Doctoral Student in Hydrogels Containing Nanotheranostic Systems for Personalized Tendon Medicine

University of Helsinki Faculty of Pharmacy


The University of Helsinki is an international scientific community of 40,000 students and researchers. It is one of the leading multidisciplinary research universities in Europe and ranks among the top 100 international universities in the world. We are an equal opportunity employer and offer an attractive and diverse workplace in an inspiring environment with a variety of development opportunities and benefits.

The Faculty of Pharmacy is ranked #46 in the world in the ShanghaiRanking's Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2020. It is located on Viikki Campus in Helsinki and has about 200 employees and about 800 undergraduate and 160 postgraduate students with well-organized doctoral school programmes.

The Nanomedicines and Biomedical Engineering Lab at the Faculty of Pharmacy, invites applications for the position of a

Doctoral Student (Hydrogels containing nanotheranostic systems (NanoTher) for personalized tendon medicine, ESR6 in MSCA-ITN-EJD P4 FIT)

for a full-time position funded for three years. Earliest starting date in June 2021, with the exact starting date negotiable after selection. Further funding will be applied during the project.

Position Description

Prof. Hélder Santos’ lab is seeking for a PhD student for research of hydrogels containing nanotheranostic systems (NanoTher) for personalized tendon medicine. The selected PhD candidate will obtain a double degree at the University of Helsinki and University of Salerno. The PhD position consists of studies at Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Helsinki (UH, Finland) and at Department of Information and Electrical Engineering and Applied Mathematics, University of Salerno (UNISA, Italy), and secondments at Università degli Studi “Magna Graecia” di Catanzaro (UNICZ, Italy), University of Teramo (Italy), Consiglio Nazionale delle Riceche (CNR-EMMA, Italy), and Capsamedix Oy (Finland). The supervisors of the PhD double degrees are Prof. Hélder Santos (UH) and Prof. Giovanna Della Porta (UNISA). The position is funded by the Innovative Training Network (ITN) project “Perspectives For Future Innovation in Tendon repair (P4 FIT)” of the Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA).

The topics of the PhD candidate: (1) Design, develop and characterize customized NanoTher suitable for hydrogel inclusion for the treatment of tendinopathies. (2) Load immune-modulatory and tenoinductive molecules for NanoTher. (3) Evaluate NanoTher physicochemical and biopharmaceutical properties. (4) Test the release kinetic, biochemical and biophysical properties of NanoTher. (5) Evaluate the stability and biopharmaceutical properties of NanoTher before and after inclusion inside the hydrogels. (6) Test in vitro the biocompatibility and teno-inductive potential of hydrogels. (7) In vivo test of the biocompatibility and therapeutic activity of NanoTher on mice model pre-clinical studies. (8) Recording mice movement and vital data in the DVC Digi-Lab cages. (9) Ex vivo assessment of tendon therapeutic effect of NanoTher on preclinical mice models.

P4 FIT Project Description

Perspectives For Future Innovation in Tendon repair (P4 FIT) fosters to build a new generation of ESRs with adequate skills to explore non-conventional therapeutic and diagnostic solutions by exploiting the technological advances in nanomedicine. The translation of innovative nanodevices carried out on integrated pre-clinical and vet/human clinical settings are expected to produce solid evidence-based datasets able to reduce fragmentation still limiting the impact of biomedical discoveries and to offer a unique opportunity for identifying new predictive biomarkers through the use of AI and deep learning data analysis. Working across disciplines and sectors, P4 FIT will foster the 15 ESRs to be creative, critical, autonomous intellectual risk takers at the frontiers of research with the R&I mind-set necessary for thriving careers. P4 FIT will allow to fill the EU gap in tendon healthcare, building up a generation of researchers able to develop nano-based biomedical devices by integrating biology advances to technology innovation, and to computational revolution. The P4 FIT cross-disciplinary approach includes 6 beneficiaries and 21 partner organizations (10 academic and 11 non-academic) from across Europe.


