PhD fellowship in Drug Delivery ILnext: Unravelling the potential of ionic liquids as next generation cutaneous drug delivery systems

Copenhagen University
May 26, 2024
Offerd Salary:Negotiation
Working address:N/A
Contract Type:fixed-term position
Working Time:Negotigation
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at Department of Pharmacy

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

University of Copenhagen

We are offering a three-year interdisciplinary PhD fellowship in cutaneous drug delivery, starting on September 1st, 2024, or as soon as possible thereafter. The project will be conducted within the LEO Foundation Center for Cutaneous Drug Delivery, which combines expertise in physical chemistry, pharmaceutics, and molecular biology to advance research and develop innovative solutions in cutaneous drug delivery for both small and large molecules.

The successful applicant will have the opportunity to engage in cross- disciplinary research alongside other members of the Center, as well as undertake a potential research visit at Harvard University, Boston, USA.

Project description

Overcoming the skin barrier remains a persistent challenge, despite decades of research. The outermost layer of the skin, known as the stratum corneum (SC), serves as the primary barrier through a densely packed multilayer of corneocytes surrounded by lipids. However, transdermal drug delivery presents a significant opportunity in medical practice, offering not only localized treatment but also serving as an attractive alternative to oral delivery and injectables due to its ease of administration and patient compliance.

To fully harness the potential of cutaneous drug delivery, it is essential to comprehend the physicochemical properties of the applied drug delivery systems (DDS), the skin barrier, and the interfacial interaction between them, including their biological implications. Despite ongoing research, a substantial knowledge gap persists regarding how the physicochemical properties of the skin correlate with cutaneous drug delivery and specific DDSs.

Recent studies have highlighted the potential of ionic liquids (ILs) to enhance skin permeability. This potential is attributed to the ionic constituents and composition of ILs, which induce lipid extraction and/or fluidization of the stratum corneum, thereby facilitating transdermal delivery. In this PhD project, we aim to further explore the capabilities of ILs as a cutaneous delivery strategy by utilizing biophysical tools to elucidate the link between their solution structure and barrier interaction. Our objective is to gain insights into how the skin permeability of ILs is influenced by their structural composition and drug load.

The successful candidate will become a member of the LEO Foundation Center for Cutaneous Drug Delivery. This project focuses on: (i) analyzing the self- assembled structural properties of IL formulations as drug delivery carriers, (ii) evaluating the transdermal drug delivery potential and refining formulations, and (iii) conducting biological immunomodulatory testing. This project is part of the ILnext initiative funded by the LEO Foundation Dr. Abildgaard grant, and the selected candidate will collaborate closely with both PhD students and postdoctoral researchers associated with the project.

Supervisors Assistant Professor Stine Rønholt, Department of Pharmacy Professor Martin Malmsten, Department of Pharmacy


September 1st 2024

Duration 3 years as a PhD student

Our department

The mission of Department of Pharmacy is to advance the pharmaceutical sciences by performing drug-related research and research-based teaching in topics including pharmaceutical technology and formulation, drug delivery, advanced drug analysis, and clinical and social pharmacy.

Information about the Department can be found at https: //

Job description Your key tasks as a PhD student at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences are:

  • Develop, optimise, and evaluate ionic liquids for transdermal drug delivery by coupling solution structure with efficiency
  • Performing research on physicochemical properties of such systems at international largescale facilities and in collaboration with international partners
  • Write scientific manuscripts on the grounds of your research results
  • Participate in Center activities
  • Participate in national and international conferences and scientific meetings
  • Carrying through an independent research project under supervision
  • Completing PhD courses or other equivalent education corresponding to approximately 30 ECTS points
  • Participating in research environments including a potential stay at Harvard University, Boston
  • Obtaining experience with teaching or other types of dissemination related to your PhD project
  • Teaching of undergraduate students in pharmaceutical sciences
  • Writing a PhD thesis on the grounds of your project
  • Key criteria for the assessment of applicants

    Applicants must have qualifications corresponding to a master's degree related to the subject area of the project, e.g. pharmaceutical sciences, biophysics, nanoscience, chemical engineering, or similar. Please note that your master's degree must be equivalent to a Danish master's degree.

