PhD in Structure of siRNA/ASO’s in Pharmaceutical Formulations at the Department of Physics, Chemistry, and Pharmacy

A PhD position within formulation of oligonucleotide based therapeutics is available at the Department of Physics, Chemistry, and Pharmacy in the pharmacy research group.

Starting date: 1 September 2022 or as soon as possible thereafter.
Application deadline: 1 August 2022.

Project background
Compared to traditional small molecules, oligonucleotides (ONTs) have the advantage that their molecular target is defined by their sequence, making them highly specific and able to reach drug targets impossible to affect otherwise. Therapeutic ONTs comprise a variety of molecular classes, including antisense ONT (ASOs), small interfering RNAs (siRNAs), and aptamers. More than 280 clinical trials are ongoing with ONTs with different indications. The huge potential of ONTs is yet to be fulfilled as issues with their delivery have so far hampered their clinical use.

Through non-covalent interactions (H-bonding, π-π stacking, etc.), an ONT can adopt different higher-order structures (HOS), such as single and double strands, hairpin loops, cruciforms, triplexes, quadruplexes. The sequence highly defines the HOS, but also environmental conditions contribute to the (de)stabilization of the ONT HOS. Irrespective of the mechanism of action, pharmaceutical ONTs must adopt a specific HOS when they reach their target . There is a strong structure-activity relationship for ONTs – they will not bind their target if not in their designed conformation. As the formulation composition has an active and critical role on the (de)stabilization of HOS and on potential transitions between different conformations, this PhD work will investigate these elements deeper.

We are looking for a candidate with a strong interest in working on the boundary between pharmacy and chemistry focused on formulation design for ONTs and analytical characterisation of what this may do to the drug molecule during and after manufacturing of the formulations. The candidate will hold an MSc in pharmacy, chemistry, physics, or a closely related area. Previous experiences with one or more of the following is considered an advantage: formulation design of liposomes, lipid nanopartciles or similar, circular dichroism and other relevant analytical techniques.

The candidate must be independent and fluent in both oral and written English.

For further information about the position please contact Professor René Holm (

The Department of Physics, Chemistry and Pharmacy is one of four departments at the Faculty of Science, SDU and is located in Odense. The Department of Physics, Chemistry and Pharmacy is a department focused on basic research. We are happy to move beyond traditional disciplines and work to develop new technologies and sciences across physics, chemistry, pharmacy, mathematics, computer science and biology. The department’s research thus contributes to new knowledge and solutions with applications in the areas of climate, environment, energy, and health.

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 made in the form of a Declaration of Interest including the following:
• A research proposal/description of your approach to 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
• Copies of diplomas, Bachelor as well as Master’s degree, including transcript of notes/grades
• At least two signed reference letters. Should your referees wish to send their letters directly to us, please have them use e-mail: 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.

Send application
Deadline 2022-Aug-01

You can apply for the job at Faculty of Science by completing the application form


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