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PhD scholarship: Molecular Mechanisms of Atherosclerosis

A 3-year PhD position is available in the group of Professor Clare Hawkins (Department of Biomedical Sciences) with a starting date of June 1st 2017 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. We use 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:  Investigating the molecular mechanisms involved in vascular cell damage and death in atherosclerosis

Cardiovascular disease causes over 1.9 million deaths (~40% of all mortality) in the European Union each year. There is epidemiological, clinical, and experimental evidence that chronic inflammation is causally linked to various pathological conditions including atherosclerosis – the major cause of cardiovascular disease, which is characterized by lipid and cholesterol accumulation and the subsequent formation of lesions in the artery wall. During lesion development, there is an infiltration of immune cells, particularly macrophages and neutrophils, which are activated and produce oxidants in the vascular wall. This leads to oxidative stress, tissue damage and ultimately death to cells of the vasculature, which accelerates lesion formation and can also result in the destabilisation of lesions - a major pathway to thrombosis and heart attacks. This project will use well-established model cellular systems to examine the intracellular targets and mechanisms responsible for dysfunction and damage following exposure to neutrophil and macrophage-derived oxidants, to better inform the development of novel therapies for atherosclerosis.



  • A relevant MSc degree in biochemistry or biomedical science or qualifications at a similar level. 

Essential qualifications:

  • Experience with cell culture, preferably with cells of relevance to atherosclerosis (e.g. endothelial, smooth muscle, neutrophils, monocytes, macrophages)
  • Experience in cellular and molecular biology techniques, (including SDS-PAGE, Western blotting, immunoprecipitation, ELISA, qRT-PCR, flow cytometry)
  • Experience in microscopy (bright field, fluorescence and confocal) for analysis of fixed and frozen tissue samples

Desirable qualifications:

  • Experience in protein handling, extraction and analysis
  • Experience in liquid chromatography and mass spectroscopic techniques
  • 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 "Søg stillingen" 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 23.59pm, 16 April, 2017. 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. 

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.



Københavns Universitet giver sine knap 10.000 medarbejdere muligheder for at udnytte deres talent fuldt ud i et ambitiøst, uformelt miljø. Vi sikrer traditionsrige og moderne rammer om uddannelser og fri forskning på højt internationalt niveau. Vi søger svar og løsninger på fælles problemer og gør ny viden tilgængelig og nyttig for andre.


Clare Hawkins


Ansøgningsfrist: 16-04-2017
Ansættelsesform: Tidsbegrænset periode
Ansættelsesdato: 01-06-2017
Afdeling/Sted: Biomedicinsk Institut

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