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A PhD fellowship in Cancer Genetics at Héctor Herranz´s Group. The Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

The Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine (ICMM) invites applicants for a 3 years PhD fellowship in Using Drosophila as a model to determine how metabolism affects cancer. The fellowship is available from June 2018 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Job description
Cancer is a genetic disease that involves the accumulation of mutations affecting multiple biological processes. Cancer-promoting changes include sustaining proliferative signaling, evading growth suppressors, resisting cell death, enabling replicative immortality, inducing angiogenesis, and activating invasion and metastasis.

Tumorigenesis is also dependent on changes in cellular metabolism. Tumor cells undergo a metabolic shift toward increased use of glucose, in a process called aerobic glycolysis or Warburg effect. Besides, there is a strong clinical association between metabolic disorders including obesity and type 2 diabetes and the risk of specific types of cancer, and patients with metabolic dysfunction have higher cancer-related mortality. Even though tumor metabolism and metabolism-related morbidities affect cancer, the molecular mechanisms that link these metabolic alterations and disease progression remain poorly understood.

Drosophila melanogaster (the “fruit fly”) is emerging as a valuable model to study human diseases, including neurological disorders, cardiovascular diseases, as well as cancer. Flies have many experimental advantages, including sophisticated genetic tools, a short life cycle, and the ease with which large numbers of individuals can be examined in well-targeted genetic screens. Genetic conservation between flies and humans is substantial, with 75% of known human disease genes having related sequences in Drosophila. Consequently, hypotheses generated using flies often prove to be relevant to biomedicine.

In this project, the PhD student will use Drosophila to determine how metabolic reprogramming and metabolic-related diseases affect cancer progression.

Your key tasks:

  • Carry out independent research under supervision
  • Complete PhD courses or other equivalent education corresponding to approx. 30 ECTS points
  • Participate in active research environments
  • An obligation to conduct some undergraduate teaching and associated examinations or other types of dissemination related to your PhD project
  • Write a PhD thesis on the grounds of your project

The project will be supervised by Héctor Herranz.

Scientific environment
The Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine (ICMM) offers an ambitious scientific environment, with many different nationalities represented. ICMM aims to produce research with high international impact focusing on the functional cell, its genetic components and molecular cellular mechanisms in a medical context. ICMM currently comprises five research programmes, three high profile Research Centers as well as a number of international research groups. The scientists at ICMM are involved in high quality research based undergraduate and graduate teaching programs at the University of Copenhagen. You can read more at

Required qualifications
Applicants must have qualifications corresponding to a master’s degree related to the subject area of the project. Experience with Drosophila genetics and cancer models will be required.

Other selection criteria considered important:
  • The grade point average achieved
  • Strong motivation and excellent scientific skills.
  • Professional qualifications relevant to the PhD programme
  • Previous publications
  • Good communication skills, both oral and written.
In all cases, the ability to perform the job will be the primary consideration, and thus the University of Copenhagen wishes to encourage everyone interested in this post to apply, regardless of personal background.

Terms of employment
The successful PhD candidate will be offered a full-time position for a period of three years, contingent on a satisfactory performance, with the specific intent that it results in a PhD degree and scientific publications.

It is a prerequisite for the appointment as a PhD fellow that the person concerned can be registered as a PhD fellow according to the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation Executive Order no 18 of 14. January 2008. Information about the PhD programs at the Faculty of Health Science can be found at

Salary and other terms and conditions of appointment are set in accordance with the Agreement between the Ministry of Finance and AC (Danish Confederation of Professional Associations) or other relevant professional organization.

For further information about the fellowship, please contact: Héctor Herrranz,

Foreign applicants may find the following links useful: (International Staff Mobility) and

Application procedure
The application must be submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.
Applications must be written in English and include (i) a motivation for the application (up to 1 A4 page), (ii) curriculum vitae, (iii) list of publications, (iv) a copy of MSc diploma and grade transcripts, (v) a short review of scientific research conducted previously for an MSc thesis or equivalent, and (vi) the names, e-mails, telephone numbers and addresses of 2-3 referees.
After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the Appointments Committee. All applicants are then immediately notified whether their application has been passed for assessment by an expert assessment committee. Selected applicants are notified of the composition of the committee and 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 deadline for applications is 9 May, 2018. Applications received later than this date will not be considered.
Founded in 1479, the University of Copenhagen is the oldest university in Denmark. With 37,000 students and 9,000 employees, it is among the largest universities in Scandinavia and one of the highest ranking in Europe. The University consists of six faculties, which cover Health and Medical Sciences, Humanities, Law, Science, Social Sciences and Theology.

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