Two Postdoc positions for 3 years in stem cell-based disease modelling of neurodegenerative diseases

The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Stem Cell Medicine (reNEW) at University of Copenhagen is looking for two postdoc fellows to join the Human Neural Development group led by PI Agnete Kirkeby. The positions are scheduled to start in October 2023 or in the following months, as upon agreement with each chosen candidate. The positions as Postdoc are for 3 years, with potential possibility for extension.

Research group
The Human Neural Development research team is located at the The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Stem Cell Medicine (reNEW) at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences of University of Copenhagen. Our group works to develop stem cell transplantation therapies for neurodegenerative disorders by producing high-purity cultures of subtype-specific human neural cells in the lab for preclinical and clinical studies. Our work has a strong translational focus, and we build our research on decade-long experience in clinical translational from bringing the first European pluripotent stem cell therapy for Parkinson’s Disease into clinical trial. In addition to projects on developing novel stem cell transplantation therapies for diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, Lewy Body dementia and narcolepsy, we further apply advanced stem cell technologies to study normally inaccessible stages of human brain development as well as to produce in vitro disease models of human brain diseases (i.e. for Parkinson’s Disease, Schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease and hypothalamic disorders).

We offer creative and stimulating working conditions in a dynamic and highly international research environment. Our team at University of Copenhagen currently consists of around 20 team members representing 13 different nationalities. Our labs are located in a newly established Center for stem cell medicine (reNEW), placed in modernised research facilities and include state-of-the-art laboratories, pleasant office facilities and access to high-quality core facilities in transcriptomics, imaging, flow cytometry and proteomics.

You can read more about the team here. You can also watch a short movie about the Kirkeby group research, or see a documentary about the work to develop a stem cell therapy for Parkinson’s Disease.

Job description
We are seeking 2 highly motivated and ambitious postdoctoral candidates with a strong educational background in the fields of stem cell biology, neuroscience or similar. The candidates will be working together on optimizing complex co-culturing models of neuronal and glial cells for obtaining physiologically relevant models of neurodegenerative diseases (in particular Parkinson’s Disease) for high-throughput drug screening. The candidates will work in a highly collaborative environment and will be engaged closely with team of 3 other postdocs and PhD students in the group.

The technologies you will apply are:

  • Culturing and subtype-specific differentiation of hiPSCs and hESCs into neurons, astrocytes and microglia
  • Assessment of neuronal subtypes in the dish through qRT-PCR and immunocytochemistry
  • Induction of neurodegenerative pathology in the stem cell-derived cultures through the use of toxins, aggregated proteins and gene editing.
  • Assessment of neuronal function and neuronal network activity in complex mixed neuronal cultures through multi-electrode array (MEA) analysis, calcium imaging, analysis of neurotransmitter release and automated immunofluorescence imaging
  • Scaling up of stem cell cultures to high-throughput multiwell format for automated analysis
  • Working with single cell RNA sequencing (10X platform) and working with bioinformaticians on analysing the data
  • Key criteria for the assessment of the applicants
  • The following requirements for the candidate will be assessed as key criteria for the recruitment.

Mandatory requirements:

  • Master’s degree related to the subject area of the project e.g. Biology, Biomedicine, Biotechnology, Human Biology, Medicine or similar
  • PhD degree in the field of stem cell biology, neuroscience, developmental neurobiology or neurodegenerative diseases
  • Prior experience in stem cell culturing and neural differentiation or working with neuronal or glial cell cultures
  • A background in neuroscience research, preferentially in research with neurodegenerative diseases
  • Fluency in English, written and spoken.

Positively assessed criteria:

  • Prior experience in microglial and/or astrocyte differentiation
  • Prior experience in high-throughput screening assays
  • Prior experience in working with assessment of neuronal connectivity, synapse formation or neuronal function (i.e. electrophysiology or MEA)
  • Prior experience in qRT-PCR, ICC, confocal imaging and automated image analysis
  • Prior experience in CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing of hiPSCs and hESCs
  • Prior experience in single cell RNAseq (wet lab and bioinformatic analysis)

For each position, it is expected that you as the candidate will perform an independent research project with a high degree of autonomy in project planning, and that you positively embrace collaborations with other team members on your own project as well as the projects of your colleagues, and that you contribute actively to a pleasant work environment within the group. A strong academic track record with a productive publication list and positive reviews from previous supervisors, collaborators or mentors will also weigh strongly in the assessment.

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

Salary, pension and other conditions of employment are set in accordance with the Agreement between the Ministry of Taxation and AC (Danish Confederation of Professional Associations) or other relevant organisation. Currently, the monthly salary starts at 35,000 DKK/approx. 4,700 EUR (October 2021 level). Depending on qualifications, a supplement may be negotiated. The employer will pay an additional 17.1 % to your pension fund.

Foreign and Danish applicants may be eligible for tax reductions, if they hold a PhD degree and have not lived in Denmark the last 10 years. More information about this can be found here:

For questions about the project and group, please contact the principal supervisor:
Associate Professor Agnete Kirkeby, Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Stem Cell Medicine, e-mail: phone: +45 5168 5353

Application deadline:  3 August 2023, 23.59pm CET

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