Postdoctoral position investigating how microbially produced aromatic amino acid metabolites

The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research, University of Copenhagen
Copenhagen, Hovedstaden (DK)
July 05 2017
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

Postdoctoral position investigating how microbially produced aromatic amino acid metabolites signal to the host.  

Tenure:     Two years  

The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research (CBMR) has been established at the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen to conduct basic research on metabolism ( The Center, which consists of six scientific sections and a number of international research satellites, was established through a DKK 885 million unrestricted grant from the Novo Nordisk Foundation. We are a center of excellence where talented researchers and experienced laboratory technicians is bringing scientific discoveries from the laboratory to the society in an effort to tackle some of today’s biggest challenges – diabetes and obesity. We are proud of the outstanding discoveries made by the Center, and we are committed to the translation of this knowledge into novel approaches to patient care. The position is in the Section for Metabolic Receptology headed by Scientific Director Thue W. Schwartz and in the Group of Professor Fredrik Bäckhed. The research in this Group is focused exploring how the microbiota interacts with dietary components and the resulting effects on the host in particular on metabolism. The main hypothesis is that such metabolites are bioactive compounds signaling through GPCRs that may control the enteroendocrine system and other metabolic systems of the body. You can read more about the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research on:

Project Description
Accumulating evidence shows that bacteria residing within the human intestinal tract (gut microbiome) influence host physiology and metabolism. We have demonstrated that the gut microbiota should be considered an environmental factor that contributes to obesity and insulin resistance, and our studies comparing patients and controls have since shown that the gut microbiota is associated with the development of cardiometabolic diseases (CMD), such as obesity, type 2 diabetes (T2D), and cardiovascular disease (6, 7). However, the current challenge is to move beyond descriptive studies and identify how the gut microbiota contributes to host metabolism and the development of CMD to identify novel aspects to drug the microbiome. 

This proposal builds on the overarching hypothesis that the gut microbiome affects host metabolism through the production of key metabolites which enter the body to modulate peripheral metabolism. Only a few gut microbiome-generated metabolites affecting host physiology have yet been identified (e.g. short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) and secondary bile acids). Recent evidence suggest that aromatic amino acids also forms important bioactive metabolites. The successful candidate will identify such metabolites, identify the signaling receptors and clarify their role in metabolism and physiology. 

PhD in pharmacology, biochemisty or molecular biology. Candidates with hands on experience working on metabolites signaling and/ or receptor pharmacology, ligand screening and characterization will be preferred.

Employment Conditions
Salary and other terms and conditions of appointment are set in accordance with the Agreement between the Ministry of Finance and AC (Danish Confederation of Professional Associations) or other relevant professional organisations. The position is covered by the Job Structure for Academic Staff at Universities 2013. 

The position will be at the level of postdoctoral fellow. The gross basic salary range for Postdoctoral Fellows is DKK 32,095 to DKK 33,791 per month (level 6 to 8). To the basic salary a supplement could be negotiated, dependent on the candidate’s experience and qualifications. An additional 17.1 % monthly contribution to pension will be paid by the employer. 

Starting date is 2017-10-01 or as soon as possible hereafter. 

Application Procedure
The application must be submitted in English no later than August 18, by clicking on “Apply online” below, and must include the following:  

  • Application/motivational letter  
  • Curriculum vitae  
  • References (name and contact details of at least two referees)  

For further information related to the post, please contact Senior HR Consultant Ditte Maria Bohn ( 

For more information on working and living in Denmark:, and

After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the Appointments Committee. All applicants are then immediately notified whether their application has been passed for assessment by an expert assessment committee. Selected applicants will be 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

Highly motivated and ambitious candidates are encouraged to apply. Solid experience and an excellent track record gained in leading laboratories in the research field will be considered a distinct advantage. In all cases, ability to perform the job will be the primary consideration, and thus we encourage all - regardless of their personal background and status - to apply. 

Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe’s top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation – with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture – creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.

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