PhD Fellowship in Protein Biophysics

University of Copenhagen Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology


PhD fellowship in protein biophysics at the Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
University of Copenhagen

We are offering a three-year PhD fellowship in protein biophysics commencing 1 June 2020 or as soon as possible hereafter in the Galvagnion group “Protein-membrane interactions in health and disease”.

Our group and research
Our research aims at understanding the role of dysfunctions in lipid homeostasis in the emergence of neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases. Our approach consists in identifying, using biological models, lipid changes associated with these diseases and/or their risk factors and in using biophysical methods to provide at the molecular level the mechanism by which these lipid changes can influence functional protein-protein and protein-membrane interactions as well as protein aggregation. Our interdisciplinary research involves an international collaborative network including neuroscientists, stem cell biologists, biochemists, protein biophysicists and lipid chemists.

More information on our research can be found here:

  • Group website
  • Google Scholar

Project description
Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disease and is characterized by the loss of dopaminergic neurons and the presence of protein deposits in the brain of patients. These deposits are mainly composed of the protein α-synuclein but can also contain other molecules such as lipids. Moreover, increasing evidence points towards a link between mutations in genes encoding proteins involved in lipid homeostasis, changes in lipid levels and PD / α-synuclein pathology. However, the mechanism by which these PD associated genetic mutations may lead to the formation of α-synuclein toxic aggregates in the cells and in vivo remains to be addressed.

The advertised research project aims at studying how genetic mutations associated with risk factors for PD can lead to the loss of function of proteins involved in lipid metabolism and to the formation of toxic aggregates by α-synuclein in vitro. In particular, proteins involved in lipid metabolism and their PD associated variants will be produced in E.Coli and yeast cells. The influence of PD related genetic mutations on the stability of these proteins, their interaction with α-synuclein and their ability to modulate α-synuclein aggregation will be investigated at the molecular level using a range of biophysical methods including circular dichroism, fluorescence spectroscopy, calorimetry and microscopy.

We are looking for a highly motivated and independent PhD student with an expertise in molecular biology, protein expression and purification and protein biophysics.

Principal supervisor:
Assoc. Prof. Céline Galvagnion
Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology
Direct Phone: +45 3533 7828.

Start:                 1 June 2020
Duration:          3 years as a PhD student

Job description
Your key tasks as a PhD student at SUND are:

  • 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 team
  • Obtain experience with teaching or other types of dissemination related to your PhD project
  • Teach and disseminate your knowledge
  • Write a PhD thesis on the grounds of your project

Key criteria for the assessment of applicants
Applicants must have qualifications corresponding to a master’s degree related to the subject area of the project e.g. molecular biology and protein biophysics

Other important criteria are:

  • The grade point average achieved
  • Professional qualifications relevant to the PhD project
  • Previous publications
  • Relevant work experience
  • Other professional activities
  • Curious mind-set with a strong interest in neuroscience, lipid metabolism, protein folding, protein-protein and protein-membrane interaction, protein aggregation
  • Language skills

Place of employment
The place of employment is at the Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen. We offer creative and stimulating working conditions in dynamic and international research environment. Our research facilities include modern laboratories, a protein production and purification facility and protein biophysics instruments.

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 formulated by the applicant.

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. Salary, 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 27,360 DKK /approx. 3,660 EUR (October 2019-level) plus pension.

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

General information about PhD study at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences is available at the Graduate School’s website:

Application procedure

Your application must be submitted electronically by clicking ‘Apply now’ below. The application must include the following documents in PDF format: 

  1. Motivated letter of application (max. one page)
  2. CV incl. education, experience, language skills and other skills relevant for the position
  3. Master of Science diploma and transcript of records. If not completed, a certified/signed copy of a recent transcript of records or a written statement from the institution or supervisor will do
  4. Publication list (if possible)

Application deadline: 12 March 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 authorized 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.

You can read about the recruitment process at

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 between via Skype between 2 April 2020 and 8 April 2020 and in person at the Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology between 20 April 2020 and 28 April 2020.

The Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences comprises approximately 7800 students, 1550 PhD students and 4400 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.


Céline Galvagnion


Application deadline: 12-03-2020
Employment start: 01-06-2020
Working hours: Full time
Department/Location: Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology

In your application, please refer to


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