

We are looking for a highly motivated PhD student with a strong background in molecular and cell biology to join the young recently established lab of Kumar Somyajit studying DNA replication and genome stability at the interface of metabolic signalling at the Functional Genomics & Metabolism Research Unit at Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology , SDU.

The selected PhD student will be supervised by Professor Susanne Mandrup and Assistant Professor Kumar Somyajit.

Application deadline: 15 January 2022.
Starting date: 1 March 2022, or as soon as possible thereafter.
Duration: Three years as a PhD student

The Functional Genomics & Metabolism Research Unit
The Somyajit and Mandrup groups are located in the Functional Genomics & Metabolism Research Unit headed by Professor Susanne Mandrup at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology , SDU. The research unit currently hosts seven independent research groups investigating on various aspects of functional genomics, chromatin biology, genome stability and cell cycle, and their interplay in cellular identity, differentiation, metabolism and disease suppression. The Research Unit constitutes an international, ambitious, highly dynamic, and well-equipped working environment. The unit and the department have state-of-the-art facilities for advanced bioimaging, quantitative mechanistic cell biology, next generation sequencing, single-cell transcriptomics, flow cytometry, mass spectrometry, metabolomics, and transgenic mouse work. Strategic research alliances exist with Odense University Hospital (OUH).

Research Project and Role
DNA replication is essential for a cell to multiply and transfer genetic information to its daughters. However, a plethora of extrinsic and intrinsic factors challenge individual DNA replication forks and cause replication stress, a hallmark of all cancer types and a range of developmental disorders. Yet, we know very little about the mechanisms that align DNA replication activities to potentially harmful endogenous threats such as metabolic stress, and thereby limiting the detrimental consequences of abnormal DNA replication.

Recent studies by Kumar Somyajit have identified novel cell-intrinsic regulation(s) of DNA replication dynamics and replisome speed as a key genome surveillance mechanism in response to metabolic alterations (PMIDs: 29123070, 33621493, 33087936, 30566856).

As a PhD student in the Somyajit group you will be engaged in a highly interdisciplinary project uncovering regulatory foundations of human DNA replication and genome protection by focusing on how active reorganization of the replisome motor is achieved in response to natural fluctuations in metabolic pathways, inevitable during early development and cancer. You will combine advanced quantitative cell biology approaches such as quantitative-image-based-cytometry- QIBC, time-lapse microscopy, super-resolution microscopy, DNA fiber techniques, with classical genetics and biochemistry to reveal novel regulations of replisome velocity and identify how cancer-specific metabolic changes impact DNA replication speed, replisome integrity and cell cycle in human cells.  

You will interact and collaborate closely with other researchers in the Somyajit and the Mandrup groups as well as with members of the other research groups within FGM and at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Qualifications/Requirements
We are looking for highly motivated, dedicated, and ambitious candidates with:

  • A Master’s degree in Life Science, preferably Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, Biomedicine
  • A curious mind-set with a strong interest in fundamental Cell cycle, DNA replication and Genome integrity
  • Relevant laboratory experience in molecular cell biology and biochemistry
  • Strong communication and collaborative skills and an interest in working in an interdisciplinary environment
  • Proficiency in spoken and written English.

Know-how in Genome integrity field, stem cell culture, light microscopy, bioinformatics will be considered an advantage.


For further information please contact Kumar Somyajit, tel.: +45 6550 4319, e-mail: ksom@sdu.dk .

Application, salary etc.
Appointment as a PhD Research Fellow is for three years. Employment stops automatically at the end of the period. The holder of the scholarship is not allowed to have other paid employment during the three-year period.

The successful applicant will be employed in accordance with the agreement on salaried PhD scholars between the Ministry of Finance and AC (the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations). Please check links for more information on salary  and taxation .

The successful candidate will be enrolled at this university in accordance with faculty regulations and the Danish Ministerial Order on the PhD Programme at the Universities (PhD order).

The University wishes our staff to reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.

Application must be in English and made in the form of a Declaration of Interest including the following:
• One-page writeup, in your own words, summarizing recent papers from the group (Somyajit et al., Science 2017: PMID: 29123070, Somyajit et al., Dev Cell 2021: PMID: 33621493, Sedlackova et al, Nature 2020: PMID: 33087936).
• A research proposal/description of your interests in relation to the overall aim of the above project (max one page excluding references).
• A letter stating your specific interest, motivation and qualifications for the project in question (max. two pages) (please attach this under box "Application form").
• Detailed CV, including personal contact information, education, work/research experience and skills relevant for the position, publications/manuscripts.
• Copies of diplomas, Bachelor as well as Master’s degree, including transcript of notes/grades. If awaiting master’s diploma, provide a written statement from the supervisor.
• At least two signed reference letters (with referee contact details and relationship). Should your referees wish to send their letters directly to us, please have them use e-mail: anc@sdu.dk mentioning your name and the title of the position in the subject line. And please note that these also need to reach us before deadline.

Shortlisting may be used in the assessment process.

Further information about the PhD-study can be found at the homepage of the University .

Applications must be submitted electronically using the link "Apply online". Attached files must be in Adobe PDF or Word format. Each box can only contain a single file of max. 10 Mb. We strongly recommend that you read How to apply before you apply.

Incomplete applications and applications received after the deadline will neither be considered nor evaluated. This also applies to reference letters.

Further information for international applicants about entering and working in Denmark.


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