Postdoc position for the project: "The lactate receptor GPR81/HCAR1 as a target in treatment of solid tumors"

at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research
Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
University of Copenhagen


We seek a highly motivated and dynamic postdoc for a project entitled “The lactate receptor GPR81/HCAR1 as a target in treatment of solid tumors” to start May 1, 2020 or as soon as possible hereafter.


The project is a collaboration between Prof. Thue W. Schwartz, the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, and Prof. Stine F. Pedersen, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science at University of Copenhagen. The candidate will work closely with both groups, which are located within 10 minutes walking distance from each other at the campus. Each group employ several postdocs, PhD students, and undergraduate students and provide a strong, international research environment. 

Further information concerning the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research and the Department of Biology can be found at and

Project Description

Because of their extensive metabolic acid production and poor tumor vascularization, cancer cells in solid tumors exist in a microenvironment characterized by very high lactate levels, in conjunction with acidosis and hypoxia. GPR81, which exhibits restricted expression in normal tissues, is highly expressed in many cancers and increases tumor aggressiveness via effects on cancer cell metabolism, immune checkpoints, invasiveness, vascularization, and chemotherapy resistance. Moreover, GPR81 upregulation in immune cells appears to be involved in immune evasion. However, the mechanisms through which GPR81 expression is controlled and how the receptor exerts its effects, and the potential of GPR81 inhibition in anticancer treatment, are poorly understood. In this project, we will address these questions using state-of-the-art cancer models and taking advantage of novel, proprietary GPR81 antagonists. The long-term goal is to determine the potential of GPR81 antagonists in treatment of solid tumors.  

Together with other team members, the candidate will be responsible for driving the understanding of the role of GPR81 in solid tumors. This will include working with metabolic analyses, advanced tumor models including CRISPR/Cas9 knockdown, 3D organotypic models, and immune cell-cancer cell coculture models, as well as animal models. The current focus in on breast cancer, however, several cancers, including breast, pancreatic, ovarian and bladder cancer, exhibit high GPR81 expression and will be of interest. Focus will be on understanding the signaling pathways and cellular mechanisms through which GPR81 drives cancer aggressiveness. 


We are looking for a highly motivated and enthusiastic scientist ideally with a background in cancer research and strong expertise in advanced cell culture systems and molecular biology approaches. The project has clear innovation potential, which is expected to be exploited; consequently, interest in innovation processes will also be an advantage and eventual participation in a spin-out company could become a reality.  

The ideal candidate is a highly motivated and enthusiastic scientists with:

  • A PhD degree preferably within molecular/cellular biology, metabolic research or a related field.
  • A solid research background in cancer research.
  • Hands on experience with advanced cell culture systems and molecular biology approaches.
  • Expertise in gene/promoter regulation, cancer immunology, and/or angiogenesis, could be an advantage
  • License to run animal experiments and experience in handling laboratory animals would be an advantage.
  • An ambitious, independent and critical mindset
  • An interest in co-supervising PhD-students
  • Passion for working in a highly interdisciplinary environment
  • Ability to work autonomously as well as in a team
  • Documented track record of excellent scientific publications
  • Excellent English communication skills, both written and oral

 Terms of employment

The postdoc position is a full-time position for 2 years but could potentially be prolonged. Starting date is May 1, 2020 or as soon as possible after.

Salary, pension and terms of employment will be in accordance with the agreement between the Danish Ministry of Finance and AC (Danish Confederation of Professional Associations). Depending on qualifications, a supplement may be negotiated.

Non-Danish and Danish applicants may be eligible for tax reductions, if they hold a PhD degree and have not lived in Denmark the last 10 years.

The positions are covered by the “Ministerial Order on Job Structure for Academic Staff at the Universities of December 11, 2019”.


For further information about Prof. Thue Schwartz ( or Prof. Stine F. Pedersen ( For questions regarding the recruitment procedure, please contact SUND HR CBMR at

International applicants may find this link useful:  (International Staff Mobility).

Application procedure

Your online application must be submitted in English by clicking ‘Apply now’ below. Furthermore, your application must include the following documents/attachments – all in PDF format:

  • Motivated letter of application (max. one page)
  • Curriculum vitae (maximum of 2 pages; your ORCID must be included)
  • Full list of publications (journal impact factors at publication date must be included)
  • References (name and contact details of at least two references)       

Application deadline: March 3, 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. 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 applicants will be assessed according to the Ministerial Order no. 242 of 13 March 2012 on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Universities.
The University of Copenhagen wishes to reflect the diversity of society and welcome applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.


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.


Thue W. Schwartz


Application deadline: 03-03-2020
Employment start: 01-05-2020
Working hours: Full time
Department/Location: Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research

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