PhD Fellowship in Peptide Drug Discovery
University of Copenhagen Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology

PhD fellowship in Peptide Drug Discovery at Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences 
University of Copenhagen

We are offering a three-year PhD fellowship in Peptide Drug Discovery using the ribosome to synthesize and screen huge libraries of unnatural cyclic peptides. The PhD fellowship is financed by a Novo Nordisk Foundation grant to Joseph Rogers. The fellowship is available from 1 November 2020 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Project description

Discovery of novel drug-like cyclic peptides to modulate proteins linked to human disease. You will learn and advance a leading-edge technology at the interface of chemistry and molecular biology, manipulating the ribosomes to accept unnatural amino acids -  chemical structures not present in the universal genetic code. You will reprogram the ribosome to synthesize peptides with an unnatural cyclic topology, and screen trillions of these cyclic peptides -more molecules than there are stars in the galaxy- to discover molecules with novel drug-like properties.

Principal supervisor

Associate Professor Joseph Rogers, Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology
E-mail:, direct phone: +45 23 84 00 87.

Our group and research

Cyclic peptides hold great promise as the next generation of drugs. The Rogers lab is a newly formed group at the Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology whose mission is to find molecules with never-seen-before pharmacological activities. You will be encouraged to formulate new avenues of research, nurture collaborations, and contribute to a fast moving, rapidly-growing scientific area.

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, Biophysics or related areas prior to the starting date.
  • Fluency in English and excellent communication skills

Preferred qualifications

  • Practical experience with protein/DNA/RNA molecular biology, PCR, electrophoresis etc. (Highly desirable) 
  • Strong interest in the biophysics of biomolecules: binding, folding and catalysis (Desirable)
  • Knowledge of, or practical experience with, methods of protein expression and/or chemical peptide synthesis (Desirable).

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 starting 1 November 2020 or as soon as possible hereafter.

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 27,593 (approx. 3,679 EUR) (taxable) plus pension (April 2020 level).


For further information, applicants may contact the principal supervisor Joseph (Joe) Rogers, direct phone: +45 23 84 00 87. 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 20 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.

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 in week 38.

You can read about the recruitment process at

The Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences comprises approximately 7850 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


Joseph Matthew Rogers


Application deadline: 20-08-2020
Employment start: 01-11-2020
Department/Location: Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology

If you apply for this position please say you saw it on Medicinoxy


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