ESR8: Chemical approaches to modify biological membranes and cell-surfaces

Location: University of Copenhagen, DK

Supervisor: Prof Ola Blixt

All living cells escape genetic imprisonment by incorporating post-translational modifications such as glycosylation into virtually all translated cellular proteins. This creates the true complexities of the cellular life that are orders of magnitudes more advanced than the human genome and a necessity for life. Despite technical advancements in the analysis of cell surface components, the repertoire of the glycome structures and their cellular interactions are immense and often too complex to decipher. Instead we propose a bottom-up approach using defined Glyco-modules creating an artificial glycocalyx (glycocalyxification) that can be used to systematically resolve the complex interactions on cellular-size membranes. There are several interesting application within this area to investigate: (i) can we systematically build-up an artificial glycoxalyx from a plain cellular-sized membrane vesicles? (ii) can we complement the existing cellular glycocalyx with a synthetic glycocalyx components to fine-tune or induce specific cellular interactions and signaling pathways? (iii) can we trick pathogens to be attracted or rejected to the modulated cellular glycocalyx? (iv) can we utilize vesicles modulated with the artificial glycocalyx for efficient drug delivery in vivo?

If you are an open minded person and interested in one or several of these questions you might want to apply for this PhD position. If selected, you will take part of building up an interesting research project within areas of organic-, analytical- and bio-chemistry disciplines. More specifically your project can involve carbohydrate and peptide solid-phase synthesis, affinity studies using AFM- and microarray technologies, microscopy, mass spectrometry proteomics and immunohistochemistry.

Applicants should meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Have a Diploma and/or a Master Degree in chemistry, or a closely related subject.
  • Have less than 4 years research experience at the signature of the contract (measured from the time the Master’s degree has been obtained).
  • Not have a PhD already.
  • Not have resided or carried out main activity in the Denmark for more than 12 months in the last 3 years immediately prior to the reference recruitment date.
  • Excellent knowledge of the English language (spoken and written / proficiency level)
  • Training on required laboratory techniques will be provided through the synBIOcarb network. However, practical experience in organic synthesis and protein chemistry would be advantageous.

The ESR will be contractually employed by University of Copenhagen and will receive a Monthly Living Allowance plus a Mobility Allowance compliant with the applicable EC Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions-ITN general conditions. 

Application procedure:

Candidates should submit a CV, cover letter and the names and contact details of at least 3 references by e-mail to olablixt@chem.ku.dk indicating reference ESR8 in the subject.

The deadline for application is 07/02/2019

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