Postdoctoral researcher

Postdoctoral researcher

Herlev Hospital, University of Copenhagen

Herlev, Denmark

Job description: A Postdoctoral Fellow position is available at the Department of Gastroenterology, Herlev Hospital, which is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) referral center in Eastern Denmark (with a cohort of approximately 3,500 patients) for an enthusiastic and highly motivated researcher. The project will focus on vitamin D’s immunological significance for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

IBD (i.e. ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease) is a relatively common chronic bowel disease, affecting approximately 0.6% of all Danes. With this project, we want to expand knowledge about the molecular biological importance of the vitamin D / vitamin D receptor (VDR) on intestinal epithelial cells with the aim to improve treatment of these patients in the future. Thus, recent studies have shown vitamin D to influence both the adaptive and innate immune system. With respect to IBD, epidemiological studies have associated 25(OH)D levels in plasma below normal range with an increased risk of disease progression; intestinal surgery, as well as an impaired response to medical treatment. However, the crucial randomized controlled trials with optimization of circulating 25(OH)D levels have never and will never be performed, as there is no financial incentive for this matter with a relatively cheap unpatented substance.
This project will elucidate the effect of the vitamin D / VDR on the function of the intestinal epithelium in ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease versus controls (e.g., individuals with irritable bowel syndrome) scheduled for a colonoscopy. The intestinal epithelium is an important barrier between the external environment (e.g., antigens in the diet and intestinal microbiota) and the host’s own immune system, and defects of the barrier is central for the pathogenesis of IBD. The molecular biology studies envisaged in the study will help to shed new light on the influence of vitamin D / VDR on this immunologically important barrier and will at the same time contribute in the efforts to develop more rational treatment strategies of IBD in the future.

As a Postdoctoral Fellow, you will be responsible for collecting biological test material, and you will be in charge of long-term culturing of primary intestinal epithelial cells at the department’s own research facility using an already well-functioning method established in collaboration with Keio University, Tokyo. Molecular biology analyzes will to some extent be performed at the Biotech Research and Innovation Centre (BRIC), Copenhagen (The Kim B. Jensen Laboratory). You will additionally be responsible for data processing and compilation of results for subsequent scientific publications. The latter task will be performed in close cooperation with the researchers involved from Herlev Hospital, BRIC, and an American research team at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard, Boston. Thus, the fellow will have a simultaneous academic interaction with clinicians and basic scientists.

It is important that you have a well-founded biological insight; have flair and desire to work with bioinformatics and statistics, and that you are fluent in both oral and written English. As you become a central part of the project team, it is therefore critical that you are committed to join a dynamic team with the other research members – including colleagues in the US.

Job requirements: PhD and Master in immunology, molecular biology, or related field is required, and the applicant may have 1-2 years of experience in working with stem cells as well as demonstrated expertise in the use of cell culturing, studies of cell metabolism, biochemistry, and molecular biology. The individual must be able to work independently in a team of physicians and researchers. We assume that you are a committed and well-structured person with a good drive, and that you are able to work independently.

Candidates should include an updated CV with bibliometric data, complete information for three references, and a motivation letter describing their past research experience, career goals and potential future research interests. Applicants should send letter of application and resume to: Professor Ole Haagen Nielsen, MD, DMSc, Department of Gastroenterology, Herlev Hospital, (ole.haagen.nielsen@regionh.dk) before January 21th, 2018.

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Postdoctoral researcher