PhD Fellowship in Pushing the Boundary of Cutaneous Absorption Through Supersaturation, Penetration Enhancement and Lipidificati
University of Copenhagen Department of Pharmacy

PhD Fellowship “Pushing the Boundary of Cutaneous Absorption Through Supersaturation, Penetration Enhancement and Lipidification

Department of Pharmacy
Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences (SUND)
University of Copenhagen

The Department of Pharmacy is offering a three-year PhD fellowship aiming at developing lipid-‑based (trans-)cutaneous drug delivery systems, pushing the free drug concentration in the delivery vehicles to maximal values by increasing the drug load through supersaturation, lipidification and combining such supersaturated systems with terpene-based penetration enhancers. The PhD project will be carried out within the recently established LEO Foundation Center for Cutaneous Drug Delivery (LFCCDD), which integrates several disciplines, including molecular biology, immunology, microbiology, physical chemistry, and pharmaceutics, to perform state-of-the-art research and to create innovative solutions within cutaneous drug delivery of both small and large molecules.

The successful applicant will be a member of the Novel Drug Delivery Systems and Solid state pharmaceutics groups and will have the opportunity for cross-disciplinary research in collaboration with the other sections of the Center as well as external collaborators.

The fellowship is available from the 1st of December 2021 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Project description

Despite the numerous advantages of dermal and transdermal drug delivery, compared to other forms of drug administration, this route of delivery continues to be restricted to a comparatively small number of drugs, such as those with a high lipophilicity, a low molecular weight and a low dose. This project attempts to systematically develop cutaneous drug delivery systems for a wider range of drugs. Drugs will be prepared in lipid-based formulations containing the drug in supersaturated and extremely supersaturated forms for both, long-term and short-term stability. This will be combined with the use of chemical penetration enhancers (terpenes with a wide variety of physicochemical properties) and the use of lipidified drugs by lipid salt formation to further increase drug permeation and solubility in the delivery systems and, thus, further enhance the possibilities of supersaturation. Comparison of the use of chemical and physicochemical principles with microneedles at each step of the formulation development will allow the quantitative evaluation of the usefulness of each of the approaches taken. More in detail, the PhD student will work on the characterization, optimization, and performance testing of such systems to finally obtain formulations, which (a) contain drug in maximally supersaturated concentration within the lipid-based drug delivery system, (b) contain the drug in concentrations that allow maximal supersaturation within the delivery system through activation immediately before use, (c) further increase drug concentrations by modifying the drugs through lipidification and create supersaturated states within the delivery system of such modified drugs. All systems will be prepared with and without penetration enhancers for comparison.


Principal supervisor: Professor Thomas Rades

Co-supervisor: Associate Professor Andrea Heinz

Your job

Your key tasks as a PhD fellow at the Faculty are to:

  • Carry through an independent research project under supervision
  • Write scientific manuscripts and the PhD thesis on the grounds of your research project
  • Complete PhD courses or other equivalent education corresponding to approx. 30 ECTS points
  • Obtain experience with teaching and other types of dissemination related to your PhD project
  • Participate in all Center activities
  • Participate in the undergraduate teaching of students in pharmaceutical sciences
  • Participate in national and international conferences and scientific meetings
  • Stay at an external research institution, preferably abroad


We are looking for a highly motivated and enthusiastic individual with the following competencies and experience:

Required qualifications

As an applicant you must have:

  • Obtained a relevant Master´s degree prior to the starting date
  • Fluency in English and excellent communication skills, both oral and written.
  • The ability to work in an interdisciplinary environment.
  • The ability to travel for performing experiments at collaborators.

Preferred qualifications

The ideal candidate for this project has extensive hands-on experience with cutaneous drug delivery systems, including their formulation and characterization using a variety of analytical techniques. Experience with skin permeation experiments is an advantage.

Key criteria for the assessment of applicants

  • Professional qualifications relevant to the PhD programme
  • Relevant work experience
  • Previous publications
  • The grade point average achieved
  • Other professional activities and achievements
  • Language 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 program (2013) and the Faculty’s rules on achieving the degree.

The PhD student is expected to be affiliated to the graduate program 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 27,871 (approx. 3,748 EUR) (taxable) plus pension (October 2021 level).

Application procedure

Your online application, in English, must be submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.
Your application must include following documents/attachments – all in PDF format:

  • Cover letter (approx. 1 page) describing your background, qualifications, interest and motivation for applying for this position
  • Full CV
  • Diploma and transcripts of records: Master’s degree diploma (including grade transcripts for bachelor´s and master´s degrees). Applicants with a Master´s degree from abroad should also enclose a short description of the grading scale used.
  • Other information for consideration, e.g. list of publications and relevant certificates
  • Names and contact details of references and/or recommendation letters

Deadline for application

15th of October 2021, 23:59 GMT+1. Please note that only online applications will be accepted.
Applications received later than this date, or which do not live up to the abovementioned requirements, will not be considered.

Post application procedure

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 November.

You can read about the recruitment process at


For further information, applicants may contact supervisor Thomas Rades ( or PhD administrator Marianne W. Jørgensen (, phone: +45 35 33 64 49).

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

University of Copenhagen wish to reflect the diversity of society and welcome applications from all qualified candidates regardless of age, disability, gender, nationality, race, religion or sexual orientation. Appointment will be based on merit alone.


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.


Application deadline: 15-10-2021
Employment start: 31-12-2021
Working hours: Full time
Department/Location: Department of Pharmacy

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


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