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Research / PhD position in haematology, CLL, with focus on microbiomics and immune dysfunction

Copenhagen University Hospital

Monday, September 21, 2020 Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) lab at Rigshospitalet (, invite applications for an appointment as PhD student (health sciences, Copenhagen University) in microbiomics and immune dysfunction. The position is available from November 2020 or according to mutual agreement.

Responsibilities and tasks
The microbiome of the gastrointestinal tract, the upper respiratory system, and the skin interacts with the normal and pathogenic immune system. In CLL, we and others have demonstrated dysfunction of the immune system and interaction with the microenvironment throughout the course of the disease.
In order to assess putative roles of the microbiome in CLL, including the interaction with the microenvironment and immune dysfunction, we have collected microbiome samples from patients with CLL. The first batch of these samples have now been analyzed using shot gun sequencing techniques.
We look for a candidate with a clear potential to expand the microbiome project into a full PhD project analyzing microbiome data in collaboration with our bioinformatic team. The main purpose of the position is to address key research questions related to CLL and other lymphoproliferative malignancies. The research will focus on providing clinical value and will include:
• Data cleaning, data analyses (wet lab performed outside our research group), bioinformatics, data integration and statistics in r or other appropriate programs.
• Integration of microbiome data with immune phenotyping (parallel PhD project), clinical (trial) data and published/external microbiome cohorts.
• Participate in ongoing / contribute to development of future translational studies collecting samples for microbiome and microbiome-related research
• Publishing in High-Impact factor journals like Blood, Nature Comm., Haematologica
• Effective communication with bioinformaticians, medical doctors, lab technicians, statisticians and data analysts on strategy choices and results.

Research environment
We offer a challenging research position / PhD in an international environment. We value knowledge sharing and multi-disciplinarity. Hence, you are expected to cooperate as a team player and be eager to build relations with colleagues within the department and with external collaborators. Through our collaboration with the Nordic, HOVON and German CLL study groups as well as commercial clinical trials, we have access to samples from patients in clinical trials along with baseline and consecutive biobank samples. Our research group develop clinical trials, wet lab analyses including genetic analyses (WGS, MRD assessment) and immune phenotyping as well as serving as the central laboratory for trials in the Nordic countries. In addition, we develop machine learning algorithms for prediction of clinical outcomes. Thus, there is ample opportunity for your work to have direct clinical impact.
Our current research-group includes 7 scientific researchers (head of group, 4 PhDs and 2 postdocs), 3 laboratory technicians and 20+ clinical trial unit employees at the Department of Hematology. We strive for academic excellence, collegial respect and freedom tempered by responsibility. We also believe in each individual’s patterns of productivity. We welcome flexible time and location of working hours, as long as the quota for the full-time work week is reached.

• Master’s degree in biology, medicine, biochemistry, engineering, life sciences or a similar background.
• Research experience with molecular/genetic biology and/or epidemiology/data analyses.
• A steep learning curve or proficiency in microbiomics, bioinformatics and data analyses.
• Ability to explain motivations, methodologies and results to audiences of various technical backgrounds.
• Ability to work both independently and as a team-player.
• Mastering of the English language with proficiency.
• Creative mindset and curious mind.

Salary and terms of employment
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed with the relevant union.

Workplace and period of employment
• Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen.
• The period of employment is 1-year (with extension to 3 years depending on funding).

Further information on our group may be obtained from Please contact Dr. Carsten Utoft Niemann on for further details regarding this PhD position.

Jobinterviews will be between 23.-28, September 2020

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