PhD Fellowships in Organic Chemistry / Radiopharmaceutical Chemistry, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences (SUND) is offering 3 three-year PhD fellowships in organic chemistry/radiopharmaceutical chemistry. The PhD fellowships are financed by the EU via a MC-ITN-ETN action. As such, the PhD fellowships are a part of a training programme PET-AlphaSy consisting in total 15 PhD students located in 5 European countries (Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands, Germany, Belgium). The PhD fellowships will attend common training sessions, e.g. within radiopharmaceutical chemistry or imaging and have secondments at the corresponding partner universities. The fellowships are available from 1 December 2018 or as soon as possible thereafter.

The positions are conditional on receiving the grant from the EU. Currently, the University of Copenhagen is within the negotiation phase with the EU.

  1. Project description

Nanomedicines have been proven to be beneficial in diagnosis and therapy. In vivo imaging studies with the help of labeled structures are crucial to develop new nanomedicinal based drugs. In this project, we will develop a new imaging method based on bioorthogonal chemistry. The tetrazine ligation will be used to establish a so called pretargeted imaging approach that will be applied to blood-brain-barrier (BBB) permeable antibodies. A set of tetrazines will be synthesized and evaluated in respect to reaction kinetics, ADME properties, BBB permeability and metabolism. Most promising compounds will be radiolabeled with fluorine-18 and subsequently evaluated in an in vivo system that will be developed within our MC-ITN-ETN network. The project is mainly organic chemistry focused and spiced up with radioactive work. BBB permeable antibodies will be provided from a small-medium sized enterprise, BioArctic, Sweden. In vivo evaluation studies will mainly be carried out at the Werner Siemens Imaging Center, Tuebingen, Germany. A 3 month stay abroad at both partners is requested.

Principal supervisor is Associate Professor, Matthias Herth, Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology, E-mail:, Direct Phone: +45 93565414.

  1. Project description

Pretargeted imaging displays a novel possibility to image targets with monoclonal antibodies (mAb) with improved imaging contrast and lower radiation dose. The tetrazine ligation is one of the most promising bioorthogonal reaction for pretargeted strategies. In this project, a blood-brain-barrier (BBB) permeable antibody will be functionalized selectively with trans-cyclooctene (TCO) functional groups. These TCO groups will enable the selective binding of radiolabeled tetrazines to the mAb in vivo via pretargeted chemistry. Tetrazines will be developed by PhD fellows within our MC-ITN-ETN network and blood-brain-barrier (BBB) permeable antibodies will be provided by H. Lundbeck A/S, Denmark. In particular, this project is focused on novel strategic ideas to increase the amount of TCOs per mAb without disturbing the biological integrity of the mAb. Organic chemistry, ADME studies and biopharmaceutical chemistry techniques are the basis of this project. In vivo evaluation studies will mainly be carried out at the Uppsala University, Sweden and mAb conjugation chemistry at H. Lundbeck A/S, Denmark. Minimum 3 month stay at both partners is requested.

Principal supervisor is Associate Professor, Matthias Herth, Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology, E-mail: , Direct Phone: +45 93565414.

  1. Project description

Affinity determination, biodistribution and metabolism studies are crucial factors while developing new drugs. This project is embedded in the development of novel Positron-Emission-Tomography (PET) tracers and aims to 3H-label and evaluate prime candidates that will be developed within our MC-ITN-ETN network. These new entities will be used to study ADME and binding characteristics before PET studies are initiated. Small molecules as well as biomolecules will be target molecules and as such a broad set of labeling techniques and precursor and reference compounds syntheses will be the major task of this project. This project is a central part of our MC-ITN-ETN network and connects the work between 6 PhD studies mainly developing new drugs and 3 PhD students working to evaluate these structures. Industrial expert knowledge in respect to 3H-labeling will be provide by Novo Nordisk, Denmark. Evaluation studies will mainly be conducted at Stichting VUMC, The Netherlands. A 3 month stay abroad at both partners is requested.

Principal supervisor is Associate Professor, Matthias Herth, Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology, E-mail:, Direct Phone: +45 93565414.

Required qualifications
As an applicant you must have:

  • Obtained a Master´s degree in chemistry, pharmacy or related areas prior to the starting date
  • Fluency in English and excellent communication skills

Formal requirements and eligibility
At the time of commencement, it is required that the candidates have not been awarded a PhD degree and are within the first 4 years (full-time equivalent) of their research careers. Furthermore, the candidates must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Denmark for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to their recruitment.

Preferred qualifications
We are looking for highly motivated individuals with a strong background in/experience with organic chemistry, medicinal chemistry, radiochemistry, pharmacy or similar.

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

  • Carry through an independent research project under supervision
  • Write scientific articles 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 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 congresses and scientific meetings
  • Stay at an external research institution, preferably abroad

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
  • Language skills
  • The successful applicant is also required to be enterprising and to possess good interpersonal skills

Formal requirements
The successful applicant will be requested to formally apply for enrolment as a PhD student at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences according to the rules stipulated in the Ministerial order on the PhD programme at the universities (PhD order) from the Ministry of Science, Innovation, and Higher Education and the guidelines for the PhD programme at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences.

The PhD student is expected to be affiliated to the graduate programme in pharmaceutical sciences, Drug Research Academy

Terms of employment
The position as a PhD fellow is available for a 3-year period.

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 and according to the rules and regulations laid down by European Union’s Horizon 2020 Marie Curie Initial Training Networks. The position is covered by the Job Structure for Academic Staff at Universities (2013).

For further information, applicants may contact the supervisor or Administrator 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
The application, in English, must be submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW above for each project of interest.

Your application must include:

  • Cover letter: Letter stating the interest in and qualifications for the project (max. one page)
  • 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 Possible publication list
  • Other information to consider: Possible references and recommendations

Deadline for applications 30 September 2018

Please note that only online applications will be accepted. Applications received later than this date will not be considered.

The further process
Shortlist: After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorised recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the Appointment Committee. All applicants are then immediately notified whether their application has been passed for assessment by an expert assessment committee. Selected applicants are notified of the composition of the committee and 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

Assessment: The selected applications will be assessed according to the Ministerial Order no. 242 of 13 March 2012 on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Universities and the University of Copenhagen’s guidelines 2013. The Assessment Committee makes a non-prioritised assessment of the academic qualifications and experience with respect to the mentioned area of research, techniques, skills and other requirements listed in the advertisement.

Please note that the applicant will be contacted if the assessment committee requires further documentation.

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

An answer as to the granting of the fellowship can be expected approx. 4 weeks after application deadline.

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