PhD Fellowship in Bioorganic Chemistry

University of Copenhagen Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology

PhD fellowship in Bioorganic Chemistry at the Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences 
University of Copenhagen

We are offering a three-year PhD fellowship in Bioorganic Chemistry. The PhD fellowships are financed by the Independent Research Fund, Denmark –Council for Natural Sciences. The fellowship is available from 1 October 2020 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Project description

Our laboratory has recently developed technology for identifying the chemical messenger molecules responsible for quorum sensing and cross-talk between staphylococci within the microbiome. These messenger molecules are called auto-inducing peptides (AIPs). In this project, we will develop an improved, second-generation trapping method and apply it to the mapping of AIPs from a broad selection of bacteria. Subsequently, all of the AIPs will be chemically synthesized to provide sufficient material to determine potencies as quorum sensing inhibitors, against the most important Gram-positive human pathogens.

Finally, the associated bioinformatics will be combined with AIP identity, activity, and origin of the bacteria to guide potential future strategies to target infectious pathogens. Thus, the successful candidate will gain extraordinarily multidisciplinary research education through hands-on experience from all laboratories in a close collaboration between the Olsen Lab, Prof. Hanne Ingmer’s laboratory at Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, and Statens Serum Institut.

Principal supervisor

Professor Christian A. Olsen, Center for Biopharmaceuticals, Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology

Our group and research

With a foundation in chemical synthesis, the Olsen Lab seeks to explore the function of small molecules, peptides, peptidomimetics, and proteins in biological systems. We are focusing on peptidomimetic secondary structures with potential for supramolecular assembly and multivalent display. We are also exploring naturally occurring macrocyclic peptides and analogues thereof for development of class- or isoform-selective HDAC inhibitors and quorum sensing modulators, as well as investigating substrate-specificity of the human lysine deacylase enzymes using chemical biology tools. The laboratory is comprised of around a dozen students and postdoctoral associates of various nationalities and with backgrounds in chemistry, biochemistry, and engineering.

Our department

The Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology ( delivers drug-related research and research-based teaching within a wide range of drug-related disciplines, spanning the molecular, cellular, and pharmacological levels.

Information about the Department can be found at

Job description

Your key tasks as a PhD fellow at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences are to:

  • 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 institution, preferably abroad
  • Obtain experience with teaching or other types of dissemination related to your PhD project
  • Participate in the undergraduate teaching of students in pharmaceutical sciences
  • Participate in national and international conferences and scientific meetings
  • Write a PhD thesis on the grounds of your research project

Required qualifications

As an applicant you must have:

  • qualifications corresponding to a master’s degree in chemistry, biochemistry, pharmacy or chemical engineering prior to the starting date
  • Fluency in English and excellent communication skills

Preferred qualifications

We are looking for a highly motivated individual with a strong background in either organic chemistry or microbiology, but with a desire to learn the other field. The applicant should also have strong theoretical education in organic chemistry, biochemistry, and spectroscopy. Hands-on experience with organic chemistry, microbiological, and biochemical methods will be seen as favorable.

Key criteria for the assessment of applicants

  • Professional qualifications relevant to the PhD project
  • Relevant work experience
  • Publications
  • The grade point average achieved
  • Other professional activities
  • Language skills
  • The successful applicant is also required to be enterprising and to possess good interpersonal skills

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 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.

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 DKK 27,594 (approx. 3,679 EUR) (taxable) plus pension (April 2020 level).


For further information, applicants may contact the principal supervisor Christian Adam Olsen, e-mail:, direct phone: + 45 3532 6708 or PhD coordinator Marianne W. Jørgensen, e-mail:, direct phone: +45 3533 6449.

For more information on working and living in Denmark visit (International staff mobility) and

Application procedure

Your application, in English, must be submitted electronically by clicking “Apply now” below and must include the following documents in PDF format:

  • Motivated letter of application (max. one page)
  • CV incl. education, experience, language skills and other skills relevant for the position
  • Diploma and transcripts of records: Master´s degree diploma (including grade transcripts for bachelor´s and master´s degrees). If not completed, a certified/signed copy of a recent transcript of records or a written statement from the institution or supervisor will do. Applicants with a Master´s degree from abroad should also enclose a short description of the grading scale used
  • Publication list (if possible)
  • Other information to consider: References and recommendations (if possible)

The deadline for applications is 10 August 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. Applications received by e-mail cannot be considered.

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 shortly after the application deadline.

You can read about the recruitment process at

The Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences comprises approximately 7800 students, 1700 PhD students and 4800 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. 


Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe’s top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation – with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture – creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.


Marianne Wieslander Jørgensen


Christian Adam Olsen


Application deadline: 10-08-2020
Employment start: 01-10-2020
Working hours: Full time
Department/Location: Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology