Postdoc in Genomics Discovery and Epidemiology – Novo Nordisk Foundation, Center for Basic Metabolic Research, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen



The University of Copenhagen is seeking a highly motivated and talented postdoctoral fellow to commence 1 October 2019 or as soon as possible thereafter at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences.

The postdoctoral fellowship is part of the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research International Postdoctoral Program www.cbmr.ku.dk/postdocprogram.

The postdoctoral fellow will receive a competitive package including salary and running costs for three years, and be part of an international scientific collaboration at the Maersk Tower www.maersktower.ku.dk.

Job description

The fellowship is aimed at early career researchers with a basic science background or clinicians who aspire to a career in academic medicine. We are particularly interested in candidates who are familiar with integrative research approaches within the broad area of basic metabolic research with an application towards human pathophysiology. The Center’s vision is to strengthen interdisciplinary research that transforms the basic understanding of mechanisms involved in metabolic health and disease, and to accelerate this knowledge toward new prevention and treatment strategies. Information about the Center can be found at www.cbmr.ku.dk.

The postdoc position is in the Genomics Discovery and Epidemiology Group headed by Associate Professor Tuomas Kilpeläinen. The research group investigates how genetic variation contributes to obesity and related metabolic disorders and interacts with the environment, modifying the effect of physical activity, diet, and other lifestyle factors on weight gain and metabolic health. You can read more about the Kilpeläinen Group at www.cbmr.ku.dk/research/human-genomics-and-metagenomics-in-metabolism/kilpelainen-group.

Project description

Insulin resistance, dyslipidaemia, and increased risk of type 2 diabetes are closely linked to obesity, but there is wide individual variability in the metabolic tolerance for carrying excess body fat. Among patients who are morbidly obese, up to 10% do not show any sign of metabolic dysfunction at all. In contrast, lipodystrophic patients who are unable to form subcutaneous adipose tissue, typically suffer from severe insulin resistance and other metabolic abnormalities. Overfeeding experiments have shown that given similar relative weight gain, individuals may be either protected from or predisposed to metabolic dysfunction. Furthermore, results from weight loss interventions for type 2 diabetes have shown that non-overweight individuals respond to substantial weight loss just as well as the obese in terms of conversion to normal glucose tolerance.

The aim of the present project is to examine the role of genetic variation in the individual relationship between adiposity and metabolic dysfunction in human populations. We expect that the postdoc will develop a project that, through the understanding of the role of genetic diversity, will elucidate the causal mechanisms that couple obesity to metabolic dysfunction and open avenues for identifying individuals with the highest risk of developing insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes if they gain weight.


We are looking for a highly motivated and enthusiastic scientist with the following competencies and qualifications:

  • Experience in statistical programming (e.g. R, SAS)
  • Expertise in applying statistical analyses to test biological hypotheses
  • Experience in epidemiological research
  • Strong interest in research on obesity and metabolic disorders
  • Proven track record showing continuous scientific productivity in peer-reviewed journals
  • Interest in co-supervising PhD fellows and MSc students
  • Excellent English communication skills, both written and oral


The applicant must hold a PhD within a relevant discipline such as medicine, biology, biochemistry, molecular biology, bioinformatics, pharmacy or medical engineering. The PhD degree must preferably be awarded from a university outside of Denmark. The program is also open for applicants with a Danish PhD degree who can document at least 12 months full-time research experience from outside Denmark.

You are not eligible to apply for the program if you have been employed in a postdoctoral position for more than one year at the University of Copenhagen prior to the commencement of the fellowship.


Selection of postdoctoral fellows is based on academic achievements, research experience and interviews. A mandatory interview visit for the shortlisted applicants comprises interviews with PI and co-PI and a tour of the Center facilities. The Center will pay for travel and accommodation for selected applicants in association with the interview visit.

The University of Copenhagen International Staff Mobility office offers support and assistance to all international researchers on all issues related to moving to and settling in Denmark. Read more at www.ism.ku.dk and www.workindenmark.dk.

The applicant must fulfil the following criteria:

  • A strong CV, having published in high-impact journals and presented at international meetings
  • An enthusiastic interest in basic metabolic research
  • The ability to manage your own academic research and associated activities
  • The ability to contribute ideas for new research projects
  • Evidence of excellent interpersonal skills and leadership, with the ability to communicate research ideas and results in a clear and logical way and the ability to confidently and effectively interact with colleagues and the broader research community

Terms of employment

The employment as postdoc is a full time position for 3 years. Starting date is 1 October 2019.

Salary, pension and terms of employment will be in accordance with the agreement between the Danish Ministry of Finance and AC (Danish Confederation of Professional Associations). Depending on qualifications, a supplement may be negotiated.

Non-Danish and Danish applicants may be eligible for tax reductions, if they hold a PhD degree and have not lived in Denmark the last 10 years.


For further information about the position, please contact Associate Professor Tuomas Kilpeläinen at tuomas.kilpelainen@sund.ku.dk. Questions regarding the CBMR International Postdoctoral Program must be directed to cbmr@sund.ku.dk. For questions regarding the recruitment procedure, please contact SUND HR CBMR at mlr@sund.ku.dk.

Application procedure

Your online application must be submitted in English by clicking ‘Apply now’ below. Furthermore, your application must include the following documents/attachments – all in PDF format:

  • Cover letter expressing the motivation and previous research experience of the applicant (max 1 page)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Copy of the PhD degree certificate and the Master degree certificate. In case the PhD has not yet been completed, a written statement from the supervisor is acceptable
  • List of publications
  • References (name and contact details of at least two references)

The application deadline is 7 July 2019 at 23.59pm CET.

We reserve the right not to consider material received after the deadline, and not to consider applications that do not live up to the abovementioned requirements.

The further process

After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorised recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the hiring committee. All applicants are then immediately notified whether an unbiased assessor has passed their application for assessment. Once the assessment work has been completed, 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 www.employment.ku.dk/faculty/recruitment-process.

The applicant will be assessed according to the Ministerial Order no. 242 of 13 March 2012 on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Universities.

The University of Copenhagen wishes to reflect the diversity of society and welcome applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.