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

    Other important criteria are:

  • Professional qualifications relevant to the PhD project
  • Relevant work experience
  • Previous publications
  • The grade point average achieved
  • Other professional activities
  • A curious mind-set with a strong interest in working interdisciplinary focusing on the interface between physical chemistry, biophysics, biology, and pharmaceutical sciences
  • Previous experience with scattering methods such as X-ray and neutron scattering is advantageous
  • Previous experience with ionic liquids, deep eutectic solvents, surfactant self-assemblies or related systems is preferred
  • Proficient communication skills and ability to work in teams
  • Excellent English skills, written and spoken
  • Preferred qualifications

    The ideal candidate for this project has hands-on experience with research with relevant delivery systems, particularly in physicochemical characterization of structure functionality employing state of-the-art methodologies for such studies. Methods including scattering techniques such as light scattering, small angle X-ray scattering, neutron scattering as well as dynamic and vibrational spectroscopy using large scale facilities. Moreover, knowledge of transdermal drug delivery systems and biological evaluation hereof would be preferred.

    Terms of employment

    The average weekly working hours are 37 hours per week.

    The position is a fixed-term position limited to a period of 3 years.

    The employment is conditioned upon the applicant's successful enrolment as a PhD student at the Graduate School at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen. This requires submission and acceptance of an application for the specific project to the Graduate School of Health and Medical Sciences.

    The PhD study must be completed in accordance with The Ministerial Order on the PhD programme (2013) and the Faculty's rules on achieving the degree.

    The PhD student is expected to be affiliated to the graduate programme in pharmaceutical sciences, Drug Research Academy.

    Salary, pension, and terms of employment are in accordance with the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State. Depending on seniority, the monthly salary starts at approximately 30,716 DKK/roughly 4,118 EUR (April 2024 level) plus pension.

    Application procedure

    Your application, in English, must be submitted electronically by clicking “Apply now” below and must include the following documents in PDF format:

    1. Motivated letter of application (max. one page)

    2. CV incl. education, experience, language skills and other skills relevant for the position

    3. Certified copy of original Master of Science diploma and transcript of records in the original language, including an authorized English translation if issued in other language than English or Danish. If not completed, a certified/signed copy of a recent transcript of records or a written statement from the institution or supervisor is accepted. As a prerequisite for a PhD fellowship employment, your master's degree must be equivalent to a Danish master's degree. We encourage you to read more in the assessment database: https: // assessments/assessment-database. Please note that we might ask you to obtain an assessment of your education performed by the Ministry of Higher Education and Science. Applicants with a Master´s degree from abroad should also enclose a short description of the grading scale used

    4. Publication list (if possible)

    5. Other information to consider: References and recommendations (if possible)

    The deadline for applications is Wednesday May 26nd 2024, 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 their application has been passed for assessment by an unbiased assessor.

    The assessor makes a non-prioritized assessment of the academic qualifications and experience with respect to the above-mentioned area of research, techniques, skills and other requirements listed in the advertisement.

    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.

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

    Interviews are expected to be held in week 25 and 26.

    You can read about the recruitment process at https: //


    For further information, applicants may contact the supervisor Stine Rønholt, e-mail: [email protected], phone: +45 3533 7313 or PhD coordinator Marianne W. Jørgensen, e-mail: [email protected], phone: +45 3533 6449.

    General information about PhD studies at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences is available at the Graduate School's website: https: //

    For more information on working and living in Denmark visit https:// (International staff mobility) and https: // www.

    The University of Copenhagen wish to reflect the diversity of society and encourage all qualified candidates to apply regardless of personal background.

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