Postdoc in Lactate and Ketone Bodies as Autocrine Signalling Metabolites University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences Denmark

Postdoc in Lactate and Ketone Bodies as Autocrine Signalling Metabolites

Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

University of Copenhagen


The University of Copenhagen is seeking a highly motivated and talented postdoctoral fellow to commence 1 October 2019 at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences.


The postdoctoral fellowship is part of the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research International Postdoctoral Program


The postdoctoral fellow will receive a competitive package including salary and running costs for three years, and be part of an international scientific collaboration at the Maersk Tower


Job description

The fellowship is aimed at early career researchers with a basic science background or clinicians who aspire to a career in academic medicine. We are particularly interested in candidates who are familiar with integrative research approaches within the broad area of basic metabolic research with an application towards human pathophysiology. The Center’s vision is to strengthen interdisciplinary research that transforms the basic understanding of mechanisms involved in metabolic health and disease, and to accelerate this knowledge toward new prevention and treatment strategies. Information about the Center may be found at


The postdoc position is in the Metabolic Receptology Group headed by Professor Thue W. Schwartz. The aim of the research group is to characterize and understand how signalling metabolites and their specific GPCR sensors interact with hormonal and neuronal mechanism to control endocrine and metabolic functions as the basis for developing novel means to prevent and treat obesity and diabetes. You may read more about the Schwartz Group at


Project description

Key metabolites function not only as energy sources and as metabolic building blocks, they also act as extracellular signalling molecules, which are being recognized by and signal through specific, selective GPCRs in a manner very similar to hormones and neurotransmitters (Husted et al Cell Metabol. 2017). Classical concepts of metabolism as, for example how glucose stimulates insulin secretion are currently being rewritten to include important components of signalling metabolites being sensed by selective metabolite GPCRs often in an autocrine manner (Trauelsen et al Cell Metabol. 2018). The present project deals with the Hydroxycarboxylic Acid Receptors (HCARs), which constitute a family of closely related metabolite GPCRs highly expressed and regulated in adipose tissue. Of these, HCAR1 (GPR81) is a sensor of lactate and HCAR2 (GPR109A) a sensor of b-hydroxybutyrate. The physiological role of HCAR receptors is poorly understood due to lack of useful pharmacological tools and genetic models. The present project is based on the notion that lactate and ketone bodies function as local extracellular signals of fuel availability and metabolic stress, which in autocrine and paracrine manners are sensed by HCARs to reprogram adipocyte function. To probe this notion and to characterize the physiological role of HCAR1 and 2 in metabolism in general, we have generated a number of unique, proprietary pharmacological tool compounds and novel genetic models, which will be used/characterized by the postdoc in close collaboration with other members of the Schwartz lab and the lab of Zach Gerhart-Hines as well as other labs at the Center.



We are looking for a highly motivated and enthusiastic scientist with the following competencies and qualifications:

  • A PhD degree in biomedical or natural sciences

  • Experience in handling animals (including i.p. or s.c. injection as well as dissection of tissues and dissociation of cells for primary isolation)

  • Experience in any of the following: mouse metabolic phenotyping (such as indirect calorimetry), AAV viral generation and delivery in cell or mouse models, mitochondrial respirometry, or cell surface receptor signalling and pharmacology

  • Experience with mammalian (ideally adipocyte) cell culture

  • Experience with statistical programs such as R

  • Basic understanding of adipose biology and mammalian metabolism in the context of obesity

  • Experience with in vivo pharmacological testing of compounds

  • An ambitious, independent and critical mind-set

  • Excellent English communication skills, both written and oral 


The applicant must hold a PhD within a relevant discipline such as Medicine, Biology, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Bioinformatics, Pharmacy or Medical Engineering. The PhD degree must preferably be awarded from a university outside of Denmark. The program is also open for applicants with a Danish PhD degree who can document at least 12 months full-time research experience from outside Denmark.


You are not eligible to apply for the program if you have been employed in a postdoctoral position for more than one year at the University of Copenhagen prior to the commencement of the fellowship.



Selection of postdoctoral fellows is based on academic achievements, research experience and interviews. A mandatory interview visit for the shortlisted applicants comprises interviews with PI and co-PI and a tour of the Center facilities, and will take place in Copenhagen on 13 June 2019. The Center will pay for travel and accommodation for selected applicants in association with the interview visit.


The University of Copenhagen International Staff Mobility office offers support and assistance to all international researchers on all issues related to moving to and settling in Denmark. Read more at and


The applicant must fulfil the following criteria:  

  • A strong CV, having published in high-impact journals and presented at international meetings

  • An enthusiastic interest in basic metabolic research

  • The ability to manage your own academic research and associated activities

  • The ability to contribute ideas for new research projects

  • Evidence of excellent interpersonal skills and leadership, with the ability to communicate research ideas and results in a clear and logical way and the ability to confidently and effectively interact with colleagues and the broader research community 

Terms of employment

The employment as postdoc is a full time position for 3 years. Starting date is 1 October 2019.


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.  


Non-Danish 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.



For further information about the position, please contact Professor Thue W. Schwartz at Questions regarding the CBMR International Postdoctoral Program must be directed to For questions regarding the recruitment procedure, please contact SUND HR CBMR at


Application procedure

Your online application must be submitted in English by clicking ‘Apply now’ below. Furthermore, your application must include the following documents/attachments – all in PDF format:

  • Cover letter expressing the motivation and previous research experience of the applicant (max 1 page)

  • Curriculum vitae

  • Copy of the PhD degree certificate and the Master degree certificate. In case the PhD has not yet been completed, a written statement from the supervisor is acceptable

  • List of publications

  • References (name and contact details of at least two references) 

Application deadline: 22 April 2019 at 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 authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the hiring committee. All applicants are then immediately notified whether an unbiased assessor has passed their application for assessment. 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.


You can read about the recruitment process at


The applicant will be assessed according to the Ministerial Order no. 242 of 13 March 2012 on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Universities.


The University of Copenhagen wishes to reflect the diversity of society and welcome applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.

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


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