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PhD fellowship in Structural Biology at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research

at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research
Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
University of Copenhagen

We are offering a PhD fellowship at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research, Structural Biology, commencing on 1 October 2020.

Our group and research
Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research ( at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences (SUND), University of Copenhagen, performs basic and applied discovery research on human proteins of biomedical relevance. The Center comprises a wide range of expertise and resources, from in silico target identification, mass spectrometry based proteomics, structural biology, protein production and characterization to elucidation of various disease mechanisms.

The Montoya Group ( works in the interface between biology, physics and chemistry and uses molecular biology, X-ray crystallography and cryo-electron microscopy to dissect the working mechanisms of the macromolecules that constitute the cell’s machinery.

Project description

To escape consequences of DNA alterations, a sophisticated cellular DNA damage response mechanism (DDR) has been developed in cells to detect and repair DNA damage. The ataxia telangiectasia and Rad3-related (ATR) protein kinase and its co-factor ATRIP are crucial regulators of DDR, controlling cell cycle progression, DNA replication, DNA repair and apoptosis. ATR-mediated maintenance of genome integrity is particularly critical in neurons, which is why mutations in ATR and other DDR enzymes are linked to neurodegenerative disorders. Despite of our understanding of ATR functions, the molecular details triggering ATR-ATRIP activation are not yet fully understood.

The aim of this project is to decipher the structural dynamics and molecular activation mechanism of ATR-ATRIP complex with its key interactors.

Principal supervisor is Professor Guillermo Montoya, Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research.

Start: 1 October 2020.

Duration: 3 years as a PhD fellow.

Job description
Your key tasks as a PhD fellow:

  • Carry through an independent research project under supervision.
  • Complete PhD courses or other equivalent education corresponding to approx. 30 ECTS points.
  • Participate in active research environments including a stay at another research team.
  • Obtain experience with teaching or other types of dissemination related to your PhD project.
  • Teach and disseminate your knowledge.
  • Write 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. Structural Biology, Biochemistry or similar.

The successful candidate will have strong qualifications or experience within the following areas:

  • Recombinant DNA techniques and cloning.
  • Protein chemistry and protein expression and purification.
  • Protein crystallization and structure determination.
  • Data management.
  • Fluency in English and excellent communication skills.
Our group is highly multidisciplinary and collaborates with many other research groups nationally and internationally. Strong networking and team player skills are therefore preferred. Strong organizational skills and the ability to keep an overview are important.

Place of employment
The place of employment is at Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen.

We offer creative and stimulating working conditions in dynamic and international research environment. Our research facilities include modern laboratories and a number of facilities providing unique resources to help our scientists develop their research methods and build up their expertise.

Terms of employment
The employment as PhD fellow is full time (37 hours per week) and for 3 years.

It is conditioned upon the applicant’s success­ful enrolment as a PhD fellow 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 fellowship 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 Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State.

Depending on seniority, the monthly salary begins at DKK 27,593/approx. EUR 3,679 (April 2020-level) plus an employer paid pension contribution of 17.1 %.

For specific information about the PhD fellowship, please contact the principal supervisor Professor Guillermo Montoya by e-mail:

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. Master of Science diploma and transcript of records.

4. Publication list (if possible)

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.

Application deadline: 1 July 2020, 23.59 p.m. CET.

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.

The applicant will be assessed according to the Ministerial Order no. 242 of 13 March 2012 on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Universities.

You can read about the recruitment process at

The Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences comprises approximately 7,500 students, 1,500 PhD students and 3,200 employees. The Faculty advances the field of health sciences through its core activities: research, teaching, knowledge sharing and communication. With basic research fields ranging from molecular studies to studies of society, the Faculty contributes to a healthy future through its graduates, research findings and inventions benefitting patients and the community. The University of Copenhagen wishes to reflect the surrounding community and invites all regardless of personal background to apply for the position.

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