PhD Position in Stem Cell Medicine

University of Copenhagen


PhD position in stem cell-based drug screening at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Stem Cell Medicine (reNEW)

The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Stem Cell Medicine (reNEW) at University of Copenhagen is looking for a PhD fellow to join the Human Neural Development group led by PI Agnete Kirkeby. The position is scheduled to commence on the 1st of October 2022 or on a nearby alternative date upon agreement with the chosen candidate. The position is for 3 years.

Research group

The Human Neural Development research team is located at the The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Stem Cell Medicine (reNEW) at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences of University of Copenhagen. Our group works to develop stem cell transplantation therapies for brain disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease, dementia and narcolepsy by producing high-purity cultures of subtype-specific human neural cells in the lab and testing these in animal models of disease. We further apply advanced stem cell technologies to study normally inaccessible stages of human brain development as well as to produce models of human brain diseases in the dish (i.e. Parkinson’s Disease, Schizophrenia, dementia and hypothalamic disorders).

We offer creative and stimulating working conditions in a dynamic and highly international research environment. Our team currently consists of 16 team members at University of Copenhagen + 5 team members in our sister group at Lund University, representing a total of 12 different nationalities. Our labs at University of Copenhagen are located in a new and modern research facilities and include state-of-the-art laboratories, pleasant office facilities and access to high-quality core facilities in transcriptomics, imaging, flow cytometry and proteomics.

To read more about the team:

Job description

We are seeking a highly motivated and ambitious pre-doctoral candidate with a strong educational background in the field of biotechnology, biomedicine, biology, medicine or bioinformatics. The candidate will enter into a research project aiming to discover novel druggable pathways for treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) through the use of a stem cell-based in vitro model of AD pathology. The project will involve the development of a high-throughput in vitro assay with stem cell-derived neurons and glial cells to screen chemical compounds for their effect on AD-related pathology and neuronal function. Additionally, the project will also involve collaborative work with other team members on the transplantation and in vivo assessment of human neurons in rodent models of dementia. The candidate will be expected to plan and carry out an independent research project under supervision by the PI, and will also be expected to participate actively in collaborative projects together with other team members.

The technologies you will apply are:

  • Pluripotent stem cell culturing
  • Directed neural and glial differentiation
  • High-content live imaging
  • Compound screening
  • Single cell RNA sequencing
  • High-throughput qRT-PCR
  • Flow cytometry
  • Immunocytochemistry
  • Stereotactic transplantation to rodents
  • Behavioural cognitive analyses in rodents

Key criteria for the assessment of applicants
The following requirements for the candidate will be assessed as key criteria for the recruitment.

Mandatory requirements:

  • Master’s degree related to the subject area of the project e.g. Biology, Biomedicine, Biotechnology, Human Biology, Bioinformatics/data science or similar
  • Experience in participating in biological research project(s)
  • Experience in pluripotent cell culturing, including directed neural and glial differentiation
  • Experience in intracerebral stereotactic surgery and behavioural testing in rodents
  • FELASA certificate for working with animals
  • Prior training in working in R and/or Python
  • Fluency in English, written and spoken.

Positively assessed criteria:

  • Experience with immunostaining and microscopy
  • Experience in RNA extraction and qRT-PCR
  • Experience in high-throughput automated image analysis 
  • Experience from working in teams and on collaborative projects
  • Positive reviews from previous supervisors, collaborators or mentors

Terms of salary, work, and employment :

The successful candidate will be offered a full-time position for a total of 3 years as PhD fellow. The position requires accepted enrolment in the Graduate School at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences.

Salary, pension, and terms of employment are in accordance with the agree­ment between the Ministry of Taxation and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State. Depending on seniority, the monthly salary starts at approximately 27,800 DKK/Roughly 3,700 EUR (October 2021 level) plus pension.

The PhD study must be completed in accordance with the ministerial orders from the Ministry of Education on the PhD degree and the University ́s rules on achieving the degree. 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 from previous research projects, previous employments, technical skills, language skills and other skills relevant for the position + contact information of two references.
  3. Certified copy of original Master of Science diploma and transcript of records in the original language, including an authorized English translation if issued in other language than English or Danish. If not completed, a certified/signed copy of a recent transcript of records or a written statement from the institution or supervisor is accepted. As a prerequisite for a PhD fellowship employment, your master’s degree must be equivalent to a Danish master’s degree. We encourage you to read more in the assessment database: Please note that we might ask you to obtain an assessment of your education performed by the Ministry of Higher Education and Science
  4. Publication list (if relevant)
  5. Reference letters (optional – if not supplied, we may contact references directly, if agreed to by the candidate)

Contact information:

For questions about the project and group, please contact the principal supervisor Associate Professor Agnete Kirkeby, e-mail: phone: +45 5168 5353

Application deadline:  30 June 2022, 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.

Assessment procedure

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.

The applicant will be assessed according to the Ministerial Order no. 242 of 13 March 2012 on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Universities. 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: 30-06-2022
Employment start: 01-10-2022
Working hours: Full time
Department/Location: reNEW NNF Center for Stem Cell Medicine

In your application, please refer to


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