Postdoc in "Uncovering the key molecular switch in control of muscle glycogen metabolism"

Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research

University of Copenhagen


The University of Copenhagen seeks a highly motivated and talented postdoctoral fellow to commence October 1, 2020 at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research, University of Copenhagen.

The postdoctoral fellowship is part of the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research International Postdoctoral Program

About Us

The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research’s vision is to strengthen interdisciplinary research that transforms our basic understanding of the mechanisms that underlie metabolic health and disease, and to accelerate this knowledge toward new prevention and treatment strategies. We were established in 2010, and in 2017 we moved into new laboratories, offices and meeting rooms in the Maersk Tower

The Center has around 200 employees who work in an international, highly collaborative research environment across a range of biomedical disciplines. You can read more about us here:

Our Research

We investigate key molecular signaling mechanisms that control energy metabolism and glucose homeostasis associated with exercise, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. We take the state of art and integrated biochemical, genetic, and physiological approaches in collaboration with internationally renowned institutes/investigators all over the world. See our group page and our key recent discoveries:

Job Description

Glycogen is a primary form of energy storage that is essential for physical activity and glucose homeostasis. Muscle glycogen phosphorylase (PYGM) is one of the key enzymes in glycogen metabolism, as it plays a critical role in glycogen breakdown during exercise and prolonged fasting. PYGM is activated by the allosteric binding of 5’-adenosine monophosphate (AMP) or by phosphorylation of its Ser15 residue by phosphorylase kinase. Phosphorylation converts phosphorylase b form, which is inactive without AMP, to phosphorylase a form, which is active in the absence of AMP. The relative importance of these two molecular-switch mechanisms (allosteric vs. phosphorylation) under physiological settings in vivo is unknown. The primary goal of the current project is to elucidate the physiological role that allosteric (AMP)- and phospho-dependent activation of PYGM plays in regulating glycogen metabolism in muscle at both the molecular and whole-body level using an original approach, including a novel allosteric-deficient knockin mouse model. Using a similar approach (allosteric-deficient knockin models), we identified key molecular mechanisms and physiological roles for insulin-mediated glycogen synthesis (Bouskila et al, Cell Metab, 2010) and the glucose-lowering action of the most widely used diabetes drug metformin (Hunter et al, Nat Med, 2018). One of your key tasks is to perform physiological and metabolic characterizations of the novel genetic mouse model.


The fellowship is aimed at early career researchers with a basic science background or clinicians who aspire to a career in academic medicine. We are particularly interested in candidates who are familiar with integrative research approaches within the broad area of basic metabolic research with an application towards human pathophysiology.

Required qualifications:

  • PhD in biochemistry, cell biology, physiology or related sciences
  • Excellent scientific track record in relation to career stage (at least one first authored publication in an internationally recognised peer-reviewed journal)
  • Profound knowledge of glucose/glycogen metabolism and their molecular/physiological regulation
  • Experience with mouse metabolic phenotyping and biochemical assays
  • Capable of working in a team, but able to plan and drive work independently
  • Excellent English communication skills, both written and oral


The CBMR International Postdoctoral Program is open for applicants that hold a PhD degree awarded from a university outside of Denmark. The program is also open for applicants with a Danish PhD degree who can document at least 12 months full-time research experience from outside Denmark. You are not eligible to apply for the program if you have been employed in a postdoctoral position for more than one year at the University of Copenhagen prior to the commencement of the fellowship.

 Terms of Employment

The employment as postdoc is a full-time position for 3 years. Starting date is October 1, 2020.

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.


For further information about the position, please contact Professor Kei Sakamoto at Questions regarding the CBMR International Postdoctoral Program must be directed to For questions regarding the recruitment procedure, please contact HR at

The University of Copenhagen International Staff Mobility office offers support and assistance to all international researchers on all issues related to moving to and settling in Denmark. Read more at

Application Procedure

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

  • Cover letter expressing the motivation and previous research experience of the applicant (max 1 page)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Copy of the PhD degree certificate and the Master degree certificate. In case the PhD has not yet been completed, a written statement from the supervisor is acceptable.
  • List of publications
  • References (name and contact details of at least two references)

 Application Deadline: March 22, 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 applicant will be assessed according to the Ministerial Order no. 242 of March 13, 2012 on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Universities.
The University of Copenhagen wishes to reflect the diversity of society and welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of their 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.


Kei Sakamoto


Application deadline: 22-03-2020
Employment start: 01-10-2020
Working hours: Full time
Department/Location: NNF Center for Basic Metabolic Research

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