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Up Directory CCL 17.10.05 2 PhD positions for Computational Drug Design
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Date: Thu Oct 5 15:33:12 2017
Subject: 17.10.05 2 PhD positions for Computational Drug Design

The Computational Drug Design Group (Gloriam group), Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology, University of Copenhagen wishes to employ a PhD Fellow in Scientific Database Development. The project starts December 2017 or January 2018 and lasts for 3 years.

The Gloriam group ( conducts bioinformatics, scientific data analysis and computational drug design, tightly integrated with leading chemists and pharmacologists, and structure-function studies of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) one of the largest drug target families. The group also heads the GPCR communitys main database and web server, GPCRdb ( serving ~1700 monthly users. The group currently has 15 members, funded mainly by an ERC Starting Grant and Lundbeck Foundation Fellowship, and has in the last 1,5 years published in e.g. Nature, Nature Chemistry, Nucleic Acids Research and Bioinformatics.

Project 1 (computational drug design of peptide inhibitors)

The PhD scholarship is part of a large biomedical project entitled "Novel principles for targeting intracellular receptor signaling pathways in the brain. The specific project will focus on identification and pharmacological/biophysical characterization of compounds targeting intracellular G proteins. The project will study chemical derivatives of already known inhibitors from natural products as well as screen for novel inhibitors based on virtual screening compound libraries. Compounds will be tested on representative G protein-coupled receptors signaling through the four major G protein families using a range of mammalian cell based assays. The mechanism-of-action of the most interesting compounds will be studied by e.g. mutagenesis. Finally, it will be studied if the inhibitors retain their activity on human mutations causing diseases such as cancers and hypoparathyroidism.

Project 2 (computational drug design of small molecules)

You will first train 1,5 years jointly with all 5 PhD Fellows at the University of Copenhagen. Subsequently, the last 1,5 years will be spent with together with the crystallography PhD student at SARomics. The employer SARomics is leading provider in commercial services for structure-based drug/ligand design, and has licenses for state-of-the-art software suite.

The PhD fellowships is one of five that are part of the EU-funded project, SAFER ( This is an ambitious interdisciplinary European Industrial Doctorates (EID) programme under the Horizon 2020 Marie Skodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA-ITN-EID, Grant agreement: 765657), which offers positions with competitive salaries and family allowances. PhD students will obtain ample scientific, business and transferrable skills at excellent research environments meriting themselves for international academic or industrial careers.

The ultimate scientific goal for the SAFER program is to gain molecular understanding and improve selectivity in treatments of CNS-related disorders. This will be done with a particular focus on the serotonin 5-HT2A receptor the primary target for many pharmaceuticals and hallucinogens. SAFER will design and prepare ligands for the receptor, generate and cross-interpret pharmacology and crystallographic data, and construct computational mechanistic models and databases that can explain and guide further experiments. This is fundamental to understand the biological and therapeutic effects, and to develop safer drugs.

Computational drug design of:
peptide inhibitors
small molecules
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