PhD fellowship: Structural and functional studies of eukaryotic membrane proteins

Introduction

The Autzen Lab at the Department of Biology invites applications for a PhD fellowship in membrane protein biochemistry and structural biology at the PhD School at Faculty of SCIENCE, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. The successful candidate will apply single-particle cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) in combination with biochemical, pharmacological and cellular techniques to characterize eukaryotic membrane proteins involved in taste signaling.

The fellowship is set to begin 1 January 2021, or as soon as possible thereafter.

University of Copenhagen is an international work and study environment commemorating democracy, openness and equal opportunities. The Autzen Lab welcomes applicants of any ethnicity, religion, national origin, gender identity, caregiver and family commitments, political affiliation, sexual orientation, and eligible age or ability or another personal background.

Research area and project description

Our sensation of taste influences our dietary choices and alert us about harmful food, but the underlying molecular mechanisms of taste sensations are poorly understood. The successful applicant will employ single-particle cryo-EM in combination with biochemical, pharmacological and cellular techniques to study the structure, dynamics and function of eukaryotic membrane-embedded proteins involved in taste signaling. The outcome of the project will yield unprecedented molecular insight into taste perception and delineate the therapeutic and diagnostic potential of an entire family of proteins.

The project is fully funded by a grant from the Novo Nordisk Foundation.

Research environment: The Autzen Lab at University of Copenhagen

The successful applicant will become a member of the newly established Autzen Lab, a young and vibrant research group part of the Linderstrøm-Lang Centre for Protein Science within the Section for Biomolecular Sciences, Department of Biology. Home to 11 labs specializing in cellular and protein biology, protein design or structural biology, the Section for Biomolecular Sciences is an international and multidisciplinary workplace, offering a creative and stimulating working environment.

The Autzen Lab is focused on characterizing the activation and modulation of membrane proteins involved in taste signaling to delineate their basic function and therapeutic potential. In extension, the lab is focused on developing tools for detergent-free membrane protein purification to conserve native protein-lipid interactions. The lab houses facilities for mammalian protein production, purification, biochemical and biophysical characterizations and data processing. The lab has access to state-of-the-art cryo-EM suites at the Core Facility for Integrated Microscopy on campus and at the iNANO Cryo-EM facility at Aarhus University a three-hour drive away.

Job description

Your key tasks as a PhD student in the Autzen Lab at University of Copenhagen, SCIENCE is:

  • To manage and carry out your own research project under supervision.
  • To disseminate your research through scientific manuscripts and at national and international meetings.
  • To teach undergraduate or graduate courses offered by the Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen.
  • To attend PhD courses corresponding to approximately 30 ECTS points.
  • To stay at an external research institution for 3-6 months, preferably abroad.
  • To conclude your PhD studies by writing your PhD dissertation.
  • Your qualifications

    The formal requirements of the successful applicant are:

  • Qualifications corresponding to a MSc degree in structural biology, biophysics, molecular biology, biochemistry or similar at university level and with good results.
  • Completion of courses in biochemistry and physical chemistry.
  • Completion of courses in protein structure and function.
  • Demonstrated ability to quickly grasp and employ new methods and tools.
  • An ability to work independently and as part of a team.
  • Proficiency in spoken and written English, with good interpersonal communication skills.
  • High level of motivation, responsibility, and ability to work in a structured manner.
  • As criteria for the assessment of your qualifications, emphasis will also be laid on publications and relevant work or research experience. In addition to the formal requirements above, we are looking for a candidate that has experience within or strong qualifications for several of the following areas:

  • Recombinant DNA techniques and cloning.
  • Protein expression and purification.
  • Protein-ligand binding assays.
  • Working with Linux operating systems.
  • Basic programming (MatLab and/or Python).
  • Data management and reporting.
  • What we offer

  • An exciting and stimulating research project set in a creative, strong and international academic environment.
  • An open and inclusive work environment with dedicated colleagues.
  • Room for personal and professional development.
  • Living in Copenhagen, Denmark

    Despite cold and rainy days in plenty, Denmark is among the happiest according to the World Happiness Report and Copenhagen is regularly ranked among top 5 cities to live in, particularly for expats. Whether you are into ancient sculptures or contemporary art, opera or heavy metal Copenhagen is ready to teach, inspire and entertain. Furthermore, with an extensive public transportation system, beautiful, tranquil nature is only minutes away from the city center.

    For more information on working and living in Denmark, visit University of Copenhagen’s website on International Staff Mobility and WorkinDenmark.

    How to apply

    Your application must be written in English and submitted electronically by clicking the ‘APPLY NOW’ button below. This will prompt you to create a profile on the internal HR application system. In addition to details on your degree and formal qualifications, the application must include the following:

  • Cover letter (max. one page), detailing your background and motivation for applying.
  • Curriculum vitae describing your education, experience, language skills and other relevant skills (max. two pages).
  • Master of Science diploma and transcript of records (BSc and MSc).
  • Publication list (if possible) including papers submitted or accepted for publication.
  • Full contact details (name, address, email) of two or more professional referees.
  • Other relevant material.
  • Start date and duration

    The start date is 1 January 2021 or as soon as possible thereafter. The position is limited to 3 years.


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