Saturday, 28 January 2012

SHARE Cross Faculty PhD Fellowship at University of Copenhagen, Denmark

SHARE´s cross faculty PhD initiative wishes to appoint a PhD fellow in "Development of in vitro cell models for the neurodegenerative disease Spinocerebellar Ataxia type 3" from 1 March 2012, to 28 February 2015. This PhD fellowship is co-financed by the Faculty of Life Sciences, SHARE (1/3), Department of Basic Animal and Veterinary Sciences (1/3) and Lundbeck A/S (1/3). The application deadline is 31 January 2012.

SHARE is a research and research education initiative within translational medicine of the faculties of Health Sciences, Life Sciences, Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Dept. of Biology, Natural Sciences, University of Copenhagen in collaboration with Lundbeck A/S, LEO Pharma A/S, and Novo Nordisk A/S.

The key aim of the initiative is to train bridge-building researchers in translational medicine and to establish research projects that cross the boundaries of the traditional scientific areas of the faculties, departments, companies, as well as other formal structures, and thereby promote and facilitate translational research between species for the benefit of both human and animal health.

Translational medicine is a discipline focused on bridging technologies and discoveries in the laboratory with their application in clinical research and practice. It involves the integration and coordination of medical, scientific, socio-economic, regulatory and ethical issues at all levels to advance the understanding, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases.

The successful applicant will be enrolled at the Graduate School, Faculty of LIFE Sciences. The experimental work will be evenly distributed between the Department of Basic Animal and Veterinary Sciences, Faculty of Life Sciences (LIFE), University of Copenhagen, H. Lundbeck A/S, and The University Hospital, Faculty of Health Sciences (HEALTH), University of Copenhagen. The project will be conducted under the principal supervision of Professor Poul Hyttel (LIFE) with co-supervision from Head of Department Karina Fog (H. Lundbeck A/S), Neurologist & Neurogenetic Consultant Jørgen E. Nielsen and post.doc. Troels Tolstrup Nielsen (HEALTH).

Project description
Spinocerebellar Ataxia type 3 (SCA3) is an autosomal dominantly inherited neurodegenerative disease caused by a CAG repeat expansion in the ATXN3 gene encoding polyglutamine repeats (polyQ) in the mutated ataxin-3 protein. On a long term perspective, the aim is to use patient derived in vitro neural models to obtain an increased understanding of ataxin-3 and the way the polyQ repeat leads to altered neuronal function and survival. Understanding the pathogenic mechanism will be of critical importance for developing future treatments of SCA3 and of PolyQ diseases in general.With reference to the principal supervisor, the work of the PhD fellow will mainly consist of research directed towards establishment of a panel of in vitro cell-based models for SCA3 and the use of these models to investigate the effect of new treatment principles. Part of the models will be based on induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) derived from skin-biopsies from well-characterized patients suffering from SCA3. The project will be conducted in parallel with a large-scale research project directed towards establishment of in vitro models for Alzheimer´s disease and developing personalized medicine using similar technologies.

The successful applicant will be involved in establishment of iPSC-lines from skin fibroblasts from SCA3 patients, differentiation of iPSCs to neurons, and characterization of the neural in vitro cultures by morphological and molecular techniques including markers relevant for SCA3. In parallel with the iPSC-based technologies primary neuronal cultures and genetically modified cell models will be used to establish readouts characteristic to mutant ataxin-3.

Principal supervisor
Title: Professor
Name: Poul Hyttel
Direct Phone: (+45) 35 33 25 41
Department of Basic Animal and Veterinary Sciences

Job description
Your key tasks as a PhD fellow at LIFE are:
• Manage and carry through your research project
• Take PhD courses
• Write scientific articles and your PhD thesis
• Participate in international congresses
• Stay at a research institution abroad for a few months
• Teach and disseminate your research

Key criteria for the assessment of candidates
• Candidate degree in a relevant biological area
• The grade point average achieved
• Interest in laboratory work
• Interest to work in an international atmosphere
• Experience in culture of stem cells, primary neuronal cultures or other types of mammalian cells
• Experience with cell analyses including immunocytochemistry, qPCR, western blotting
• Experience with molecular cell techniques such as plasmid transfection and virus is considered an advantage
• Experiences in neurobiology is considered an advantage
• Professional qualifications relevant to the PhD programme
• Previous publications
• Relevant work experience
• Other professional activities
• Good communication skills
• Language skills, fluent in English
• Interpersonal skills
• Marks obtained during the first year of study on the master programme (only relevant for applicants applying for a 4-year scholarship)

Formal requirements
The positions are available for a 3-year period for applicants holding a relevant master´s degree or for a 4-year period for applicants who are already enrolled or are accepted to be enrolled at one of the Faculty´s master´s programmes.
At the time of commencement, applicants for the 4-year period must have approximately one year of study remaining before graduating from their MSc programme.

The successful applicant of the PhD scholarship must pass an enrolment in the LIFE Graduate School before the Faculty can finish the letter of employment.
Graduate School of Faculty of Life Sciences, LIFE strives to give our students the best international career prospects within our main research areas.

Terms of employment
The position will be filled according to the agreement between the Danish Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The post is covered by the Protocol on Job Structure.

Application Procedure

Apply by clicking "Apply online" below.

Applications - in English - must include:
• Cover Letter, stating which PhD project you are applying for and detailing your motivation and background for applying for the specific PhD project
• CV
• Diploma and transcripts of records
• Other information for consideration, e.g. list of publications (if any), peer reviewed and other
• Personal Recommendations
• A maximum of 3 relevant scientific works which the applicant wishes to be included in the assessment.

A copy of the application shall be sent as an email to

Applicants whose principal language of instruction during their BSc/MSc was not Scandinavian or English must enclose IELTS or TOEFL test scores.

The applicant will be assessed according to the Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation Executive Order no 284 of 25. April 2008.

By the end of February 2012, all applicants will have received information regarding the evaluation of their application. Receipt of the application will not be acknowledged.

The application must be received no later than 31 January 2012. Applications received later than this date will not be considered.

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

General information about PhD programmes is available at

Deadline: 31 January 2012

Employer: The Faculty of Life Sciences

Apply online
Deadline: 31-01-2012
Publisher: Det Biovidenskabelige Fakultet

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