PhD fellowship in Molecular Biophysics

We invite applications for two PhD student positions.

One position is with research focus on the exploration of biomembrane shape using computer simulations. The project is part of the research project “Unraveling Conformations of High-genus Membranes”, which is financed by Novo Nordisk Fonden.

The other position is where the research aim to use different computer simulations to understand how the shape of mitochondrial membranes emerges. The project is part of a research project entitled “Coupling Architectures of the Cellular Powerhouse to Energy Production States”, which is financed by Sapere Aude: DFF-Forskningsleder.

Start date is (expected to be) first of September 2023 or as soon as possible thereafter.

The project “Unraveling Conformations of High-genus Membranes
Our goal is to use and expand a multiscale simulation scheme to characterize the shape of high-genus membranes.
Biomembranes are fundamental to our understanding of the cell, the basic building block of all life. An intriguing aspect of membranes is their ability to assume a variety of shapes, which is crucial for cell function. The shape of fluid lipid membranes with spherical topology has been extensively explored. However, our understanding of membranes of higher genera remains extremely limited. High-genus membranes are of interest for several reasons, for example (i) organelle membranes, such as the ones found in mitochondria and Golgi apparatus exhibit high-genus shapes, and (ii) these structures allow for a much wider range of membrane conformations, which enables a better design of biomimetic systems.

The project “Coupling Architectures of the Cellular Powerhouse to Energy Production States
The inner membrane of mitochondria, the powerhouse of the cell, is highly folded, exhibiting intricate dynamical structures called cristae that are integral to a multitude of cellular processes, in particular bioenergetic demand. Abnormal cristae architectures are associated with many diseases, such as liver dysfunction. However, it remains obscure how exactly the crista shapes emerge and are connected to molecular activities. The goal of this project is to use multiscale computer simulation to understand how the activities and cooperativity of key molecular players shape crista membranes.

Who are we looking for?
The candidates should have a background in physics, chemistry, biology, bioinformatic, or related fields. It is considered a strength to have knowledge of (one or more of) biomolecular modeling, computer simulations, computer programming, statistical mechanics, linear algebra and/or differential geometry.

Contact person and supervisor: Assistant Professor Weria Pezeshkian, Niels Bohr International Academy, Niels Bohr Institute, Faculty of SCIENCE, University of Copenhagen, weria.pezeshkian@nbi.ku.dk.

Principal supervisor: Associate Professor Poul Martin Bendix, Niels Bohr Institute, Faculty of SCIENCE, University of Copenhagen, bendix@nbi.ku.dk.

The PhD programme
A three year full-time study within the framework of the regular PhD programme (5+3 scheme), if you already have an education equivalent to a relevant Danish master’s degree.

Option A: Getting into a position on the regular PhD programme

Qualifications needed for the regular programme
To be eligible for the regular PhD programme, you must have completed a degree programme, equivalent to a Danish master’s degree (180 ECTS/3 FTE BSc + 120 ECTS/2 FTE MSc) related to the subject area of the project, e.g. physics or chemistry. For information of eligibility of completed programmes, see General assessments for specific countries and Assessment database.

Terms of employment in the regular programme
Employment as PhD fellow is full time and for maximum 3 years.
Employment is conditional upon your successful enrolment as a PhD student at the PhD School at the Faculty of SCIENCE, University of Copenhagen. This requires submission and acceptance of an application for the specific project formulated by the applicant.
The terms of employment and salary are in accordance to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State (AC). The position is covered by the Protocol on Job Structure.

Option B: Getting into a position on the integrated MSc and PhD programme

Qualifications needed for the integrated MSc and PhD programme
If you do not have an education equivalent to a relevant Danish master´s degree, you might be qualified for the integrated MSc and PhD programme, if you have an education equivalent to a relevant Danish bachelor´s degree. Here you can find out, if that is relevant for you: General assessments for specific countries and Assessment database.  

Responsibilities and tasks in both PhD programmes

  • Carry through an independent research project under supervision
  • Complete PhD courses corresponding to approx. 30 ECTS / ½ FTE
  • Participate in active research environments, including a stay at another research institution, preferably abroad
  • Teaching and knowledge dissemination activities
  • Write scientific papers aimed at high-impact journals
  • Write and defend a PhD thesis on the basis of your project

We are looking for the following qualifications:

  • Professional qualifications relevant to the PhD project
  • Relevant publications
  • Relevant work experience
  • Other relevant professional activities
  • Curious mind-set with a strong interest in biophysics
  • Good language skills

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Application and Assessment Procedure
Your application including all attachments must be in English and submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.

Please include

  1. Motivated letter of application, describe why you are interested in pursuing a PhD (max. one page)
  2. Curriculum vitae including information about your education, experience, language skills and other skills relevant for the position
  3. Original diplomas for Bachelor of Science or Master of Science and transcript of records in the original language, including an authorized English translation if issued in another 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.
  4. Publication list (if possible)
  5. Reference letters (if available)

Application deadline:
The deadline for applications is 28, February, 2023, 23:59 GMT +1.

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 deadline, a number of applicants will be selected for academic assessment by an unbiased expert assessor. You are notified, whether you will be passed for assessment.

The assessor will assess the qualifications and experience of the shortlisted applicants with respect to the above mentioned research area, techniques, skills and other requirements. The assessor will conclude whether each applicant is qualified and, if so, for which of the two models. The assessed applicants will have the opportunity to comment on their assessment. You can read about the recruitment process at https://employment.ku.dk/faculty/recruitment-process/.

Interviews with selected candidates are expected to be held in April.

Questions
For specific information about the PhD fellowship, please contact the supervisor.

General information about PhD study at the Faculty of SCIENCE is available at the PhD School’s website: https://www.science.ku.dk/phd/.

The University of Copenhagen wishes to reflect the surrounding community and invites all regardless of personal background to apply for the position. 

APPLY NOW

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.

Info

Application deadline: 28-02-2023
Employment start: 01-09-2023
Working hours: Full time
Department/Location: Niels Bohr Institutet

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