• To be an Early-Stage Researcher (ESR): You must, at the time of recruitment, be in the first four years (full-time equivalent) of your research career and have not been awarded a doctoral degree. Full-time equivalent research experience is measured from the date when you obtained the degree, which formally entitles you to embark on a doctorate, either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the country in which the research training is provided, irrespective of whether or not a doctorate was envisaged.
• Mobility rule: At the time of the recruitment, you must not have resided or carried out your main activity (e.g. work and studies) in Finland for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to your recruitment. Short stays, such as holidays, are not taken into account.
• English language: Network fellows (ESRs) must demonstrate that their ability to understand and express themselves in both written and spoken English is sufficiently high for them to derive the full benefit from the network training.
• Master level in Pharmaceutical Sciences, Biotechnology, Biomedical Engineering, Nanotechnology, Nanomedicine, Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Technology, or related field, ideally with a multidisciplinary background in microfluidics and nanoparticles.

The selected applicant is expected to enroll to doctoral programmes leading to the award of a doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki and Medical University of Vienna by the end of December 2021 and has the standard 6-month probationary period.

Salary and Benefits

The salary is competitive and complies with the MSCA Work Programme: 3500 euros per month before taxes, consisting of Living and Mobility allowance. A conditional Family allowance of 385 euros can be added to the salary. The guaranteed PhD funding is for 36 months (i.e., funding from the European Commission, additional funding to cover the last year of the PhD will be discussed later). In addition to their individual scientific projects, all ESRs will benefit from further continuing education, which includes internships and secondments, a variety of training modules as well as transferable skills courses and active participation in workshops and conferences.

Standard Finnish pension benefits and occupational health care are provided for University of Helsinki employees. Read more about the employee benefits at the University of Helsinki and why the University of Helsinki is an excellent career choice: Please also see about arrival and family support:

How to apply

Please submit your application, together with the required attachments AS A SINGLE PDF FILE, through the University of Helsinki Recruitment System via the button Apply for the position. You may fill in only the mandatory fields (*) in the Recruitment System.

The application must contain the following documents AS A SINGLE PDF FILE (all provided in English language):
• MSCA-ITN-EJD P4 FIT ESR application form (download it on the P4 FIT website to be filled.
• Curriculum Vitae (max 2 pages).
• Cover letter (max 1 page): Indicate your motivation to apply for the position and your skills that are specifically adapted to the topic, providing support evidence to your arguments.
• Certificate of Master’s Degree* (or equivalent) with transcript of records.
• Proof of English proficiency.
• Recommendation letter(s) from previous supervisors or employers (max 3).
• List of publications, if applicable.
• Manuscript of listed publication, if applicable.
• Work/research experience certificates, if applicable.

*All official certificates should be provided in their original European language or associated official English translation for non-European documents. If you are applying for a country different from your native country, an English supplement of the certificates with transcripts should also be provided.

Application deadline is on the 31st of March 2021 at 23:59 (EET).

Further information on:
• The P4 FIT project and the open positions on P4 FIT website: You may also follow P4 FIT in Twitter: @P4Fit.
• Santos’ Lab: You may also follow Santos' Lab in Twitter: @Santos_Lab15.
• The project and position: Professor Hélder Santos, helder.santos(at)
• Technical support in applying: HR Specialist Heidi Kauppinen, heidi.m.kauppinen(at)
• Other questions: Project Manager for P4 FIT Pauliina Hyttinen, pauliina.hyttinen(at)
• MSCA ITN Guide for Applicants:
• Faculty of Pharmacy:
• Application process to doctoral education at the University of Helsinki: (includes also information on accepted ways of proving language skills, when applying to doctoral education; specific research plan and other doctoral application material will be prepared together with the PhD supervisor(s) if selected to this position)

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 955685.

Due date

31.03.2021 23:59 EEST


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