PhD scholarship in Oxidation of extracellular matrix proteins: A 3-year PhD scholarship is available in the group of Professor Michael Davies (Department of Biomedical Sciences) with a starting date of October 1st 2015 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 “Oxidative Biology of Proteins” Group led by Professor Michael Davies (recently appointed to the BMI with the support of a Novo Nordisk Laureate grant), carries out research focused on understanding and characterizing the mechanisms and consequences of protein modification, a process known to be of major importance in human diseases as well as the deterioration of foods and pharmaceutical materials. We use a range of spectroscopic, molecular and cellular approaches to examine these processes, with an overall aim of understanding how we can prevent these reactions and hence oxidative damage (e.g. through the development of new antioxidants).

Project title: Inflammation-induced oxidation and extracellular matrix damage

Increasing literature data indicates that chronic low-grade inflammation is a major risk factor for a significant number of human pathologies including some forms of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis, rheumatism, asthma, cystic fibrosis, some cancers, and multiple neurodegenerative conditions amongst others. These diseases are associated with increasing age and are associated with high levels of morbidity and mortality. These diseases are major public health priorities and have significant impacts on budgetary resources due to the increasing longevity and exposure to environmental and lifestyle risk factors such as the metabolic syndrome and obesity within the EU population. Chronic low-grade inflammatory disease is associated with increased numbers of stimulated leukocytes (e.g. neutrophils, monocytes and macrophages), at sites of inflammation. These cells can release potent reactive oxidants and proteases that may inflict damage and post-translational modifications to biological targets. Proteins have been shown to be major sites of damage due to their abundance and high rates of reactions with many oxidants, and increasing emphasis is being placed on understanding the nature of these reactions, the products that can be formed, the potential use of stable products as disease biomarkers, and the consequences of these reactions for cellular, tissue and organism function and viability.

Extracellular matrix (ECM) and other long-lived proteins have considerable potential as biomarkers for inflammatory diseases and potential surrogates for examining the efficacy of novel therapeutic interventions. However, the detailed molecular structures of these modified proteins are poorly characterized, which is hindering development.

Using state-of-the-art analytical (LC-MS, UPLC, stopped-flow spectroscopy) and protein biochemical methods (cell culture, gels, Western blotting), proteins exposed to inflammatory oxidants and activated leukocytes will be analyzed to determine the extent and sites of modifications and the structural and functional consequences of these events. Studies will be carried out on isolated proteins, cell-culture materials, and tissue specimens to confirm that presence of identified modifications both in vitro and in vivo, and that these correlate with disease presence and development. Once validated, the potential of various inhibitors, repair and protective systems on the development of damage will be examined both in vitro and in vivo.

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

Desired qualifications:
•Extensive experience with state-of-the-art mass spectroscopic techniques
•Experience in protein handling, extraction and analysis
•Experience with 1- and 2-D gel electrophoresis
•Experience in liquid chromatography / mass spectroscopy
•Experience in UV/Visible/fluorescence spectroscopic methods
•Experience in protein / peptide sequencing and post-translational modifications
•Experience with bioinformatics relevant to peptide / protein mass spectroscopy
•Experience or knowledge of oxidation processes

Application Procedure:

Apply by clicking “Apply online” 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.
•Diploma and transcripts of records (including grades)
•Other information for consideration, e.g. list of publications, presentations, awards (if any),

Deadline:  23.59pm, 28 August, 2015.

Applications received after this date will not be considered.

By 30 September 2015, all applicants will have received information regarding the evaluation of their application.

The applicant will be assessed according to the Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation Executive Order no 284 of 25. April 2008.

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).

For specific information about the PhD scholarship, please contact Professor Michael Davies, (e-mail: ). Any questions regarding the application process or administrative queries of any kind should be directed to Anders Sondrup, e-mail: .

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