Postdoc in endocrinology and cancer research

Postdoc in endocrinology and cancer research

Job title: Postdoc in endocrinology and cancer research

Company: Syddansk Universitet

Job description: The Research Laboratory for Molecular Endocrinology (KMEB) at the Department of Clinical Research, University of Southern Denmark and at the Department of Endocrinology M, Odense University Hospital (OUH), invites applications for an open postdoc position from highly motivated researchers with a desire to work in the interface of cancer biology and endocrinology.

The position as postdoc is for a period of 2½ years and to be filled from January 1, 2022 until June 30, 2024, or at the selected candidate’s earliest convenience.

Research area

Our research focuses on the insulin-like growth factor (IGF) system, a major player in the pathogenesis of several diseases.

Recently, we have focused on the enzyme pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A (PAPP-A) that is responsible for the activation of IGF-1 and IGF-2 through cleavage of IGF binding proteins (IGFBPs). High PAPP-A and IGF-2 levels are found in both human adipose tissue cultures and various cancers. Elevated circulating level of PAPP-A is predictive of reduced survival in women with breast cancer, and high PAPP-A levels are found in malignant ascites surrounding ovarian tumors and associates with increased IGF activity. In obese subjects, serum IGF-2 is elevated by

We have strong reasons to believe that PAPP-A plays a hitherto unrecognized role as IGF-2 activator, stimulating IGF-2 signalling through especially the insulin receptor A (IR-A).

Project description

The postdoc will be attached to projects that aim to investigate the IGF system in patients with breast cancer.

There is a growing appreciation for the link between breast cancer and obesity. Mammary adipose tissue is found adjacent to cancer cells and secretes various factors that promote tumor development. A potential key player in this adipocyte-cancer cell crosstalk is PAPP-A, and the goals of the current projects are to understand how PAPP-A, IGF-2 and the IR-A promote tumor progression.

The specific project aims:

1) To develop cell models of breast cancer cells, adipocytes, and mammary adipose tissue to mimic an obesity-associated state and study PAPP-A, IGF-2 and IR-A activities and subsequent growth and migratory capabilities of breast cancer cells. Mammary cancer and adipose tissue will be collected from breast cancer patients at OUH following ethical approval.

2) To assess the expression of PAPP-A and IGF-2 in peritumoral adipose tissue from primary breast cancer patients in relation to subtype and prognosis using a population-based cohort from our biobank.

3) To investigate if PAPP-A and IGFBP-2 are prognostic biomarkers of breast cancer. The study is a nested case-control study of approximately 1500 breast cancer patients, of which 300 patients have type 2 diabetes and 700 are obese.

The projects are funded by the Danish Cancer Society and the Novo Nordisk Foundation. The studies have been conceived in close collaboration with Signe Borgquist, professor in oncology at Aarhus University, and Ann Rosendahl, associate professor at Oncology and Pathology at Lund University, Sweden.

Expectations of qualifications

We expect you to be a highly motivated, outgoing and ambitious researcher with a PhD within endocrinology or cancer research, preferentially with knowledge of the IGF system. In addition to standard laboratory techniques, the successful candidate will further be expected to have:

  • Experience with molecular biology and cell biology techniques, including experience with culture and handling of cell lines.
  • Experience with development and validation of quantitative immunoassays for determination of biomarkers.
  • Knowledge of epidemiologic research methodology and statistical
  • Strong communication and collaborative skills and an interest in working in an interdisciplinary environment.

Potential applicants must be postdoc-qualified in accordance with Ministerial Order on Job Structure for Academic Staff at Universities.

Place of employment

You will refer to postdoc Rikke Hjortebjerg and Professor Jan Frystyk.

The successful candidate will be employed at the Department of Endocrinology M, Odense University Hospital (OUH). The daily work is conducted at KMEB, J.B. Winsløws Vej 25. However, you are expected to visit Lund University, Sweden, for short periods of time to learn techniques related to cell culture studies.

You will interact and collaborate closely with other researchers at KMEB, headed by Moustapha Kassem. The lab constitutes an international, highly social, and collaborative research environment spanning a range of biomedical disciplines. Thus, fluency in spoken and written English and excellent communication abilities are a prerequisite.

You can read more about the lab at .

The employment as postdoc is 37 working hours (full time employment) and a fixed-term position for 2½ years, however with possibility of ½ year extension.


For further information please contact postdoc Rikke Hjortebjerg ([email protected]) or Professor Jan Frystyk ([email protected]).

Conditions of employment

The Recruitment/Hiring takes place in accordance with the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and the Central Organisation of the Academics.

Assessment of applicant will be done in accordance with the current/applicable university recruitment order. Applicants will be assessed by an expert committee, and applicant will be informed of their assessment by the university.

Applications – including the required attachments – must be sent electronically via the below-mentioned link “Apply online”. Only online applications will be accepted and assessed. Attached files must be Adobe PDF or Word format. Each field in the application form can contain up to max. 10 MB.

Only applications written in English will be accepted for evaluation.

The application must include (as PDF- or docx-files):

  • A cover letter
  • A CV
  • Copies of certificates/diplomas including evidence of acquisition of a PhD degree or equivalent
  • A complete and numbered list of publications
  • The 3 scientific, peer-reviewed publications that the applicant wishes to be included in the assessment of his or her scientific qualifications. (Please note that one PDF or docx file must be attached for each publication).
  • A research plan
  • A teaching portfolio
  • An explanation of other qualifications relevant to the position.

Incomplete applications will not be assessed.

Applications may be shortlisted.

Gender equality, health, safety and emergency management are given high priority at SDU and the Department of Clinical Research.

The University wishes our staff to reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.

Living and Working in Denmark

Foreign applicants will be offered Danish language training as part of the employment. The International Staff Office (ISO) at SDU provides a variety of services for new employees, guests and people who consider applying for a job at the University of Southern Denmark. Among other things, the staff answers questions concerning salary, taxation, housing and accompanying family. For further information on what it is like working at SDU, please read “10 good reasons why you should choose SDU”. Additional information about working in Denmark can be found at Work in Denmark.

Expected salary:

Location: Danmark

Job date: Sun, 07 Nov 2021 23:49:49 GMT

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