PhD fellowship in synaptic transmission of patient-derived neurons at Department of Neuroscience, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences University of Copenhagen

We are offering a PhD fellowship in synaptic transmission of patient-derived neurons commencing 1 December 2020 or as soon as possible hereafter.

Our group and research

The Sørensen group is highly interactive and characterized by teamwork. The team is interdisciplinary and international and we welcome team members of any nationality, gender and age. Our work focuses on understanding the molecular mechanism of synaptic transmission and neurotransmitter release in the healthy and diseased state. We perform work on neuroendocrine cells and central synapses with a range of methods, including molecular biology, cell biology, and electrophysiology/electrochemistry. Information on the Sørensen group here:

Project description

The position is part of the project “Neurodevelopmental disorders and the synapse” funded by the Lundbeckfonden call “What Causes Brain Disease?”. This is a collaboration with the Danish Epilepsy Hospital Filadelfia and Vrije Universiteit Medical Center, Amsterdam. The project involves novel human and animal models for neurodevelopmental disorders caused by mutation of the synaptic release machinery, as well as systematic comparison to human patient data. In the present PhD-project, the task will be to study synaptic transmission from human stem-cell derived neurons carrying disease mutations within the synaptic release machinery. The aim is to establish whether specific effects of mutations on excitatory and inhibitory synaptic transmission can be detected in vitro, and to describe the effects in detail. This will set the stage for individualized screening or drug development. For an introduction to the diseases, please refer to our recent paper: Verhage and Sørensen, Neuron 2020 Jul 8; 107(1):22-37.

Principal supervisor is Professor Jakob Balslev Sørensen, Department of Neuroscience,, direct phone: +45 51680499.

Start:    1 December 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. biology, biochemistry, molekylær biomedicin, nanoscience, biotechnology or similar.

Other important criteria are:

  • The grade point average achieved
  • Relevant work experience with cell culture (neuronal primary cultures, stemcells, etc).
  • Relevant work experience with electrophysiology (whole-cell patch-clamp).
  • Other professional activities relevant to the PhD project
  • Curious mind-set with a strong interest in synaptic transmission and disease models.
  • Proficiency in spoken and written English

Place of employment

The place of employment is at Department of Neuroscience, 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 in the Mærsk Tower.

Terms of employment
The employment as PhD fellow is full time and for 3 years.

Employment 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 26.887 DKK /approx. 3.585 EUR (Oct 2018-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 relevant)

Application deadline:  28 September 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 in week 42 or 43 (2020).

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 t


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: 28-09-2020
Employment start: 01-12-2020
Department/Location: Institut for Neurovidenskab

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