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Brain Drug Delivery Through The Design of Peptide-drug Constructs With Build-in BBB Homing and BBB Permeating Functionalities

  • // Denmark
  • University/Institute Name University of Copenhagen
  • University/Institute Name Faculty of Health & Medical Sciences
  • Attendance Type On Campus
  • Position Duration3 years
  • Position Funding Type
  • Application deadlineExpired

Position Details (PhD Program)

The increasing number of patients diagnosed with central nervous system disorders calls for novel medicines to treat diseases such as ischemic stroke. Brain drug delivery is, however, a major challenge. Potent therapeutic drugs are developped, but the blood-brain-barrier (BBB) excludes the far majority of these from entering the brain. As one example, is pharmacological treatment of ischemic stroke non-existing; even though peptide-drugs that effectively hinder stroke-triggered neuronal death are developped. The overall purose of this project is to address the major challenges in brain drug delivery, through the design of peptide-drug constructs with build-in BBB homing and BBB permeating functionalities. We will do that by exploiting the BBB homing potential of viral capsid peptides in synergy with membrane permeating peptides to facilitate brain delivery of a peptide-drug, which is relevant in the treatment of ischemic stroke. Ultimately for the benefit of patients and the society.

The project will be carried out in collaboration with Professor Petrine Wellendorph (Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology, University of Copenhagen), Professor Bente Gammelgaard (Department of Pharmacy, University of Copenhagen), and Professor Dirk Hermann (University Hospital Essen, Germany).

Principal supervisor
Associate Professor Mie Kristensen, Department of Pharmacy

1 July 2023

3 years as a PhD student

Our group and research

Various biological barriers act as gatekeepers for successful drug delivery to the brain; e.g. the blood-brain barrier, the nose-to-brain barrier, and the blood-cerebrospinal fluid barrier.

In the CNS Drug Delivery and Barrier Modelling group, we study strategies to overcome these barriers for brain drug delivery purposes using state-of-the-art cell culture models, to improve understanding of cellular pathways involved, as well as animals for pharmacokinetic- and pharmacodynamics profiling. Ultimately, this knowledge will be beneficial in the making of new drugs for the treatment of brain diseases.

Our department

The mission of Department of Pharmacy is to advance the pharmaceutical sciences by performing drug-related research and research-based teaching in topics including pharmaceutical technology and formulation, drug delivery, advanced drug analysis, and clinical and social pharmacy.

Information about the Department can be found at

Job description
Your key tasks as a PhD student at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences are:

  • Carrying through an independent research project under supervision
  • Completing PhD courses or other equivalent education corresponding to approximately 30 ECTS points
  • Participating in active research environments including a 6-9 month stay in Professor Dirk Hermann’s laboratory at University Hospital Essen, Germany
  • Obtaining experience with teaching or other types of dissemination related to your PhD project
  • Teaching of undergraduate students in pharmaceutical sciences
  • Writing 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. pharmacy, biology, chemistry, or medicine. Please note that your master’s degree must be equivalent to a Danish master’s degree (two years).

Other important criteria are:

  • Professional qualifications relevant to the PhD project
  • Relevant work experience
  • Previous publications
  • The grade point average achieved
  • Other professional activities
  • A curious mind-set with a strong interest in CNS drug delivery, biological barriers, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics
  • Language skills: Fluent in spoken and written English

Place of employment

The place of employment is at the Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen. We offer creative and stimulating working conditions in a dynamic and international research environment.

Terms of employment

The average weekly working hours are 37 hours per week.

The position is a fixed-term position limited to a period of 3 years.

The employment is conditioned upon the applicant’s successful enrolment as a PhD student 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 to the Graduate School of Health and Medical Sciences.

The PhD study must be completed in accordance with The Ministerial Order on the PhD programme (2013) and the Faculty’s rules on achieving the degree.

The PhD student is expected to be affiliated to the graduate programme in pharmaceutical sciences, Drug Research Academy.

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 starts at approximately 28,400 DKK/roughly 3,780 EUR (October 2022 level) plus pension.

Application procedure

Your application, in English, must be submitted electronically by clicking “Apply now” below and 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. Certified copy of original Master of Science diploma and transcript of records in the original language, including an authorized English translation if issued in other language than English or Danish. If not completed, a certified/signed copy of a recent transcript of records or a written statement from the institution or supervisor is accepted. As a prerequisite for a PhD fellowship employment, your master’s degree must be equivalent to a Danish master’s degree. We encourage you to read more in the assessment database: Please note that we might ask you to obtain an assessment of your education performed by the Ministry of Higher Education and Science. Applicants with a Master´s degree from abroad should also enclose a short description of the grading scale used

4. Publication list (if possible)

5. Other information to consider: References and recommendations (if possible)

The deadline for applications is 1 March 2023, 23.59pm CET

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.

The further process

After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorised 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.

Interviews are expected to be held in April 2023.


Research Skills Required

Computer/Software Skills Required

Which language proficiency is required?

Applicant type required for this position

Position Start Date

July 1, 2023