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PhD Programs in Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network pH and Ion Transport in Pancreatic Cancer 2019-2022, Denmark

Publish Date: Jan 31, 2019

Deadline: Feb 20, 2019

3 PhDs in Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network pH and Ion Transport in Pancreatic Cancer

Department of Biology, Faculty of Science at University of Copenhagen is offering 3 PhD scholarships (commencing 1. September 2019) in Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Innovative Training Networks on pH and Ion Transport in Pancreatic Cancer (pHIoniC). 

Scientific environment 

This pHIonic training network is financed by the European Commission Horizon 2020. The project is a collaboration between 10 academic and 3 industrial partners from 7 European countries. The consortium brings together highly synergistic expertise in the field of ion transport and cancer research.  

Our focus is on pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), which is rising in incidence and is so far incurable. The programme’s central idea is that the unique pancreatic microenvironment contributes to disease development and progression. The programme has a strong grounding in the physiology of acid/base transport in the exocrine pancreas and it develops new concepts and tools in the cancer field and beyond. Jointly, pHioniC will map pH landscape in normal and diseased pancreas, characterize the impact of the acidic microenvironment on PDAC development, and apply drug/nanocarrier/antibody designs for targeting of tumors. 

Project description 

Project 1 Role of pH and ATP signaling in normal pancreas and PDAC 

The normal function of exocrine pancreas is to secrete bicarbonate-rich fluid necessary for digestion. Our objective is to test the hypothesis that this process leads to acidification of extracellular pH, and together with ATP/purinergic signaling, favors micro-inflammation, epithelial transportome reorganization and PDAC development. Our aim is to resolve the dynamics and spacial resolution of pH changes and find the key proteins that are involved in intra- and intercellular signaling leading to tissue remodellng. Key candidates explored and pharmacologically tested include proton pumps, potassium channels and ATP sensitive purinergic receptors. Techniques employed will include live-cell/organ imaging, cell- and biochemical assays, multicellular organoids and orthotopic cancer models in mice.  

Principal supervisor is Prof. Ivana Novak, Section for Cell Biology and Physiology,,  Phone: +45 353-30275 

Project 2 Interactions between microenvironmental acidity and PDAC driver mutations studied in 3D organotypic culture 

The objective of the project is to analyze the interplay between acidic conditions and central PDAC mutations in driving PDAC development. The strategy will include: Organoid cultures of mouse normal pancreatic ductal cells will be exposed to (a) environmental acidic stress of varying duration and magnitude and (b) central PDAC driver mutations (inducible KRAS expression, CRISPR/Cas9 KO and mutation of TP53), alone and in combination, followed by in-depth phenotype analyses. Together with the PhD student responsible for Project 3, the student will analyse genotype-phenotype interactions to understand how acidity and mutations interact in PDAC. 

Principal supervisor is Prof. Stine F. Pedersen, Section for Cell Biology and Physiology,, Phone: +45 353-21546 

Project 3 Relation and causality between pH homeostasis and driver mutation generation in PDAC development   

We hypothesize that acidic conditions synergize with PDAC mutations to drive PDAC development. An outstanding question is the causality between the two: are PDAC driver mutations more easily generated in an acidic environment, or is their ability to drive PDAC development increased due to the acidity. The experiments will be based on exposing organoid cultures that carry one, two or none of the typical PDAC driver mutations to acid conditions, and then assess changes in RNA response (RNA-seq) and generation of new mutations. This is a collaboration with project 2 above, which will also assess phenotypes in parallel. The position is primarily computational, requiring experience in programming, statistics and bioinformatics.   

Principal supervisor is Prof. Albin Sandelin, Section for Computational and RNA Biology,, Phone: +45 353-21285 

Who are we looking for? 

Marie Curie Training Networks offer a unique opportunity to get cutting-edge training in a multidisciplinary environment with a focus on academic and personal development of the PhD fellows. The supervisors in the network each provide specific competences and as part of the network you develop your skills and carry out research both independently and as part of a network of 15 PhD fellows. The consortium ensures exchange of ideas through network-wide training events, summer schools and intersectoral secondments. As a PhD fellow in the pHIoniC network, you need to have good social skills, be innovative and goal-oriented and be willing to conduct the planned secondments.  

Formal requirements  

Applicants should hold, or be close to completing, an MSc degree in Biology, Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, Biotechnology, Bioinformatics or related fields, with relevant preparative training. Excellent command of spoken and written English is required. As criteria for the assessment of your qualifications, emphasis will also be laid on previous publications (if any) and relevant work experience.

Job conditions 

The PhD student will be appointed under a 3-year employment contract with a competitive salary and mobility allowance at the host institution. The fellow is expected to start on 1. September 2019. The PhD student will be enrolled in the PhD program of the Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen, with the specific intent that it results in a PhD degree and scientific publications. 

Job description 

The position is available for a 3-year period. Your key tasks as a PhD student at SCIENCE/pHIoniC network are. 

  • To manage and carry through your research project 
  • Attend PhD courses both within and outside the pHIoniC network 
  • Write scientific articles and your PhD thesis 
  • Participate in international congresses and pHIoniC network meetings 
  • Stay at the research institutions abroad for the secondments 
  • Teach and disseminate your research 

EU eligibility criteria for candidates 

The applicant may be of any nationality but in order to be eligible for the positions the following criteria applies to all applicants: 

The applicant shall at the time of recruitment be eligible as an Early Stage Researcher (ESR) by being in the first four years of his/her research career and not have been awarded a doctoral degree.  

The applicant must not have resided or carried out his/her main activity in the country of the host institute for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the recruitment. 

Terms of employment  

The position is covered by the Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff.  

Terms of appointment and payment accord to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State.  

The starting salary is currently at a minimum DKK 322,642 including annual supplement (+ pension up to DKK 44,567). Negotiation for salary supplement is possible. 

Please include:  

  • Cover Letter, stating which PhD project you are applying for and detailing your motivation and background for applying for the specific PhD project (max. 2 pages) 
  • CV (max. 2 pages) including a list of publications (if any) 
  • Summary of last degree thesis (1 page) 
  • Diploma and transcripts of records (BSc and MSc) 
  • Two references and full contact details (name, address, telephone & email) of professional referees 

For more information click "LINK TO ORIGINAL" below.

This opportunity has expired. It was originally published here:

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