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PhD Fellowship in Immunology at The Leo Foundation Skin Immunology Research Center

Applicants are invited to apply for a PhD position in medical sciences at University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Successful candidate will have funding to work and study for 3 years in Denmark. Candidates are welcome before May 17, 2020.

We are offering a PhD fellowship in the immunosuppressive role of adipose-derived stem cells in inflammatory skin diseases to commence on 1 August 2020 or as soon as possible hereafter.

Our vision is to better understand, prevent, and treat skin diseases for the benefit of the individual patient. Our goal is to discover novel molecular disease targets, innovative therapies, and ways to modify the immune system to fight disease. In particular, we strive to unravel how disturbances in the immune defense lead to chronic inflammatory skin diseases and cancer.

We perform basic and translational research in a close collaboration with clinicians at dermatology (dermatology scholarships) departments in Denmark, EU, and the US. We take an interdisciplinary approach to science and are collaborating with a large national and international network of researchers in areas such as immunology, microbiology, pharmacy, bioinformatics, cancer biology, veterinary and clinical medicine. We believe in teamwork and have an inclusive and supportive working environment in an international, open-minded atmosphere with a diversity of nationalities among group members and at the Department at large.

As part of SIC, our group is located on the 12th floor in the award-winning Maersk Tower, which offers ultra-modern facilities and a vibrant international research environment with focus on the development of early-career scientists. Based on a grant from the LEO Foundation of more than 50 million EUR, SIC aims to unite leading Danish and international researchers in immunology (fully funded immunology scholarships) and skin disease to provide new knowledge to enable better diagnostics and more effective treatments for a wide range of inflammatory skin diseases. Our mission is that SIC will become a world-leading center for research and education in skin and skin diseases. Further information on the center can be found at: https://sic.ku.dk.

Inflammatory skin diseases are caused by a complex and self-sustaining interplay between multiple immune cell populations and keratinocytes via the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, and are associated with impaired quality of life, social stigmatization and high incidence of severe comorbidities. Present therapies targeting cytokines and/or immune cells provide amelioration of disease symptoms, but offer no cure. Thus, new therapeutic approaches are mandatory to improve life of patients with skin diseases. At the forefront is adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs)-based therapy, which provides clinical promise due to a high immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory potential of ASCs. Indeed, the use of ASCs for the treatment of different autoimmune diseases is under investigation by multiple clinical trials. Yet, the therapeutic potential of ASCs in inflammatory skin diseases has not been explored and needs keen research focus.

Hence the aim of this PhD study is to: I) set up and standardize a protocol for the isolation and differentiation of human ASCs, II) characterize the molecular features, including key mediators of the interplay between ASCs and immune cells, III) elucidate ASCs therapeutic potential in ex vivo inflammatory skin models, and IV) thoroughly profile and compare ASC population in normal and inflamed skin. Taken together, this PhD project is expected to provide a deeper understanding of the stem and immune cell axis as a new therapeutic target for inflammatory skin diseases.

Principal supervisor is Prof. Anders Woetmann, LEO Foundation Skin Immunology Research Center (SIC), Department of Immunology and Microbiology, e-mail: awoetmann@sund.ku.dk, direct phone: +45 28570484 .

Applicants must have qualifications corresponding to a master's degree related to the subject area of the project e.g. the applicant holds a master (master scholarships) in immunology or equivalent. Prior experimental experience with cell culture/co-culture and analysis of human mesenchymal stem cells or dermal fibroblasts, human blood derived T cells, and human skin derived T cells is preferred. The place of employment is the LEO Foundation Skin Immunology Research Center (SIC), Department of Immunology and Microbiology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen. We offer creative and stimulating working conditions in dynamic and international research environment. Our research facilities include modern laboratories on the 12th floor of the Mrsk Tower and access to state-of-the-art core facilities for flow cytometry, single cell sequencing, microscopy, animal facilities etc.

Terms of employment The employment as PhD fellow is full time and for 3 years. The employment 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 formulated by the applicant.

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. 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 26.755 DKK /approx. 3.567 EUR (April 2018-level) plus pension.

For specific information about the PhD fellowship, please contact the principal supervisor. General information about PhD studies at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences (fully funded Medical Sciences scholarships) is available at the Graduate School's website: https://healthsciences.ku.dk/phd/guidelines/

Your application must be submitted electronically by clicking the 'Apply now' below. The application must include the following documents in PDF format: 2. CV incl. education, experience, language skills and other skills relevant for the position

3. Master of Science diploma and transcript of records. If not completed, a certified/signed copy of a recent transcript of records or a written statement from the institution or supervisor will do

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.

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 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 Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences comprises approximately 7500 students, 1500 PhD students and 3200 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.
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