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Department of Endocrinology, University Hospital of Odense, Odense, Denmark invites applications for a PhD position to study: The role of circulating and bone tissue microRNAs in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetic bone fragility

The position is available for 3 years. The starting date is August 1st,  2021


Job description
The project aim is to study the pathophysiology of bone fragility observed in patients with type 2 diabetes that leads to increased risk for fracture. Specifically, we will examine whether bone and circulating microRNAs (miRNAs) and miRNA signatures can serve as diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers for the severity of diabetic bone disease We will also identify miRNAs that play a role in the pathogenesis of diabetic bone disease.

The PhD fellowship is provided by the NovoNordisk foundation and it is a collaboration between the Steno Diabetes Centers of Odense and Alborg, iNANO center at the University of Aarhus and the Center for Musculoskeletal Biology and Medicine, University of California San Francisco (UCSF).

The primary workplace will be the Molecular Endocrinology and Stem Cell Research Unit at the Department of Endocrinology, Odense University Hospital which constitutes an international, ambitious, highly dynamic, and well-equipped working environment. The Unit has access to clinically relevant patient material and state-of-the-art facilities for stem cell phenotyping, flow cytometry, bioimaging, immunohistochemistry and transgenic mouse work. Part of the PhD will take place at UCSF, San Francisco, USA.

As a PhD student you will receive training both in molecular as well as in clinical/translational research: you will learn molecular biology technologies for isolation, characterization and studying the function of miRNA in vitro and in vivo. In addition, you will be trained in using in vivo assays of ectopic bone formation and will work with murine fracture models. You will also learn how to integrate biological data with clinical patient characteristics. During the US stay, you will learn different in vivo human bone imaging modalities such as high resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography (HR-pQCT), and quantitative computed tomography (QCT). You will learn assessment of human volumetric bone density, bone microarchitecture, geometry and strength by using semi-automated contouring methods and by applying standard and extended cortical analysis techniques to existing HR-pQCT- and QCT-image datasets. In addition, you will receive training in clinical data collection and clinical data management, as well as clinical statistical training.


We are looking for highly motivated, dedicated and ambitious scientists with:

  • An undergraduate Master degree in Life or Medical Science, Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, Biomedicine or Endocrinology
  • Documented expertise in cell biology and basic molecular biology technologies is an advantage.
  • Good communication and collaborative skills and an interest in working in an interdisciplinary environment
  • Proficiency in spoken and written English

For further information about the position, please contact: Dr. Moustapha Kassem or Dr. Ursula Heilmeier,

Candidates who are about to obtain these qualifications are also encouraged to apply.

The successful applicant will be employed in accordance with the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and AC (the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations).

Applications – including the required attachments –should be sent to Dr. Kassem or Dr. Heilmeier directly via email.  
Only applications written in English will be accepted for evaluation.

The application must contain (as pdf.- or docx.-files):

• a motivation letter
• a detailed CV
• degree certificates (inclusive of Ph.D.-diploma)
• a complete and numbered list of publications and conference abstracts (if available)
• a research plan detailing the candidate’s ideas and plans for her/his future research work.
• 2 letters of reference

Incomplete applications with regard to the above-mentioned requirements will not be assessed.

The University wishes our staff to reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.


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