PhD Fellowship in Drug Delivery of Biopharmaceuticals

University of Copenhagen Department of Pharmacy


PhD fellowship in Drug Delivery of Biopharmaceuticals: Epithelial barrier dynamics

Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences (SUND), University of Copenhagen

We are offering a three-year PhD fellowship in of drug delivery. The Department of Pharmacy is offering a three-year PhD fellowship in Drug Delivery of Biopharmaceuticals in the Center for Biopharmaceuticals and Biobarriers in Drug Delivery (BioDelivery). The PhD fellowship is financed by the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen and the Novo Nordisk Foundation Grand Challenge Program. The fellowship is available from 15th December 2020 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Project description

The demand for peptide and protein therapeutics that can be used without injection is increasing. However, due to the structural properties of such biopharmaceuticals, it is extremely challenging to design drug delivery systems suitable for efficient delivery of therapeutic doses of, e.g., peptides after oral administration. Novel excipients and designed drug delivery systems must be tailored to the physicochemical properties of the specific drug molecules, the desired function of the excipients and the intended route of administration.

This interdisciplinary project will address how to utilize the dynamics of the epithelial barrier for increased membrane transport of peptide drugs. The hypothesis is that the specific mechanisms governing the epithelial barrier dynamics can be utilized in relation to transport of specific peptide drugs. Understanding the intercellular junction dynamics will be of crucial importance for the development and utilization of specific and safe functional excipients that may be used in drug delivery systems intended for, e.g., oral administration of peptide drugs.

The aim of this project is to study and influence intercellular junction dynamics in epithelia using relevant analytical technologies and a variety of cell- and tissue-based models relating to the in vivo situation. Specific junction modulating excipients should be designed and investigated.

Principal supervisor

Professor Hanne Mørck Nielsen, Department of Pharmacy
E-mail:, direct phone: +45 3533 6346

Our group and research

In BioDelivery embedded in the Drug Delivery and Biophysics of Biopharmaceuticals group comprising four senior scientists, more than 12 junior researchers, as wells as several undergraduate and visiting students at Department of Pharmacy, we focus on the design and development of optimal drug delivery systems with a focus on biopharmaceuticals, specifically peptides and proteins, used for e.g. metabolic diseases or infections. Our research spans from physico-chemical and biophysical analysis, to biomembrane interactions and design of advanced drug delivery systems, to assessment of the efficacy in cell culture models and animals. We aim to gain and explore detailed, fundamental, and mechanistic understanding of the challenges associated with biopharmaceuticals when administered via injectable and non-injectable routes.

Our department

The mission of Department of Pharmacy is to advance the pharmaceutical sciences by performing drug-related research and research-based teaching in topics including pharmaceutical technology and formulation, drug delivery, advanced drug analysis, and clinical and social pharmacy.

Information about the Department can be found at

Job description

Your key tasks as a PhD fellow at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences are to:

  • Carry through an independent research project under supervision
  • Complete PhD courses or other equivalent education corresponding to approx. 30 ECTS points
  • Participate in active research environments including a stay at another research institution, preferably abroad
  • 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 conferences and scientific meetings
  • Write a PhD thesis on the grounds of your research project

Required qualifications

As an applicant you must have:

  • Qualifications corresponding to a master’s degree in pharmaceutical sciences, molecular biology, biochemistry, or related areas prior to the starting date
  • Fluency in English and excellent communication skills
  • The ability to work in an interdisciplinary environment

Preferred qualifications

We are looking for a highly motivated individual with a background in pharmaceutical sciences, molecular biology, biotechnology, biomedical engineering, biochemistry, or similar. Experience in drug delivery, handling cell culture models, relevant in vitro/in vivo models, microscopic, and histological techniques will be preferred. The candidate must be able to work independently, but shall also interact with a multidisciplinary project group involved in many aspects of studying and evaluating drug delivery. Extensive training in the relevant disciplines will be provided.

Key criteria for the assessment of applicants

  • Professional qualifications relevant to the PhD project
  • Relevant work experience
  • 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

Terms of employment

The employment as PhD fellow is full time and for 3 years.

It is conditioned upon the applicant’s successful enrolment as a PhD student at the Graduate School at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen. This requires submission and acceptance of an application for the specific project to the Graduate School of Health and Medical Sciences.

The PhD study must be completed in accordance with The Ministerial Order on the PhD programme (2013) and the Faculty’s rules on achieving the degree.

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

hanne.morck@sund.ku.dkSalary, pension and terms of employment are in accordance with the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State. Depending on seniority, the monthly salary begins around DKK 27,594 (approx. 3,679 EUR) (taxable) plus pension (April 2020 level).


For further information, applicants may contact the principal supervisor Hanne Mørck Nielsen, e-mail:, direct phone: +45 3533 6346 or PhD coordinator Marianne W. Jørgensen, e-mail:, direct phone: +45 3533 6449.

For more information on working and living in Denmark visit (International staff mobility) and

Application procedure

Your application, in English, must be submitted electronically by clicking “Apply now” below and must include the following documents in PDF format:

  • Motivated letter of application (max. one page)
  • CV incl. education, experience, language skills and other skills relevant for the position
  • Diploma and transcripts of records: Master´s degree diploma (including grade transcripts for bachelor´s and master´s degrees). If not completed, a certified/signed copy of a recent transcript of records or a written statement from the institution or supervisor will do. Applicants with a Master´s degree from abroad should also enclose a short description of the grading scale used
  • Publication list (if possible)
  • Other information to consider: References and recommendations (if possible)

The deadline for applications is 21st October 2020, 23.59pm CET

We reserve the right not to consider material received after the deadline, and not to consider applications that do not live up to the abovementioned requirements.

The further process

After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorised recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the hiring committee. All applicants are then immediately notified whether their application has been passed for assessment by an unbiased assessor.

The assessor makes a non-prioritized assessment of the academic qualifications and experience with respect to the above-mentioned area of research, techniques, skills and other requirements listed in the advertisement.

Once the assessment work has been completed each applicant has the opportunity to comment on the part of the assessment that relates to the applicant him/herself.

The applicant will be assessed according to the Ministerial Order no. 242 of 13 March 2012 on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Universities.

Interviews are expected to be held in week 46-48 (from 9th November-27th November).

You can read about the recruitment process at

The Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences comprises approximately 7500 students, 1500 PhD students and 3200 employees. The Faculty advances the field of health sciences through its core activities: research, teaching, knowledge sharing and communication. With basic research fields ranging from molecular studies to studies of society, the Faculty contributes to a healthy future through its graduates, research findings and inventions benefitting patients and the community. The University of Copenhagen wishes to reflect the surrounding community and invites all regardless of personal background to apply for the position. 


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.


Application deadline: 21-10-2020
Employment start: 15-12-2020
Working hours: Full time
Department/Location: Department of Pharmacy

In your application, please refer to


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