PhD Fellowship in Membrane Receptor Pharmacology, Structure & Function

A 3-year PhD fellowship is available in the Center for Biopharmaceuticals (Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology) at the University of Copenhagen. The application deadline is May 1st 2014 and the position will be available from August 1st 2014.

Project title: Novel approaches to probe ligand recognition and gating of P2X receptors

Project description
The PhD project will focus on a ligand-gated ion channel, called P2X receptor, which allows ions to cross the cell membrane in response to ATP-binding. P2X receptors are important therapeutic targets, as their dysfunction can result in neurological disorders such as neuropathic or inflammatory pain. In particular, we seek to employ in vivo-incorporated unnatural amino acids to elucidate the molecular determinants for ATP binding and subsequent changes in receptor conformation. This will be attained using a cutting-edge combination of molecular biology, electrophysiology and fluorescence spectroscopy.
The fellowship is financed by the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen (KU SUND), the Center for Biopharmaceuticals and the Lundbeck Foundation. 

The research will be performed under the supervision of Associate Professor Stephan A. Pless in the Center for Biopharmaceuticals.

Required qualifications
The applicant must have:
• obtained a Master´s degree in a relevant subject area prior to the starting date
• fluency in English and excellent communication skills

Preferred qualifications
The successful candidate holds an MSc degree in pharmacology, biochemistry or neuroscience, ideally with experience in practical molecular biology and electrophysiology at the MSc level. The applicant should also have a strong theoretical education in biochemistry, chemical biology, pharmacology, biophysics and spectroscopy.

General job description
Your key tasks as a PhD fellow at the Faculty are to:
• manage and carry out your research project
• take PhD courses
• write scientific articles and your PhD thesis
• participate in national and international congresses and scientific meetings
• stay at an external research institution, preferably abroad
• teach and disseminate your research
• participate in the undergraduate teaching of students in pharmaceutical sciences 

Key criteria for the assessment of applicants
• Previous publications
• Grade point average
• Professional qualifications relevant to the PhD programme
• Relevant work experience, or other professional activities
• English language as well as interpersonal skills

Formal requirements
The position is available for a three-year period for applicants holding a relevant master´s degree.

It is a prerequisite that the PhD candidate is enrolled 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. Further, the PhD fellow is expected to be affiliated to the graduate programme in pharmaceutical sciences, Drug Research Academy.

Salary and employment terms
Salary and other terms of employment are stated in the Protocol on PhD Research Fellows signed by the Danish Ministry of Finance and AC (the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations). The period of employment is 3 years.

- Further questions about the project should be directed to Stephan A. Pless (email:, direct phone +45 23 64 90 66). Applicants are also encouraged to read more about the research group at
- For further information regarding the PhD programme in general, please contact Administrator Marianne W. Jørgensen (email:, direct phone: +45 35 33 64 49).
- For more information on working and living in Denmark visit (International Staff Mobility) and

How to apply
Please submit your application electronically in English below, including the following documents (in PDF format): 

• Cover letter: Letter stating the interest 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 wishes our staff to reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.

Application deadline
Applications must be received online by May 1st, 2014 (e-mailed applications will NOT be considered).

Applications will be handled and processed by the principal supervisor and by a selection committee. An answer as to the granting of the fellowship can be expected approximately 4-6 weeks after the application deadline.
Apply online