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PhD scholarship: Extracellular Traps in Inflammation and Atherosclerosis

A 3-year PhD position is available in the group of Professor Clare Hawkins (Department of Biomedical Sciences) with a starting date of 1 March 2018 or as soon as possible thereafter.  
Department of Biomedical Sciences (BMI)  
The Department of Biomedical Sciences (BMI) conducts research that seeks to explore and understand organ systems, pathology, pathophysiology and pharmacology. The Department is an important centre for research into basic and clinical science with the aim of improving diagnostics and patient therapies. Department research is carried out in cooperation with researchers in multiple departments.  
The “Redox Biology” Group led by Professor Clare Hawkins (recently appointed to the BMI), carries out research focused on understanding how oxidants produced during inflammation modify the structure and function of biological molecules and cells associated with the arterial wall during the development of the disease atherosclerosis. The Group uses a range of biochemical, molecular, cellular and animal studies to examine these processes, as a means to develop more targeted therapies to prevent tissue damage during chronic inflammation and slow the progression of atherosclerosis, which is the major cause of cardiovascular disease. 
Job/Study Description:  Immune cell extracellular traps and their role in promoting inflammation and atherosclerosis 
Atherosclerosis remains the leading cause of mortality in Europe, with an increasing incidence of this disease worldwide. Extracellular DNA traps released by neutrophils play a key role in the development of atherosclerosis by promoting inflammation, fat deposition and narrowing of the arterial wall. Currently, it is not clear what triggers cells to undergo this process in the vessel wall, how these structures promote disease development or the role of other immune cells in DNA release. Building on our studies showing a new role for macrophages in the release of DNA, this project aims to characterise immune cell extracellular traps, assess how they alter vascular cell function, and develop therapeutic approaches to prevent DNA release and reduce inflammation. This will provide new insight into the pathways responsible for lesion formation, which will ultimately help to underpin the development of new treatments for atherosclerosis. 

  • A relevant MSc degree in chemistry, biochemistry or biomedical science or qualifications at a similar level. 
  • Essential qualifications: 
  • Experience with the isolation, handling and culture of blood and/or vascular cell types, particularly neutrophils, monocytes, macrophages, and endothelial cells. 
  • Experience in liquid chromatography and mass spectroscopic techniques, particularly in relation to nucleic acid and protein analysis. 
  • Experience in protein handling, extraction and analysis 
  • Experience in cellular and molecular biology techniques, (including SDS-PAGE, Western blotting, qRT-PCR, flow cytometry) 
Desirable qualifications: 
  • Experience in microscopy (bright field, fluorescence and confocal) for analysis of fixed and frozen tissue samples  
  • Experience in cell/tissue fixation, slide preparation (include sectioning of paraffin-embedded and frozen tissues) and analysis using histology and immunohistology  
  • Experience or knowledge of oxidation processes  
Application Procedure: 
Apply by clicking "Apply online" below. Please note that only online applications will be accepted. 
Applications - in English - must include:  

  • Cover letter detailing your motivation and background for applying for this specific PhD project.  
  • CV  
  • Diploma and transcripts of records (including grades)  
  • Other information for consideration, e.g. list of publications, presentations, awards (if any),  
The closing date for applications is 9 February 2018. Applications received after this date will not be considered. 
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 ;
Terms of employment:  
The position is offered for a period of three years and employment is governed by the Protocol on PhD Research Fellows signed by the Danish Ministry of Finance and AC (the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations). 
The successful candidate will be requested to formally apply for enrolment as a PhD Fellow at the Graduate School of Health and Medical Sciences. Employment as a PhD Fellow will be conditional on successful enrolment in the PhD programme 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 and Medical Science can be found at 
For specific information position, please contact Professor Clare Hawkins (e-mail:  
Any questions regarding the application process or administrative queries of any kind should be directed to Ragnhild Mostert, e-mail:  
For more information on working and living in Denmark:, and ;
The Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences comprises approximately 7500 students, 1500 PhD students and 3200 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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