PhD fellowship in sleep circuits at Center for Translational Neuromedicine

We are offering a PhD fellowship in sleep circuits commencing 1 October 2024 or after agreement.


Our center
Center for Translational Neuromedicine currently has 50 employees and students and is divided into 4 labs. CTN is characterized by a highly ambitious research environment. The PhD student will be part of the Kjaerby lab. Being part of the Kjaerby lab offers an opportunity to work in an in vivo lab engaged in neuroscience with a focus on restorative elements of sleep in heath and disease.
CTN is part of the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, and is located at Panum. The Center comprises modern laboratories and excellent facilities within neuroscience. The project that we are recruiting for focuses on the role of sleep in memory decline in mouse models of neurodegenerative disorders using in vivo optical imaging approaches.


Our research
You will be joining the Kjaerby lab that studies the impact of sleep on memory performance. Sleep is essential for cognitive performance, and it is well established that impaired sleep reduces cognition. Sleep is not a homogeneous brain state but composed of several micro-structures regulated by many regions within the brain. In recent years, short arousals have been recognized as an integral part of normal sleep adding to the complexity of sleep. In the Kjaerby group, we are interested in determining the impact of these frequent sleep-arousal transitions on shaping restorative sleep processes related to memory consolidation. Sleep disturbances are a large component of many neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disorders and exploring novel therapeutic strategies related to regulation of sleep-arousal transitions can potentially arrest cognitive decline for these disorders. We are driven by curiosity and shared excitement for scientific collaboration and discovery, and we value a diverse, international and inclusive scientific environment that fosters creativity.


Your job
You will be investigating the role of long-term sleep disturbances on cognitive decline in mouse models of neurodegenerative disorders. As a PhD student in the Kjaerby lab, you will be working in a field of in vivo fluorescent imaging and modulation trying to decipher the brain mechanisms involved in memory consolidation during sleep. For this project, you will work with deciphering the thalamic circuit involved in memory consolidation during using fluorescent brain imaging and modulation in mouse models during sleep. Your tasks will include the design and implementation of experimental workflows, which allow the visualization and manipulation of neuronal circuits using voltage indicators during sleep. Also, you are expected to train and mentor students at master level.

Principal supervisor is Associate Professor Celia Kjærby, Center for Translational Neuromedicine,

Start:                  Date

Duration:          3 years as a PhD student


Job description
Your key tasks as a PhD student at SUND are:

  • Carrying through an independent research project under supervision.
  • Completing PhD courses or other equivalent education corresponding to approximately 30 ECTS points.
  • Participating in active research environments including a stay at another research team.
  • Obtaining experience with teaching or other types of dissemination related to your PhD project
  • Teaching and disseminating your knowledge.
  • Writing 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. Master of Neuroscience, Human Biology or Molecular Biomedicine. Please note that your master’s degree must be equivalent to a Danish master’s degree (two years).

Other important criteria are:

  • The grade point average achieved
  • Professional qualifications relevant to the PhD project
  • Previous publications
  • Relevant work experience (experience within mouse surgery, in vivo fluorescent imaging, mouse behavior)
  • Other professional activities
  • A curious mind-set with a strong interest in sleep, memory and methodological development
  • Language skills


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. The start date is 1 October 2024 or after agreement.

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 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 Taxation and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State. Depending on seniority, the monthly salary starts at approximately 27,800 DKK/Roughly 3,700 EUR (October 2021 level) plus pension.


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

General information about PhD studies 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. 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

4. Publication list (if possible)


Application deadline:  28 July 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 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 find information about the recruitment process at:


The applicants 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 during August 2024.

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.


Celia Kjærby


Application deadline: 28-07-2024
Employment start: 01-10-2024
Working hours: Full time
Department/Location: Center for Translational Neuromedicine

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