We are offering a three-year PhD fellowship in protein biophysics commencing 1 December 2022 or as soon as possible hereafter in the Galvagnion group “Protein-membrane interactions in health and disease”.

Our group and research
Our research aims at understanding the role of dysfunctions in lipid homeostasis in the emergence of neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases. Our approach consists in identifying, using biological models, lipid changes associated with these diseases and/or their risk factors and in using biophysical methods to provide at the molecular level the mechanism by which these lipid changes can influence functional protein-protein and protein-membrane interactions as well as protein aggregation. Our interdisciplinary research involves an international collaborative network including neuroscientists, stem cell biologists, biochemists, protein biophysicists and lipid chemists.

More information on our research can be found here:

Project description
Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by the loss of dopaminergic neurons and the presence of protein deposits in the brain of patients. These deposits are mainly composed of the protein α-synuclein but can also contain other molecules such as lipids. Moreover, increasing evidence points towards a link between mutations in genes encoding proteins involved in lipid homeostasis, changes in lipid levels and PD / α-synuclein pathology. However, the mechanism by which these PD associated genetic mutations may lead to the formation of α-synuclein toxic aggregates in the cells and in vivo remains to be addressed.

The advertised research project aims at studying how changes in lipid metabolism associated with PD can lead to the loss of functional α-synuclein-membrane interactions and the formation of toxic aggregates by α-synuclein in vitro. In particular, the project involves the production and purification of α-synuclein and its disease associated variants in E.coli and the preparation of lipid vesicles from synthetic and biological lipids and their characterization using scattering methods and microscopy. The study of the interaction between lipid vesicles and α-synuclein as well as their ability to modulate α-synuclein aggregation will be investigated at the molecular level using a range of biophysical methods including circular dichroism, fluorescence spectroscopy, calorimetry and microscopy.

We are looking for a highly motivated and independent PhD student with an expertise in molecular biology, protein expression and purification and protein/lipid biophysics.

Principal supervisor:
Assoc. Prof. Céline Galvagnion
Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology

E-mail: celine.galvagnion@sund.ku.dk

Web: https://drug.ku.dk/disciplines/molecular-and-cellular-pharmacology/galvagnion-group/

Direct Phone: +45 3533 7828.

Start:                 1 December 2022

Duration:          3 years as a PhD student

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 including a stay at another research team
  • Obtain experience with teaching or other types of dissemination related to your PhD project
  • Teach and disseminate your knowledge
  • Teaching of undergraduate students in pharmaceutical sciences
  • Write a PhD thesis on the grounds of your project

Key criteria for the assessment of applicants
Applicants must have qualifications corresponding to a master’s degree related to the subject area of the project e.g. molecular biology and protein biophysics. Please note that your master’s degree must be equivalent to a Danish master’s degree (two years/120 ects points).

Other important criteria are:

  • The grade point average achieved
  • Professional qualifications relevant to the PhD project
  • Previous publications
  • Relevant work experience
  • Other professional activities
  • Curious mind-set with a strong interest in neuroscience, lipid metabolism, protein folding, protein-protein and protein-membrane interaction, protein aggregation
  • Language skills

Place of employment
The place of employment is at the Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen. We offer creative and stimulating working conditions in dynamic and international research environment. Our research facilities include modern laboratories, a protein production and purification facility and protein biophysics instruments.

Terms of employment
The position is a fixed-term position limited to a period of 3 years. The average weekly working hours are 37 hours per week.

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 to the Graduate School of Health and Medical Sciences.

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 Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State. Depending on seniority, the monthly salary starts at approximately 28,300 DKK/roughly 3,770 EUR (April 2022 level) plus pension.

For specific information about the PhD fellowship, please contact the principal supervisor.

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

For more information on working and living in Denmark visit http://ism.ku.dk (International staff mobility) and https://www.workindenmark.dk.

Application procedure
Your application, in English, 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: 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.

Applicants with a Master´s degree from abroad should also enclose a short description of the grading scale used

4. Publication list (if possible)

5. Other information to consider: References and recommendations (if possible)

Application deadline: 1 September 2022, 23.59pm 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.

Interviews are expected to be held between via Skype between 23 September 2022 and 29 September 2022 and in person at the Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology between 10 October 2022 and 14 October 2022.

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


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