PhD in Molecular regulation of the Salt-inducible Kinases in metabolic control

The University of Copenhagen is seeking a highly motivated and talented PhD fellow to commence January 1, 2024, in the Sakamoto Group at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research (CBMR), University of Copenhagen.

The PhD fellowship is part of the CBMR International PhD & Postdoc Program.

About Us

The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research’s vision is to strengthen interdisciplinary research that transforms our basic understanding of the mechanisms that underlie cardiometabolic health and disease, and to accelerate this knowledge toward new prevention and treatment strategies. We were established in 2010, and in 2017, we moved into new laboratories and offices in the Maersk Tower.

The Center has around 260 employees who work in an international, highly collaborative research environment across a range of biomedical disciplines. For more information, visit

Our Research

The overarching aim of the Sakamoto Group is to elucidate molecular mechanisms underlying cellular energy sensing and restoration of metabolic balance. We study how post-translational modifications (e.g., reversible phosphorylation) and allosteric regulation of signaling proteins/metabolic enzymes control cellular energy balance and how dysfunctions of such molecular processes lead to cardiometabolic diseases. Our goal is to identify and validate drug candidates that ameliorate energetic imbalance in cardiometabolic disorders. We take multidisciplinary approaches, collaborate with renowned national/international experts and support development of early career scientists.

Project Description

Salt-Inducible kinases (SIKs) were initially described for their role in sodium sensing, but have since been shown to regulate many physiological processes. SIKs are activated or inhibited in response to extracellular signals (e.g. hormones) that are cell surface receptor mediated, and regulate multiple targets to reprogram transcriptional and post-transcriptional processes in response. We and others have demonstrated that SIKs regulate metabolic responses (e.g. hepatic gluconeogenesis) to fasting/feeding and thus are implicated to play a key role in control of glucose homeostasis. However, the precise mechanism by which SIKs are regulated by fasting/feeding at molecular level is elusive.

The major goal of the PhD project is to investigate the molecular mechanism by which SIKs are switched-on and -off by extracellular signals such as hormones, regulate downstream targets and ultimately specific transcriptional programs metabolic processes, including gluconeogenesis. Your key tasks will be to perform in-depth biochemical analysis of SIKs in collaboration with structural biologists/proteomics expert and perform extensive cell culture work for signaling analysis and in vivo studies of gene-targeted/edited and drug-treated mice for metabolic investigations.

Principal supervisor is Professor Kei Sakamoto (

Start:  January 1, 2024

Duration: 1 year as Research Assistant followed by 3 years as PhD fellow contingent on a positive evaluation of the 1st year.


The PhD fellowship is aimed at early-career researchers with a basic science background or clinicians who aspire to a career in academic medicine.

Required qualifications:

  • Master’s degree in Biology, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Molecular Biomedicine, Cell Signaling, Physiology or related sciences Please note that your master’s degree must be equivalent to a Danish master’s degree (two years).
  • The grade point average achieved
  • Hands-on experience in performing cell culture experiments (e.g. cell line generation, drug treatments), biochemical/metabolic analysis (e.g. enzyme assays, metabolomics) and cell signaling (e.g. Western blotting, proteomics).
  • Hands-on experience in conducting in vivo preclinical studies and metabolic phenotyping.
  • Ability to manage and analyze complex data sets.
  • A curious and innovative mindset with strong self-motivation to develop new knowledge and treatment for complex cardiometabolic diseases
  • Ability to work independently and work as a team player
  • Excellent English communication skills, both written and oral


The PhD fellowships within the CBMR International PhD & Postdoc Program are open for applicants that hold a Master’s degree equivalent to a Danish master’s degree (two years). The Master’s degree has to be obtained before January 1, 2024. You are not eligible to apply for the program if you have been employed in a Research Assistant position for more than two years at the University of Copenhagen prior to the commencement of the fellowship.                                     

Terms of Employment

The employment consists of 1 year as a Research Assistant followed by 3 years as PhD fellow contingent on a positive evaluation of the 1st year. Starting date is January 1, 2024.

The employment as PhD fellow 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 formulated by the applicant. 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.

Salary, pension and terms of employment are in accordance with the agreement between the Ministry of Taxation and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State.


For further information about the position, please contact Professor Kei Sakamoto ( Questions regarding the CBMR International PhD & Postdoc Program must be directed to For questions regarding the recruitment procedure, please contact HR at

General information about PhD studies at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences is available at the Graduate School’s website.

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.

Application Procedure

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

  • Motivated letter of application (max. one page)
  • CV incl. education, experience, language skills and other skills relevant to the position
  • 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: Please note that we might ask you to obtain an assessment of your education performed by the Ministry of Higher Education and Science
  • List of publications
  • References (name and contact details of at least two references)

Application Deadline: June 18, 2023, 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 authorized 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. 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

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

The University of Copenhagen wishes to reflect the diversity of society and welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of their personal backgrounds.

Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe’s top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation – with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture – creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.


  • Application deadline- 18-06-2023
  • Employment start- 01-01-2024
  • Department/Location- Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research