A PhD Scholarship at Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences (SUND), University of Copenhagen
A fully funded 3-year PhD position is available from January 1, 2018 or upon agreement at the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine (www.icmm.ku.dk), University of Copenhagen. Associate Professor Anne Nørremølle will be the principal supervisor for the PhD student, and Associate Professor Frederik Vilhardt will be co-supervisor.
Exploring new non-cell autonomous mechanisms and treatment strategies in Huntington’s disease: investigating the neuron-astrocyte antioxidant cooperation in the defence against synaptic redox imbalance.
Huntington’s disease (HD) is an inherited neurodegenerative disorder, and mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress are considered to play key roles in the HD pathogenesis, leading to synaptic dysfunction in the early stages of disease progression, and ultimately to neuronal death. There is now strong evidence for impaired function of astrocytes in HD. Astrocytes are vital for the normal health and function of the brain, and they are particularly important in maintaining the local redox balance in neurites and synapses, e.g. by releasing antioxidant precursors that are taken up by the neurons. Indeed, in HD neuronal synapses show signs of oxidative stress, indicating impairment of this astrocytic protection.
This project will address the nature and importance of such non-cell autonomous effects of the HD mutation by investigating interactions between neurons and astrocytes in vitro. For the purpose, a neuron-astrocyte co-culture cell model based on differentiated induced pluripotent stem cells from HD patients and controls will be established. This will allow examination of synaptic pathology and reciprocal glia-neuron interactions with an emphasis on mitochondrial and NOX-generated oxidants and astrocytic antioxidant proteins. Therapeutic strategies using gene augmentation of key factors in these systems will be pursued by viral gene transduction.
The key tasks as a PhD fellow at the Faculty are to:
- Carry out and complete an independent research project under supervision
- Write scientific articles and the PhD thesis on the grounds of your research project
- Complete PhD courses or other equivalent education corresponding to approx. 30 ECTS points
- Obtain experience with teaching and/or other types of dissemination related to your PhD project
- Participate in national and international congresses and scientific meetings
- Obtain experience from an external research institution, preferably abroad
This project will be carried out primarily in the research groups of Anne Nørremølle (AN), and Frederik Vilhardt (FV). AN has many years of experience in research of the molecular and cellular pathogenesis in HD. The FV lab holds a long-standing interest in oxidant generation and analysis and in vitro cell models.
The groups of AN and FV are a part of a larger research environment at The Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine (www.icmm.ku.dk) aiming to produce research with high international impact. The research focus is on the functional cell, its genetic components and molecular cellular mechanisms in a medical context. The ICMM currently comprises five research programs, three high profile research centers, as well as a number of international research groups. The scientists at ICMM are also involved in high quality research based undergraduate and graduate teaching programs at the University of Copenhagen.
Applicants should hold an MD or an MSc degree in human biology, molecular biomedicine, or a closely related field. Candidates who do not yet have their degree, but who are expecting to finish with 1–2 months, should specify the date when they expect to hand in their thesis. We are seeking a highly motivated and ambitious individual with good interpersonal and communication skills. Previous experience with techniques in the fields of human cellular and molecular biology, genetics and biochemistry (e.g. cell culture, cloning, viral transduction, western blotting, fluorescence microscopy, etc) will be considered advantageous. Fluency in spoken and written English is a requirement. The scholarship is open to both Danish and international applicants.
Terms of employment:
The successful PhD candidate will be offered a full-time position for a period of three years, contingent on a satisfactory performance, with the specific intent that it results in a PhD degree and scientific publications.
The position is covered by the Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff. Terms of appointment and payment accord to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State.
Further information can be obtained via email to Associate professor Anne Nørremølle (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Foreign applicants may find the following links useful: www.ism.ku.dk (International Staff Mobility) and www.workingconditions.ku.dk.
The application must be submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.
Applicants are requested to submit their application with the following documents:
- Curriculum vitae
- Certificates of Bachelor degree and MSc degree or the equivalent documents.
- A cover letter describing your research interests and reasons for applying to this position
- A list of the publications (or manuscripts) that have been submitted or accepted for publication
- Transcripts of university examinations (from both Bachelor and Master degrees) (in English)
- Contact details of two referees
- Applicants are encouraged to provide evidence of English and other skills.
After the expiry of the deadline for application, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the Appointments Committee. All applicants are then immediately notified whether their application has been passed for assessment by an expert assessment committee. Selected applicants are notified of the composition of the committee and 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 http://employment.ku.dk
The deadline for applications is November 20, 2017. Applications received later than this date will not be considered.
Founded in 1479, the University of Copenhagen is the oldest university in Denmark. With 37,000 students and 9,000 employees, it is among the largest universities in Scandinavia and one of the highest ranking in Europe. The University consists of six faculties, which cover Health and Medical Sciences, Humanities, Law, Science, Social Sciences and Theology.
Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe’s top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation – with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture – creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.