PhD fellowship in BonePainIII - Pain in Multiple Myeloma at the Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
University of Copenhagen

A 3-year PhD fellowship is available at the Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen with an expected start day 15 May 2024 or as soon as possible hereafter.

The fellowship is part of the European Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Doctoral Network BonePainIII ( The position is 36 months and funded by the European Union’s Horizon Europe Research and Innovation programme under the grant agreement No 101120524.

About BonePainIII – Identifying mechanisms and novel treatments of bone pain – closing the gap to the clinic. BonePainIII is a European Doctoral Network to promote frontline research, innovation and education within bone pain. Millions in Europe and beyond suffer from bone pain, which is a debilitating complication of many musculoskeletal disorders such as arthritis and cancer in the bone. The BonePainIII network has participants from six European countries and encompasses six academic groups and five industries, all of which are committed to creating an outstanding training program for doctoral candidates to elucidate the mechanisms of bone pain and develop new medicines.

In BonePainIII, you will be part of an international network with supervision, mentorship and research stays across sectors.

Project description
The aim
of the project is to identify novel targets for the treatment of bone pain in multiple myeloma.

Multiple myeloma is the second most common haematological cancer and it is characterized by a proliferation of malignant plasma cells (myeloma cells) in the bone marrow, which often causes osteolytic bone lesions. At the time of diagnosis, more than half of the multiple myeloma patients report bone pain, which is often severe and impairs their quality of life. However, despite the impact of pain on these patients, there is limited knowledge on the underlying mechanisms and a lack of effective treatment options for the pain.

We have used computational analysis to identify ligands secreted by cells in the multiple myeloma bone marrow microenvironment, which stimulate sensory neuron receptors. For this project, you will further experimentally validate these findings: 1) You will use human iPSC (induced pluripotent stem cell) derived sensory neurons to test the effects of the ligands on neuronal activation, sensitisation and outgrowth. 2) You will test the anti-nociceptive effect of selected antagonists in a mouse model of multiple myeloma-induced bone pain to assess the ligands as therapeutic targets.

This project will provide in vitro and in vivo validation of novel human targets for the treatment of multiple myeloma-induced bone pain and provide a platform for the future development of new therapeutics.

Principal supervisor
Professor Anne-Marie Heegaard, Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology

15 May 2024 or as soon as possible hereafter.

3 years as a PhD student

Our group and research
We focus on translational research in painful bone disorders such as bone metastasis and fibrous dysplasia to identify nociceptive mechanisms and novel treatment targets. The methodologies include in vitro assays, in vivo experiments and clinical studies. We strive for a positive research culture where you can develop in a supportive, collaborative environment.

Our department
The Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology ( delivers drug-related research and research-based teaching within a wide range of drug-related disciplines, spanning the molecular, cellular, and pharmacological levels.

Job description
Your key tasks as a PhD fellow at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences are:

  • Carrying through an independent research project under supervision
  • Participating in the BonePainIII training and network activities
  • Completing PhD courses or other equivalent education corresponding to approximately 30 ECTS points
  • Conducting a research stay at an external research laboratory within the BonePainIII network
  • Obtaining experience with teaching or other types of dissemination related to your PhD project
  • Participating in national and international conferences and scientific meetings
  • Writing scientific articles and 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 (at the time of employment).  Please note that your master’s degree must be equivalent to a Danish master’s degree (two years). Experience with in vivo models and a passed course in Laboratory Animal Science EU Function ABD (formerly FELASA Category) or equivalent will be an advantage.

Applicants will also be required to meet the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions - Doctoral Networks eligibility criterion:

  • Mobility Rule - researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Denmark for more than 12 months in the 36 months immediately before their date of recruitment. Compulsory national service, short stays such as holidays, and time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention are not taken into account.

Please note that you will only be considered for the position if you fulfill the mobility rule.

Other important criteria are:

  • Professional qualifications relevant to the PhD project
  • Previous publications
  • Relevant work experience
  • The grades achieved during bachelor/master studies
  • Other professional activities
  • Solid level of English and good general communication skills
  • The candidate’s motivation letter

Place of employment
The place of employment is at the Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen. We offer creative and stimulating working conditions in dynamic and international research environment.

Terms of employment
The average weekly working hours are 37 hours per week.

The position is a fixed-term position limited to a period of 3 years and is to commence on 15 May 2024 or as soon as possible hereafter.

The 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 to the Graduate School of Health and Medical Sciences.

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 requirements from the European Commission related to the MSCA programme and the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State. Depending on seniority, the gross monthly salary starts at approximately 28,990 DKK/roughly 3,890 EUR (taxable) plus pension (October 2023 level).

Application procedure
Your application, in English, must be submitted electronically by clicking “Apply now” below and must include the following documents in PDF format:

  • Motivated letter of application (max. one page)
  • CV incl. education, experience, language skills and other skills relevant for the position
  • Certified copy of original Master of Science diploma and transcript of records in the original language, including an authorized English translation if issued in other 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.

As a prerequisite for a PhD fellowship employment, your master’s degree must be equivalent to a Danish master’s degree. We encourage you to read more in the assessment database: Please note that we might ask you to obtain an assessment of your education performed by the Ministry of Higher Education and Science.

Applicants with a Master´s degree from abroad should also enclose a short description of the grading scale used

  • Publication list (if possible)
  • References and letters of recommendations (if possible)

The deadline for applications is Tuesday 27 February 2024, 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 authorised 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.

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 18-22 March 2024.

You can read about the recruitment process at

For further information, applicants may contact the principal supervisor Professor Anne-Marie Heegaard, e-mail:, direct phone: +45 3533 6322 or PhD coordinator Marianne W. Jørgensen, e-mail:, direct phone: +45 3533 6449.

General information about PhD studies at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences is available at the Graduate School’s website:

For more information on working and living in Denmark visit (International staff mobility) and

The University of Copenhagen wish to reflect the diversity of society and encourage all qualified candidates to apply 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.


Marianne Wieslander Jørgensen


Anne-Marie Heegaard


Application deadline: 27-02-2024
Employment start: 15-05-2024
Working hours: Full time
Department/Location: Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology
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