PhD fellowship in “Foetal metabolic reprogramming in NAFLD and NASH” at the LIFEPHARM centre, Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

University of Copenhagen

We are offering a PhD fellowship in “Foetal metabolic reprogramming in NAFLD and NASH” commencing March 1st 2020, or as soon as possible hereafter.

The Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences and Novo Nordisk A/S established a research centre in 2010 - The LIFEPHARM Centre ( - with a budget of DKK 140 million. The present position is part of the Centre´s activities. The purpose of the research centre is to strengthen the research in experimental pharmacology and toxicology and to increase the output of candidates and PhDs with a strong in vivo pharmacological profile.

It is expected that the future PhD fellow will be enrolled in the Graduate Programme for In Vivo Pharmacology and Experimental Animals (IVP) at SUND and participate actively in this network. The IVP Graduate Programme was established in 2006 as a collaboration between the Faculties of Life Sciences, Pharmaceutical Sciences and Health Sciences at the University of Copenhagen, University of Aarhus, and industrial partners; Novo Nordisk A/S, LEO Pharma and H. Lundbeck A/S.

For more information on LIFEPHARM or IVP please contact:

Professor Jens Lykkesfeldt

Director of LIFEPHARM

Head of IVP

Our group and research

Centred within pharmacology and toxicology in biomedical research, our research explore disease mechanisms in vivo to select and develop high validity preclinical models and identify novel treatment targets to address disease challenges in humans. Within this field, we have a special interest in pharmacological and nutritional components of intervention modalities in treatment and prevention.

Our primary focus is on mechanisms of disease, and effects of intervention on specific disease-modalities predominantly within the area of life-style associated, metabolic disorders such as diabetes, CVD and NAFLD/NASH. We have a strong scientific and analytical platform combining biochemistry, molecular biology, histopathology and functional assays, helping us to interpret the complex interplay of mechanisms and responses in vivo and translate our findings to humans.

Project description

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) affects 25% of adults and 15% of all children and is becoming the most common chronic liver disease worldwide. Alarmingly, childhood and adolescent NAFLD is more likely to progress to steatohepatitis (NASH) and hepatic fibrosis compared to that of adult patients, denoting that children are more prone to suffer serious consequences of the disease.

Studies in humans and in animal models show that prenatal exposure to adverse maternal nutrition is linked to postnatal metabolic dysfunctions such as obesity, insulin resistance and hyperlipidemia, all associated with NAFLD. Moreover, epidemiological data have shown a positive correlation between NAFLD in adolescents and maternal pre-pregnancy obesity and pregnancy weight gain. Together, this suggests that  fetal nutrition may program offspring prenatally to develop NAFLD after birth.

By investigating the effects of a maternal high fat diet on hepatic health in offspring, this projects targets the hypothesis that a high fat diet during gestation sensitizes offspring towards a NAFLD/NASH phenotype, promoting disease frequency and severity, potentially affecting the response to intervention. Using the guinea pig NAFLD/NASH model, disease parameters and progression is studied in vivo with particular attention to offspring metabolic expression profile and histopathological hallmarks of disease.

Principal supervisor is

Associate Professor Pernille Tveden-Nyborg


Direct Phone: (+45) 35 33 31 67

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

University of Copenhagen

Start:                 March 1st 2020

Duration:          3 years as a PhD student

Job description
Your key tasks as a PhD student at SUND are:

  • Carry through an independent research project under supervision 
  • Complete PhD courses or other equivalent education corresponding to approx. 30 ECTS points
  • Participate in active research environments including a stay at another research team
  • Obtain experience with teaching or other types of dissemination related to your PhD project
  • Teach and disseminate your knowledge
  • Write 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. MSc in a biological science, veterinary medicine, medicine or other equivalent degree.

Other important criteria are:

  • The grade point average achieved during bachelor and master education
  • Documented qualifications relevant to the PhD project, including Function ABD/Category C course in carrying out animal experiments
  • Experience with histopathology and molecular biology
  • Previous publications
  • Relevant work experience
  • Other professional activities
  • Curious mind-set, high degree of selfmotivation and a strong interest in in vivo pharmacology
  • Excellent language skills

Place of employment

The place of employment is at the Experimental Pharmacology and Toxicology Laboratory, Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, 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 include modern laboratories covering a broad ranged of analytical methodologies.

Terms of employment
The employment as PhD fellow is full time and for 3 years.

It 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 formulated by the applicant.

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. 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 begins around 27.135 DKK /approx. 3.567 EUR (October 2019-level) plus pension.

For specific information about the PhD fellowship, please contact the principal supervisor.

General information about PhD study at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences is available at the Graduate School’s website:  

Application procedure
Your application must be submitted electronically by clicking ‘Apply now’ below. The application 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. Master of Science diploma and transcript of records. If not completed, a certified/signed copy of a recent transcript of records or a written statement from the institution or supervisor will do

4. Publication list (if possible)

Application deadline: January 5th 2020, 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 authorized 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.

You can read about the recruitment process at  

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 week 3-4.

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.


Pernille Tveden-Nyborg


Ansøgningsfrist: 05-01-2020
Ansættelsesdato: 01-03-2020
Arbejdstid: Fuldtid
Afdeling/Sted: Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences

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