PhD Fellowship in Transcription and the DNA Damage Response in the Svejstrup Laboratory

University of Copenhagen Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine


PhD fellowship in Transcription and the DNA damage response in the Svejstrup laboratory at Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine (ICMM), Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

We are offering a PhD fellowship for a talented and highly motivated student interested in investigating the interface between gene transcription, RNA metabolism and genome stability. The successful candidate will be employed in the Svejstrup laboratory at the Institute of Cellular and Molecular Medicine (ICMM) at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen. 

About the lab and the department

In September 2020, the Svejstrup Laboratory re-located from the Francis Crick institute in London to the ICMM (

Dr Svejstrup’s laboratory focuses on various aspects of transcription-associated genome instability and the cellular response to DNA damage obstructing transcription. Details of recent papers and research projects currently being undertaken can be found in the link above.

Research techniques used in the laboratory include: Molecular cell biology, Biochemistry (including SILAC proteomics and reconstitution of key processes with purified factors in vitro) and modern Genome-wide techniques (ChIP-Seq, RNA-Seq, GRO-Seq, etc), as well as Genomic screening (siRNA and CRISPR screens).

Svejstrup lab represents cutting-edge interdisciplinary research and training, and will be located in the Panum Institute (18.6) within the ICMM. We will have access to state-of-the-art facilities for mass spectrometry, flow cytometry, cell engineering, and next-generation sequencing.

Please read more about ICMM by following this link:

Project description

The project will be decided in consultation with the student but might involve:

  • Investigations aimed at gaining a deeper understanding of the molecular processes underlying transcription-coupled repair (TC-NER), with a particular focus on the transcription-repair coupling factors CSA and CSB, both encoded by genes that are mutated in the severe neurological disorder Cockayne syndrome.
  • A second area of interest is related to the process of transcript elongation and ‘transcription stress’, and in particular the mechanisms that allow RNA polymerase II to transcribe a gene with high fidelity and without loss of genome stability.
  • A third new research area investigating transcription-related factors that govern nucleus-cytoplasm communication, and which ensure that the entire process of gene expression (from transcription in the nucleus to mRNA translation in the cytoplasm) is correctly regulated.

Principal supervisor is Professor Jesper Svejstrup, ICMM, (

Start:          September 2021 or soon thereafter.
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 in Biochemistry, Biology, Biomedicine or similar.

Other important criteria are:

  • The grade point average achieved.
  • Professional qualifications relevant to the PhD project.
  • Previous publications.
  • Relevant laboratory experience in molecular cell biology or biochemistry.
  • Other professional activities.
  • Curious mind-set with a strong interest in DNA, RNA and gene expression.
  • Excellent English skills written and spoken.

Place of employment

The place of employment is at the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine (ICMM), University of Copenhagen.

Our lab at the ICMM offers a creative and ambitious scientific environment, with nine different nationalities presently represented and English as the working language. We strive to produce research results with high international impact focusing on the functional cell, its genetic components and molecular cellular mechanisms in a medical context.

The ICMM currently comprises five research programs, three high profile Research Centers as well as a number of internationally renowned research groups. The scientists at ICMM are involved in high quality research based undergraduate and graduate teaching programs at the University of Copenhagen. 

Terms of employment

The employment as PhD fellow is full time (37 working hours per week in average) 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 at DKK 27,788 / approx. EUR 3,736 (April 2021-level) plus an employer paid pension contribution of 17.1 %.


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 (in English) 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: Tuesday 15 June 2021, 23.59 p.m. 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.

The Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences comprises approximately 7,850 students, 1,700 PhD students and 4,800 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.


Jesper Qualmann Svejstrup


Application deadline: 15-06-2021
Employment start: 01-09-2021
Department/Location: Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine


In your application, please refer to


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