Two PhD fellows in Human Diet-Gut-Brain interactions at Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports
Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen
Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, Faculty of Science at University of Copenhagen is offering two PhD scholarships to study interactions between dairy products, gut movements, the microbiome, cognition and brain function in humans commencing 01.10.2023 or as soon as possible thereafter.
The scientific environments
The two positions are available in the Research Groups of Gut Microbes, Diet and Health and Motor Control and Neuroplasticity, respectively, at the Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports.
The Gut Microbes, Diet and Health Research Group
The group conducts research to understand the mechanisms by which the gut microbiota contributes to digestion and health. The group conducts human cohort and intervention studies, apply cutting-edge metabolomics and microbiomics, and collaborate with leading microbiome researchers and researchers in immunology and intestinal host receptors to elucidate host-microbial cross-talk.
The Research group is headed by Associate Professor Henrik Munch Roager. We strive for scientific excellence through multidisciplinary and collaborative, which is supported by an inclusive and international environment. See more:
The Motor Control and Neuroplasticity Research Group
The overall purpose of the research performed by the group is to understand the neurophysiological foundations that underlie motor and cognitive functions in humans. The group uses a variety of neuroimaging and neurostimulation techniques (EEG, (f)MRI, TMS) in combination with physical and cognitive testing to investigate how brain networks modulate behavior and we collaborate closely with research groups developing novel, cutting-edge methods of network-quantification.
The Research group is headed by Associate Professor Anke Ninija Karabanov. Our group is characterized by an interdisciplinary, collaborative and inclusive mindset that supports scientific excellence and curiosity. See more: https://nexs.ku.dk/english/research/movement-neuroscience/motor-control-and-neuroplasticity/
Responsibilities and tasks
The two PhD positions are part of a project called YourGutBrain - Yoghurt to alter gut movements and brain function supported by Arla Food for Health, a public-private research partnership between the University of Copenhagen, Aarhus University, Arla Foods Amba and Arla Foods Ingredients.
The project brings together a multi-disciplinary team of experts across nutrition, diet-microbiome interactions, cognitive performance and brain activity to uncover novel causal and mechanistic evidence of fermented dairy as an approach to optimize gut health and cognition.
The two PhD students will together conduct a human intervention study to investigate whether consumption of fermented dairy products affects gut movements, the gut microbiome, and cognitive performance when compared with a non-fermented dairy-control in healthy women with few bowel movements per week. This includes recruitment of participants, examination visits, and handling of biological samples.
Furthermore, one PhD student will mainly focus on gut outcomes with emphasis on measures of bowel habits and colonic fermentation, whereas the other PhD student will focus on the brain outcomes with emphasis on cognitive performance and EEG-based measures of brain activity and connectivity. In addition, the candidates will take part in generating microbiome and metabolomics data, respectively. Finally, the candidates will take part in combining multi-omics data using multivariate statistics, and write scientific publications.
The positions involve collaborative work with academic partners at Department of Food Science, Aarhus University and APC Microbiome Ireland, University College Cork.
Principal supervisors are Associate Professor Henrik Munch Roager (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Associate Professor Anke Karabanov (email@example.com), Department of Nutrition Exercise and Sports, University of Copenhagen.
The two positions are available for a 3-year period and your key tasks as a PhD student at SCIENCE are:
- 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, (Aarhus University and/or APC Microbiome Ireland, University College Cork)
- 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
Key criteria for the assessment of applicants
We are looking for highly motivated applicants with the following competences and experiences:
- To be eligible for the 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. in Neuroscience, Human Physiology, Psychology or Microbiology, Biotechnology, Bioinformatics, Human Nutrition or related fields with excellent results. For information of eligibility of completed programmes, see General assessments for specific countries and Assessment database.
- The candidate will be self-motivated with the ability to work independently as well as competent to collaborate as part of an interdisciplinary team.
- A creative and curious mindset with a strong drive
- Excellent communication skills in both spoken and written English.
- Fluency in Danish (or related Nordic language) is an advantage
- Prior experience and hands-on in any of the following areas is an advantage:
- Human intervention/cohort studies
- Neuroscientific studies using methods like fMRI, EEG, cognitive tests.
- Metabolomics, Metagenomics or other omics methods
- Advanced data-analyses and statistical computing
Terms of employment
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.
Terms of appointment and payment accord to the agreement between the Danish Ministry of Taxation and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State. The position is covered by the Protocol on Job Structure.
Application and Assessment Procedure
Your application including all attachments must be in English and submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.
- Motivated letter of application (max. one page).
- Your motivation for applying for the specific PhD project.
- Curriculum vitae including information about your education, experience, language skills and other skills relevant for the position.
- Original diplomas for Bachelor of Science and 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.
- Publication list (if possible).
- Reference letters (if available).
The deadline for applications is 6 August 2023, 23:59 (GMT+2).
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. 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 the week of 21-25th of August 2023.
For specific information about the PhD scholarships, please contact the principal supervisors Associate Professor Henrik Munch Roager (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Associate Professor Anke Karabanov (email@example.com).
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.
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.