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PhD Fellowships Molecular Pharmacology @ Copenhagen University | Denmark

PhD Fellowships Molecular Pharmacology @ Copenhagen University | Denmark

PhD Fellowships Molecular Pharmacology @ Copenhagen University | Denmark:  With over 40,000 students and more than 9,000 employees, the University of Copenhagen is the largest institution of research and education in Denmark. The purpose of the University – to quote the University Statute – is to ’conduct research and provide further education to the highest academic level’. Approximately one hundred different institutes, departments, laboratories, centres, museums, etc., form the nucleus of the University, where professors, lecturers and other academic staff, as well as most of the technical and administrative personnel, carry out their daily work, and where teaching takes place.

PhD Fellowships Molecular Pharmacology @ Copenhagen University | Denmark

PhD fellowship in Molecular Pharmacology

Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology
Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences (SUND)
University of Copenhagen

Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology is offering a three-year PhD fellowship in molecular pharmacology. The PhD fellowship is financed by the Danish Council for Independent Research | Medical Sciences. The fellowship is available from 1 April 2017 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Project description
Functional Properties of the Recombinant and the Native Zinc-Activated Channel

The Cys-loop receptor (CLR) superfamily is comprised by a plethora of ligand-gated ion channels mediating the physiological effects of the important neurotransmitters acetylcholine, serotonin, GABA and glycine. These receptors are expressed throughout the central nervous system and in several peripheral tissues, where they mediate a plethora of physiological and pathophysiological functions. Several CLRs in this superfamily are targeted by drugs used in treatment of sleep disorders, anxiety, depression and epilepsy and by smoking cessation aids, and they constitute putative targets in numerous neurodegenerative, cognitive and psychiatric disorders, pain, and addiction.
The Zinc-Activated Channel (ZAC) is an atypical member of the CLR superfamily. The receptor is activated by zinc (Zn2+) and copper (Cu2+) ions and by protons (H+), all agonists that differ substantially from the endogenous agonists of the other CLRs. Moreover, the receptor exhibits very different signaling characteristics compared to other CLRs. As a putative sensor of regional changes in zinc/copper-concentrations and/or pH, ZAC could potentially hold several physiological functions. However, the in vivo expression of ZAC and its functions in the body are presently poorly elucidated. In the present PhD project, we will contribute to the understanding of this atypical CLR by shedding further light on molecular pharmacology aspects of the receptor and by the first studies of some of its putative physiological functions. The PhD project represent a continuation of studies previously performed by the group in collaboration with the research group of Dr. Paul A. Davies (Tufts University, Boston, MA, USA).

In the first part of the PhD project, the molecular pharmacology of ZAC expressed in Xenopus oocytes will be studied by two-electrode voltage clamp electrode electrophysiology. The functional properties of zinc, copper and protons at ZAC will be delineated, and the properties of four putative pharmacological tools for the receptor previously identified by the group will be characterized in detail. In other studies, it will be attempted to identify the binding site(s) for zinc, copper and protons in ZAC, and the molecular determinants for its ion conductance and desensitization characteristics will be elucidated. Finally, we will search for additional putative endogenous agonists or modulators of the receptor.

In the second part of the project, the expression and signaling characteristics of the native ZAC will be investigated in cultured cell lines by patch-clamp electrophysiology, and the effects of zinc exposure on surface expression, current densities and biophysical properties of ZAC in these native cells will be characterized. Most of this part of the project will be performed by the PhD student during a 6-9 months-stay in the lab of Dr. Davies at Tufts University.

For further information about the project, please contact Anders A. Jensen (aaj@sund.ku.dk).

Principal supervisor
Associate Professor Anders A. Jensen, aaj@sund.ku.dk, Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen.

Required qualifications
As an applicant you must have:
•Obtained a Master´s degree in a relevant field prior to the starting date
•Fluency in English and excellent communication skills

Preferred qualifications
We are looking for a highly motivated individual with a background in molecular pharmacology or another subject area related to this project. Previous practical experience with molecular biology, in vitro pharmacology and, in particular, electrophysiology will be considered strong assets for the candidate. The candidate should be enthusiastic about working in an international collaborative research environment and be genuinely interested in molecular pharmacology and neuroscience. A team of supervisor will be connected to the PhD project, but the candidate is expected to be able to work independently on the project and to contribute with ideas to the project and to the planning of the research.

Job description

Your key tasks as a PhD fellow at the Faculty are to:

  • Carry through 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 or other types of dissemination related to your PhD project
  • Participate in the undergraduate teaching of students in pharmaceutical sciences
  • Participate in national and international congresses and scientific meetings
  • Stay at an external research institution, preferably abroad

Key criteria for the assessment of applicants

  • Professional qualifications relevant to the PhD programme
  • Relevant work experience
  • Previous publications
  • The grade point average achieved
  • Other professional activities
  • Language skills
  • The successful applicant is also required to be enterprising and to possess good interpersonal skills

Formal requirements

The successful applicant will be requested to formally apply for enrolment as a PhD student at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences according to the rules stipulated in the Ministerial order on the PhD programme at the universities (PhD order) from the Ministry of Science, Innovation, and Higher Education and the guidelines for the PhD programme at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences.

The PhD student is expected to be affiliated to the graduate programme in pharmaceutical sciences, Drug Research Academy.

Terms of employment
The position as a PhD fellow is available for a 3-year period.

Salary and other terms and conditions of appointment are set in accordance with the Agreement between the Ministry of Finance and AC (Danish Confederation of Professional Associations) or other relevant professional organizations. The position is covered by the Protocol on Job Structure.
Minimum monthly salary is DKK 25,579 (taxable) + pension contribution.

Application procedure

The application, in English, must be submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.

Your application must include:

  • Cover letter: Letter stating the interest in and qualifications for the project (max. one page)
    Full CV
  • Diploma and transcripts of records: Master´s degree diploma (including grade transcripts for bachelor´s and master´s degrees).
  • Applicants with a Master´s degree from abroad should also enclose a short description of the grading scale used
  • Possible publication list
  • Other information to consider: Possible references and recommendations

The University of Copenhagen wishes to encourage everyone interested in this post to apply, regardless of personal background.

Deadline for applications
15 february 2017. Please note that only online applications will be accepted.
Applications received later than this date will not be considered.

Post application procedure

  • After the expiry of the deadline for applications, 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 employment.ku.dk

The Appointments Committee consists of the supervision group and the Head of Department who is the authorized recruitment manager. The Expert Assessment Committee consists of the principal supervisor.

An answer as to the granting of the fellowship can be expected approx. 4 weeks after application deadline.


For further information, applicants may contact the supervisor or Administrator Marianne W. Jørgensen, e-mail: marianne.joergensen@sund.ku.dk, direct phone: +45 3533 6449.

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

PhD Fellowships Molecular Pharmacology @ Copenhagen University | Denmark


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View Original Notification: http://employment.ku.dk/phd/?show=882342

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