A PhD-project for you if you feel passionate about protecting the unborn child against environmental chemicals that can cause disease later in life. We are seeking an enthusiastic candidate for a 3-year PhD-project studying how fetal exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals can cause disease, including characterizing molecular mechanisms of causative pathways. Of particular focus is thyroid hormone system disruption and associated effects on, for instance, brain development.

The thyroid hormone system is important throughout life but plays specific and crucial roles during fetal and early postnatal life. Many environmental endocrine-disrupting chemicals can interfere with the thyroid hormone system and potentially cause disease, but the underlying mechanisms are still not well understood. This is a challenge for regulatory toxicology which is moving towards greater reliance on non-animal test methods for chemical risk assessments.

This PhD-project is specifically aimed at providing new knowledge that will improve our ability to use alternative test methods and the project is anchored in the multinational EU-funded project PARC (Partnership for the Assessment of Risks from Chemicals).

In this project, you will use a variety of approaches, including in vivo rodent studies, molecular and histopathological characterization of tissues and organs, large-scale expression analyses and more. You will also describe causal adverse outcome pathways descriptions that are relevant for chemical risk assessment using systematic approaches.

You will be part of the research group for Molecular & Reproductive Toxicology at DTU Food, which is involved in both basic research and science-based advisory work for regulatory authorities.  

This PhD-project will use a systems approach to decipher mechanisms-of-action and causal relationships in disease development caused by early life exposure to endocrine disruptors, including translational approaches for extrapolating animal data to human relevance; the overall aim is to improve testing and regulation of chemicals internationally. Specific tasks will include, but not be limited to:

  • Be involved with in utero rat toxicity studies and carry out downstream analyses.
  • Analyze histopathological and -omics data from chemically exposed rat offspring with focus on thyroid-mediated and reproductive development.
  • Conduct molecular studies and perform translational analysis to compare model systems in close collaboration with different partners.
  • Characterize molecular pathways involved in adverse effects.
  • Develop Adverse Outcome Pathways for use in assay development and in chemical risk assessment purposes.

Responsibilities and qualifications
You are expected to carry out independent research under the guidance of your supervisors. Other responsibilities include:

  • Complete courses required for completion of the PhD-programme at DTU (~30 ECTS)
  • Write scientific papers and present your work at institutional, national and international meetings and conferences
  • Undertake a research placement abroad for 2-4 months
  • Write a PhD-thesis for the completion of the PhD candidature.

You must have a two-year master’s degree (120 ECTS points) or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master’s degree.

Other desirable qualifications include:

  • Strong English language skills, verbal and written.
  • Strong communication and organizational skills
  • Previous experience with laboratory work, e.g., cell culture, molecular techniques, or animal studies.

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme,

The assessment of the applicants will be made by a panel consisting of Group leader Terje Svingen and co-supervisor Louise Ramhøj, and possibly other members of the research group.

We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Salary and appointment terms
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years.

The starting date is spring 2023, with a specific date according to mutual agreement.

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Terje Svingen at tesv@food.dtu.dk 

If you are applying from abroad, you may find useful information on working in Denmark and at DTU at DTU – Moving to Denmark. Furthermore, you have the option of joining our monthly free seminar “PhD relocation to Denmark and startup “Zoom” seminar” for all questions regarding the practical matters of moving to Denmark and working as a PhD at DTU.

Application procedure
Your complete online application must be submitted no later than15 February 2023 (Danish time).

Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link “Apply now”, fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma (in English) including official description of grading scale
  • List of 2-3 references that may be contacted by the assessment panel during the interview process.

You may apply prior to ob­tai­ning your master’s degree but cannot begin before having received it.

Applications received after the deadline will not be considered.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

The DTU National Food Institute
DTU Food conducts research into and disseminates – through advice, innovation and teaching – sustainable and value-creating solutions in the area of food and health for the benefit of society. The institute’s vision is to make a difference by generating future prosperity through research into food and health. The institute prevents disease and promotes health, develops new and better food products for a growing population and creates sustainable technological solutions. The institute’s tasks are carried out in a unique interdisciplinary cooperation in e.g. nutrition, chemistry, toxicology, microbiology, epidemiology, modelling and technology.

Technology for people
DTU develops technology for people. With our international elite research and study programmes, we are helping to create a better world and to solve the global challenges formulated in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Hans Christian Ørsted founded DTU in 1829 with a clear mission to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That mission lives on today. DTU has 13,400 students and 5,800 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. DTU has campuses in all parts of Denmark and in Greenland, and we collaborate with the best universities around the world.


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