A PhD fellowship is available in the Center for Chromosome Stability (CCS) (www.ccs.ku.dk) in a group headed by Assoc. Prof. Thomas Miller. The post is available from 1 October 2022, (or at a mutually agreed date). Highly motivated and committed candidates with an interest in eukaryotic DNA replication, DNA damage repair and cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM) are encouraged to apply. The post is fully funded, although the post-holder will be encouraged to seek a personal fellowship to support their PhD stipend.

Our group and research
The CCS is a Center of Excellence funded by the Danish National Research Foundation (DNRF) and its mission is to advance our understanding of how chromosomal instability causes human disease. The CCS is embedded at the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine (https://icmm.ku.dk/english/). The working language in the CCS is English.

The Miller group aims to understand the molecular mechanisms that maintain eukaryotic genome stability during DNA replication using a combination of genetic, biochemical, cellular, and structural techniques, including cryo-EM. The research in the Miller group is generously supported by a Novo Nordisk Hallas-Møller Emerging Investigator grant, the DNRF and the Carlsberg Foundation.

Project description
Genome instability is a hallmark of inherited human disorders and age-related diseases such as neurodegeneration and cancer. Eukaryotic genomes are replicated by complex molecular machines called replisomes, which frequently encounter naturally occurring ‘obstacles’ that can prevent faithful DNA replication and induce genome instability. Covalent DNA-protein crosslinks (DPCs) are one such obstacle and are estimated to occur at thousands of sites/genome/day in proliferating cells. Eukaryotic cells require multiple mechanisms to overcome DPCs, including replication-coupled proteolysis (‘DPC repair’). The objective of the project is to uncover the molecular mechanisms of replication coupled DPC repair. The project will involve in vitro reconstitution and biochemical characterisation of key steps in the eukaryotic DPC repair pathway, which will be imaged using time-resolved cryo-EM. The research will benefit from access to cutting-edge electron microscopy facilities at the Core Facility for Integrated Microscopy (CFIM; https://cfim.ku.dk/), which houses Copenhagen’s node of the Danish Cryo-EM Facility.

The project will be overseen by Assoc. Prof. Thomas Miller, building on the experimental strategies developed in his recent study of replicative MCM helicase loading (Miller et al, Nature, 2019; further references on the group’s website: https://icmm.ku.dk/english/research-groups/miller-group/).

Start:        1 October 2022.
Duration: 3 years as a PhD fellow. 

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

  • Carry through an independent research project under supervision.
  • Complete PhD courses or other equivalent education corresponding to approx. 30 ECTS points.
  • Participate in active research environments.
  • Obtain experience with teaching or other types of dissemination related to your PhD project.
  • Write a PhD thesis on the grounds of your project.

We are looking for a highly motivated and enthusiastic person with the following competences and experience: 

  • Must show evidence of publication-standard research, preferable within the areas of protein biochemistry or structural biology.
  • Strong communication and collaboration skills, including the ability to work well in an international academic setting.
  • Ability to work in a team of multidisciplinary scientists, and the potential to work independently with limited direction.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills in English.

Key criteria for the assessment of candidates
Applicants must have qualifications corresponding to a master’s degree Biochemistry, Biology, Biomedicine or similar (equivalent of the Danish candidate, 3 + 2 years) related to the subject area of the project. 

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: https://ufm.dk/en/education/recognition-and-transparency/find-assessments/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.

Other important criteria are:

  • Grade point average achieved
  • Professional qualifications relevant to the PhD programme
  • Previous publications
  • Relevant work experience in DNA replication or repair, structural biology or biochemistry
  • Other professional activities
  • Curious mind-set with a strong interest in chromosome biology and cryo-electron microscopy
  • Personal drive and commitment to science
  • Excellent English language skills.

Place of employment
The place of employment is at Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Panum Institute, University of Copenhagen. We offer creative and stimulating working conditions in a dynamic, collaborative and international research environment. Our research facilities include modern laboratories and access to state-of-the-art equipment including Titan Krios and Glacios electron microscopes for single particle EM, and C-trap optical tweezers for single-molecule biochemical and biophysical studies. 

Terms of employment and employment
The employment as a PhD fellow is full time (37 working hours per week in average) and for 3 years. Starting date is October 1, 2022, or by agreement. 
The post is conditional upon the candidate’s successful enrolment in the PhD school at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen. This requires submission and acceptance of an application for the specific project, which will be formulated by the candidate in consultation with their supervisors during an initial employment as a research assistant. The PhD study must be completed in accordance with The Ministerial Order on the PhD programme (2013) and the University’s rules on achieving the degree. Salary, pension, and terms of employment are in accordance with the agreement between the Danish Ministry of Taxation and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State.
Depending on seniority, the monthly salary begins around DKK 28,365 / approx. EUR 3.812 EUR (April 2022-level) plus pension.

For specific information about the PhD fellowship, please contact Thomas Miller by e-mail: tmiller@sund.ku.dk

General information about PhD programs at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences is available at the Graduate School’s website: https://healthsciences.ku.dk/phd/.

Application procedure
Your application must be submitted electronically by clicking “Apply now”. The application must include the following documents in PDF format: 

  1. Letter of motivation (max. one page)
  2. CV incl. education, experience, language skills and other skills relevant for the position
  3. A certified/signed copy of Master of Science certificate. If not completed, a certified/signed copy of a recent transcript of records or a written statement from the institution or supervisor will do
  4. Publication list (if possible). 

Application deadline: Sunday 17 July 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 abovementioned 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 read about the recruitment process at https://employment.ku.dk/faculty/recruitment-process/

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

The Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences comprises approximately 8,000 students, 1,790 PhD students and 5,100 employees. The Faculty advances the field of health sciences through its core activities: research, teaching, knowledge sharing and communication. With basic research fields ranging from molecular studies to studies of society, the Faculty contributes to a healthy future through its graduates, research findings and inventions benefitting patients and the community.
The University of Copenhagen wishes to reflect the surrounding community and invites all regardless of personal background to apply for the position.APPLY NOW

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