PhD student in pharmaceutical physical chemistry

Updated: 9 months ago
Deadline: 07 Jan 2020

Uppsala University is a comprehensive research-intensive university with a strong international standing. Our mission is to pursue top-quality research and education and to interact constructively with society. Our most important assets are all the individuals whose curiosity and dedication make Uppsala University one of Sweden’s most exciting workplaces. Uppsala University has 44.000 students, 7.100 employees and a turnover of SEK 7 billion.

The Department of Pharmacy offers a stimulating multidisciplinary working environment in research and teaching within the Pharmacy disciplines. The Department centers its research on Drug Delivery, Rational Drug Usage and Pharmaceutical Materials Science. The research is developed by a series of research groups, several of international prominence. The research groups represent a unique cluster of academic competences in Sweden and the Department of Pharmacy has thus a key role in the development of the pharmacy discipline in Sweden. Information about the department and the research groups can be found at the web page . 

The research group in Pharmaceutical Physical Chemistry seeks to clarify the relationships between the molecular structure of drug molecules, their physicochemical properties and the possibilities to control how they are stored in and released from different types of particulate drug carriers and formulations. The purpose is to create new knowledge making it possible to develop new or improved systems for the administration of drugs, including macromolecular drugs such as peptides and proteins, and small and amphiphilic drug molecules including cancer drugs. In our investigations, we use a combination of experimental and theoretical methods. The experimental techniques include static and dynamic light scattering, small-angle x-ray scattering, small-angle neutron scattering, micropipette-assisted microscopy, confocal microscopy, static and time-resolved fluorescence methods, and rheology. More information about the research group can be found at the web page .

The research group is part of the Swedish Drug Delivery Center (SweDeliver) (formerly Swedish Drug Delivery Forum SDDF) where it conducts research related to subcutaneous (SC) administration of drugs within the platform for parenteral administration (Drug Delivery Platform 1). The goal is to develop methods to predict the release from SC injected drug formulations, and the absorption and bioavailability of SC delivered active substances, with special focus on drug products containing bio-macromolecular therapeutics. The purpose is to facilitate innovation and development of drug products with high bioavailability of the active substance and small variation between patients. More information about the project, Drug Delivery Platform 1 and SDDF/SweDeliver can be found at the web page .

Duties/Project description: Induction of anti-drug antibodies against biotherapeutics can have detrimental effects on drug safety, efficacy and pharmacokinetics. Protein and peptide aggregation can result in enhanced immunogenicity and is therefore an important issue when biotherapeutics are used. However, in some therapies the increased immunogenicity of aggregated proteins can be an advantage. The success of immunotherapies against cancer relies on the immune checkpoint blockade that potentiates pre-existing tumor-specific T cell responses to mediate tumor destruction. However, since many tumors induce insufficient spontaneous T cell responses, peptide-based vaccines should be able improve the efficacy of the therapy.

In this project, we will investigate the self-assembling properties of peptide antigens, with focus on structural and physico-chemical properties of the aggregates. This includes investigations of how the peptides interact with extracellular constituents (for instance phospholipids) as well as excipients in relevant vaccine formulations. In particular, systematic studies of the influence of peptide charge distribution, hydrophobic/hydrophilic balance, isoelectric point, and environmental variables such as pH, ionic strength, and temperature will be carried out. Main experimental techniques will be small-angle x-ray scattering, static and dynamic light scattering, all available at the department of pharmacy at the start of the project. As complementary techniques, we will use small-angle neutron scattering, circular dichroism, fluorescence spectroscopy, and electron microscopy. The project will be implemented in close collaboration with a postdoc project on neoepitope/peptide based therapeutics in immune-oncology, in which a series of peptides, consisting of a model epitope (from glycoprotein100) connected to peptides with varying intrinsic tendencies to self-assemble, are compared.

Requirements: The applicant should have adequate educational background corresponding to a master’s degree in physical chemistry, pharmaceutics, material science or biophysics.

Rules governing PhD students are set out in the Higher Education Ordinance chapter 5, §§ 1-7 and in Uppsala University's rules and guidelines .

Uppsala University strives to be an inclusive workplace that promotes equal opportunities and attracts qualified candidates who can contribute to the University’s excellence and diversity. We welcome applications from all sections of the community and from people of all backgrounds.

Salary: According to local agreement for PhD students.

Starting date: 01-03-2020 or as otherwise agreed.

Type of employment: Temporary position according to the Higher Education Ordinance chapter 5 § 7.

Scope of employment: 100 %

For further information about the position please contact: docent Magnus Bergström, 018-4714126, e-mail och professor Per Hansson, 018-4714027, e-mail:

Please submit your application by 7 Januari 2020, UFV-PA 2019/4269.

Are you considering moving to Sweden to work at Uppsala University? If so, you will find a lot of information about working and living in Sweden at . You are also welcome to contact International Faculty and Staff Services at .

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