Discover the first selective tool compounds for studies of the physiological role and functions of GluD1 and GluD2 Delta receptor subtypes in vitro and in vivo (animals).
Position Details (PhD)
onotropic glutamate receptors (iGluRs) are ligand-gated ion channels responsible for fast excitatory neurotransmission in the brain. Whereas the AMPA, kainate and NMDA receptors continue to attract much attention in neuroscience research, the Delta receptors have for decades been enigmatic by appearing functionally distinct from other iGluRs, as they do not exhibit typical ligand-induced ion channel currents. The Delta receptors are clearly important for normal brain function and likely involved in neurological and psychiatric disorders but are highly understudied since no selective tool compounds are known.
The aim of this PhD project is to discover the first selective tool compounds for studies of the physiological role and functions of GluD1 and GluD2 Delta receptor subtypes in vitro and in vivo (animals).
To discover such tool compounds, the PhD student must aspire creative thinking, be engaged in structure-based design, computational chemistry, retro-synthetic planning and execution, pharmacological evaluation of the synthesized compounds, as well as structural biology and isothermal titration calorimetry studies. Medicinal chemistry is an iterative process and the continuously buildup of our understanding of the structure-activity-relationship for the compound classes will direct the design phase and eventually provide the target tool compounds for the Delta receptors.
Eventually, this work will improve our understanding of the role and functional of the Delta receptors in health and disease, and thus their potential as novel therapeutic targets.
Professor Lennart Bunch, Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology
April 1st, 2023 – or as soon possible thereafter
3 years as a PhD student
Our group and research
In the Bunch group, we focus on research in neuro-medicinal chemistry, with the aim to discover novel tool compounds for the study of the healthy and diseased brain. We collaborate with structural biologists and pharmacologists all over the world to reach our common goals. For this particular project we collaborate closely with Prof. Jette S. Kastrup on structural biology and Assoc. Prof. Anders S. Kristensen on pharmacology, and parts of the present PhD project will be carried out in the respective groups.
The Bunch group comprises 4-8 students/co-workers and has a strong international profile. The language of daily communication is English, and the group is a part of the medicinal chemistry discipline at the department, which comprises eight medicinal chemistry groups.
Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology is committed to research-based teaching and interdisciplinary research that supports the development and understanding of chemical and pharmacological properties of drugs and drug targets. We work as part of a dynamic academic community of research, education and innovation within the Pharmaceutical Sciences bridging Health Sciences and Life Sciences.
Information about the Department can be found at https://drug.ku.dk/
Your key tasks as a PhD student at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences are:
- Carry out an independent research project under supervision
- Complete PhD courses or other equivalent education corresponding to approximately 30 ECTS points
- Participate in active research environments including a stay in another research group
- Teach undergraduate students
- Disseminate results obtained from your PhD project
- Write and publically defend your PhD thesis on the grounds of the results you have obtained
Key criteria for the assessment of applicants
Applicants must have qualifications corresponding to a Danish master’s degree (two years/120 ECTS points) in organic chemistry and/or medicinal chemistry, or expect to complete such before the agreed-to starting date.
Other important criteria are:
- A curious mind-set with a strong interest in medicinal chemistry
- Research experience and qualifications relevant to the PhD project
- Publications in peer-reviewed international journals
- English proficiency skills
Place of employment
The place of employment is at the Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology, 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 span modern laboratories and all computational and analytical apparatuses needed to carry out research at the highest level.
Terms of employment
The average weekly working hours are 37 hours.
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, be an active member of Center for Medicinal Chemistry and Neuroscience Academy Denmark.
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 17.1% pension.
The PhD position is financed by the Lundbeck Foundation (LF Ascending Investigators grant).
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 (max two pages)
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: https://ufm.dk/en/education/recognition-and-transparency/find-assessments/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 January 1st, 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 January 2023.
You can read about the recruitment process at https://employment.ku.dk/faculty/recruitment-process/