PhD position in Chemical Biology, Organic nano beads and sensing polymers (PhD-grant), Department of Chemistry, Kemisk Institut, University of Copenhagen.

The Center for Evolutionary Chemical Biology, Department of Chemistry at the University of Copenhagen is offering a fully funded PhD scholarship starting August 1st 2015 or as soon as possible hereafter. The center is led by Professor Morten Meldal and study advanced organic synthesis applied in development of molecular properties through evolutionary principles known from biology. The center works in an interdisciplinary setting which includes chemistry, biology and technology.

Job description:

In this project the candidate will apply organic chemistry and polymer chemistry to obtain functional polymers for chemical biology applications including monitoring and inducing activity changes inside living cells. The main goal of the project is to develop organic nano beads which change optical properties as a result of changes in the local environment by either physical or chemical processes. The beads will be generated by elaboration on organic nano particles by traditional organic synthesis or/and by controlled inverse radical polymerization. By these means biocompatible beads for cell biology as well as for optical encoding will be available. The beads will be further functionalized by attaching cell membrane penetrating molecules, responsive fluorophores and/or biological active compounds, in order to tailor the sensing and other properties of the beads. Alternatively, the sensing molecules may be integrated into the monomers applied in the polymerization, e.g. to generate temperature or pH responsive NIPAM beads. The applications of the beads will be evaluated by optical methods using custom made bead sorting and decoding instruments/software, as well as microscopes and UV/VIS spectrometry.

The project will include classic organic chemistry, polymer chemistry, solid-phase chemistry, microscopy and analytical equipment development. The project is highly interdisciplinary and will be conducted in collaboration with a team of biologists, chemists and engineers.

The key challenges for PhD students at Department of Chemistry are:

  • Research – the research project will take up most of your time
  • Writing results into articles and the PhD thesis
  • Teaching and dissemination
  • Participation in PhD courses
  • A project related secondment at a research institution abroad

Key criteria for the assessment of candidates

  • A master’s degree within organic chemistry, polymer chemistry or nanotechnology
  • Professional qualifications relevant to synthesis and characterization of organic molecules
  • Qualifications within analytical instrumentation, computer programming, polymer chemistry and nanotechnology
  • Any previous publications
  • Relevant work experience
  • Other professional activities
  • Language and writing skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Marks obtained during the first year of study on the master program (only relevant for applicants applying for a 4-year scholarship)

Qualifications requirements:

The call is open to both Danish and international applicants. Normally, we will expect applicants to have obtained an MSc degree in Chemistry, but it is also possible to enroll candidates at the 4+4 scheme with a 3-year BSc degree and 1 MSc year behind them. However, this will involve additional years of study, a midway qualification exam, and lower wages for the first two years.

The main criterion for selection will be the research potential of the applicant and the final selection of successful candidates will be made by the Head of the Center for Evolutionary Chemical Biology, based on the recommendations made by the evaluation committee appointed for the program.

Terms of employment

The position is for 3-years and is carried out in accordance with Agreement between the Danish Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations (AC) on salaried scholarships.

The minimum starting salary is DKK 306,667 plus a pension contribution. Supplements can be added according to qualifications. Information about working conditions and taxes is available at and

A prerequisite for obtaining the position as a PhD scholar is that you must be enrolled as a PhD student at the Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen. This is according to the rules in ‘Ministerial Order on the PhD Study Programme and on the PhD Degree no. 18 of 14 January 2008’. Successful candidates will be requested to formally apply for enrolment as a PhD student at the PhD School of Science, University of Copenhagen and to start their enrolment not later than 1 October 2015.

Information about the PhD scholarship

The scholarships are awarded under the prerequisite that the applicant is found qualified and that the project is to be carried out in an internationally recognized and active academic environment.

It is expected that the Scholar follow recommendations and deadlines from the supervisor on writing reports and articles. The scholarship holder is obliged to carry out tasks related to lectures, exercises, laboratory exercises etc. as set by the Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen.

The scholarships are awarded accordingly to the regulations in The Ministry of Science, Technology and Development, Executive order no. 284, April 25th 2008 regarding the appointment of academic staff at the University.


Further information can be obtained from Frederik Diness (email:, phone: +4535320257) or Morten Meldal (email:


The application must be submitted in the application form by clicking `APPLY NOW´ below. The application must include the following appendices.

  • Appendix 1: A reasoned letter stating the applicant’s interest and perceived participation in the specific project.
  • Appendix 2: Brief Curriculum Vitae of the applicant incl. the applicant’s former work and scientific experience (max 3 pages).
  • Appendix 3: Documentation of the applicant’s qualifications: degree certificate/ transcript of grades, any authored peer reviewed publications.
  • Appendix 4: Recommendations and/or contact details of references.

If an applicant has not yet completed the degree prior to the deadline and can provide sufficient documentation that the degree will be obtained within two months of the deadline such an application will be considered on equal terms. Transcripts of the grades obtained must be submitted and the final contract.

If the application does not meet the instructions above, the application will be dismissed and therefore not taken into consideration.

The applications will be processed by an expert assessment committee appointed by the department. This is done according to The Ministry of Science, Technology and Development, Executive order no. 284, April 25th 2008 regarding the appointment of academic staff at the University. The applicants will be informed of the composition of the evaluation committee and will receive the part of the evaluation that concerns him/her.

PhD students who are already enrolled and carrying out a PhD project cannot apply for this scholarship.

Applications received after the deadline or with insufficient documentation or otherwise not complying with above requirements will not be considered.

The Center for Evolutionary Chemical Biology is particularly focused on combinatorial chemistry and chemical biology. It is currently involved in projects on chemical modulation of cellular interaction and on combinatiorial assay technology for G-protein coupled receptor and development and characterization of novel pharmaceutically important proteases and protease mimetics.

Deadline: 19th of July 2015 at 12:00 p.m. CET.

Only applications submitted On-line will be considered. Click here for applying.


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