Research assistant/PhD position at reNEW Copenhagen

The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Stem Cell Medicine (reNEW) at Faculty of Health & Medical Sciences at the University of Copenhagen is looking for a Research Assistant/PhD candidate to join the Brickman group starting February 2024 or upon agreement with the chosen candidate.

Signaling decoded in ENhanCEr states – a molecular basis for plasticity in development and differentiation (SENCE)

The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Stem Cell Medicine (reNEW) at Faculty of Health & Medical Science at the University of Copenhagen is looking for a research assistants/PhD students to join the Brickman group starting February 2024 or upon agreement. These positions will explore enhancer regulation in response to FGF/ERK signaling to understand how transcription factors interface with signaling to regulate cell fate choice in early development as part of an ERC advanced grant program, “Signaling decoded in ENhanCEr states – a molecular basis for plasticity in development and differentiation (SENCE).”

Our research
The Brickman group is interested in the transcriptional basis for cell fate choice, exploring both fundamental mechanisms of transcriptional regulation by signaling and how gene regulatory networks define cell potency and fate in development and differentiation.  We focus principally on pluripotent stem cells and their differentiation to various types of endoderm as a model system, both embryonic and extra-embryonic.  Our recent work points to new paradigms for how transcription factors regulate enhancer potential and interpret signaling, including the finding that response to MAP kinase (ERK) signaling, plasticity and regeneration in early development is dependent on transcription factor occupancy.  This project will explore how enhancers are activated in response to ERK signaling, understanding the molecular basis for enhancer activity by exploiting signaling models and understanding how enhancer status safeguards early developmental potential.

Job description
We are looking for positions that will focus one ERK regulation of enhancer function as part of the SENCE project. As a PhD student in the Brickman lab, you will be working in a field of stem cell and molecular biology. You will be part of an international interdisciplinary team of scientists focusing on understanding enhancer regulation, gene regulatory networks and exploiting these networks to develop new technologies for cell type specification in vitro.  We work with in vivo and in vitro systems in both mouse and human. For this project, you will primarily work with either mouse embryos and mouse embryonic stem cell (ESCs), but may also probe the conservation of important findings in three dimensional synthetic models for human development, human hypoblast stem cells and naïve human ESC culture.

Hamilton, W. B., Mosesson, Y., Monteiro, R. S., Emdal, K. B., Knudsen, T. E., Francavilla, C., Barkai, N., Olsen, J. V. and Brickman, J. M. (2019). Dynamic lineage priming is driven via direct enhancer regulation by ERK. Nature 575, 355–360.

Knudsen, T. E. and Brickman, J. M. (2020). Can a Cell Put Its Arms around a Memory? Cell Stem Cell 26, 609–610.

Knudsen, T. E., Hamilton, W. B., Proks, M., Lykkegaard, M., Linneberg-Agerholm, M., Nielsen, A. V., Perera, M., Malzard, L. L., Trusina, A. and Brickman, J. M. (2023). A bipartite function of ESRRB can integrate signaling over time to balance self-renewal and differentiation. Cell Syst.

Linneberg-Agerholm, M., Sell, A. C., Redo-Riveiro, A., Proks, M., Knudsen, T. E., Perera, M. and Brickman, J. M. (2023). Enhancer status in the primitive endoderm supports unrestricted lineage plasticity in regulative development. 2023.05.20.540779.

Wong, Y. F., Kumar, Y., Proks, M., Herrera, J. A. R., Rothová, M. M., Monteiro, R. S., Pozzi, S., Jennings, R. E., Hanley, N. A., Bickmore, W. A., et al. (2023). Expansion of ventral foregut is linked to changes in the enhancer landscape for organ-specific differentiation. Nat. Cell Biol. 1–12.


  • To implement state of the art genomic and proteomic technologies to understand the basis of enhancer activity in early development and differentiation.
  • To develop new approaches to identify enhancer specific co-factors involved in signaling response.
  • To define regulatory networks and signaling response in vivo.
  • To optimize new molecular and biochemical approaches to single locus and single molecule functional assays.


  • An equivalent of a master’s degree in Developmental, Stem Cell or Molecular Biology and/or Bioinformatics.
  • Experience with embryonic stem cell culture.
  • Molecular biology, western blots, RT-PCR etc.
  • English communication skills, both oral and written are a must.

We offer

  • A stimulating research environment and collaborative work with physicists from Niels Bohr Institute and hospital.
  • Usage of state-of-the-art technologies for stem cell research.
  • Possibilities for continued education and training.

Terms of salary, work, and employment
The average weekly working hours are 37 hours per week.

Employment will be a one-year Research Assistant position leading to a three-year PhD position. 

The employment as PhD fellow 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

Salary, pension, and terms of employment will be in accordance with the agreement between the Danish Ministry of Finance and AC (Danish Confederation of Professional Associations). Depending on qualifications, a supplement may be negotiated. The employer will pay an additional 17.1 % to your pension fund.

The position is covered by the “Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff at the Universities” of June 28, 2013.

We encourage all – regardless of their personal background and status – to apply.

The application must include.

  1. Motivated letter of application (max. one page)
  2. Curriculum vitae incl. education, experience, previous employments, programming languages and other relevant skills
  3. List of references with contact information
  4. Publication list (if possible)
  5. Certified copy of original Master of Science diploma and transcript of records in the original language, including an authorized English translation if issued in other language than English or Danish. If not completed, a certified/signed copy of a recent transcript of records or a written statement from the institution or supervisor is accepted. As a prerequisite for a PhD fellowship employment, your master’s degree must be equivalent to a Danish master’s degree. We encourage you to read more in the assessment database: Please note that we might ask you to obtain an assessment of your education performed by the Ministry of Higher Education and Science

Application deadline:  8th November 2023, 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.

For further information contact Professor Joshua Brickman

Interested and want to learn more about this position please follow this link: