PhD fellowship: Extracellular vesicles in host-parasite interaction

A 3-year PhD fellowship is available on the role of extracellular vesicles in host-parasite interaction. The project is supervised by Professor Peter Nejsum, Skejby Hospital, Department of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University, Denmark.

Project summary
Parasitic worms have turned into true masters of host manipulation, as they can dampen inflammation to optimize their own survival in tissues, but very little is known about the specific mechanisms by which they do so. Excretory-secretory antigens from parasitic worms are important in this context but a few recent studies have indicated that parasite extracellular vesicles (EVs) are crucial for host-parasite communication. Deciphering of this communication opens up for a new fundamental understanding of host-parasite interaction and thereby paves the way for novel drug targets and vaccines.

The aim of the project is to provide fundamental and novel insight into how parasites manipulate an aggressive immune system in order survive within their host. To do so the role of EVs in host-parasite  communication will be investigated using in vitro and in vivo studies. EVs will be isolated, identified and characterized. Their content will be analysed using proteomics and next generation sequencing. In vitro (mainly) and in vivo studies in lab animals will be conducted to functional test the role of EVs in the host-parasite interaction. There will be lots of laboratory work and several different techniques will be applied, including  a number of immunological assays, flow cytometry,  next generation sequencing of smallRNA, bioinformatic analysis and work with animal models.

I am therefore looking for highly skilled candidate that are eager to learn, ready to push your own limits, with a positive attitude and have a strong desire to make fundamental discoveries within science.

International travel to, and stays at collaborating laboratories will be required. This also includes (in vivo work) work with experimental infections in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The PhD programme includes PhD courses (in total app. ½ year), writing scientific articles and the PhD thesis, teach and disseminate your research, active participation in laboratory meetings as well scientific meetings ect. Further details on the PhD programme can be found here:

This 3-year PhD is a part of the project “Intercepting worm communication” (2016-20) funded by The Danish Council for Independent Research and includes collaborators in Denmark, United Kingdom and Australia.

Key criteria for the assessment of candidates
The candidate should have:

  • A relevant MSc or BSc (hons) degree in the fields of medicine, veterinary medicine, animal science, biology, biotechnology, or other related biological field
  • Fluency in written and spoken English

Qualification requirements
Applicants with the following professional and personal qualifications will be highly advantaged: 

  • Documented laboratory work with extracellular vesicles and/or immunology and/or parasitology (helminthology), including published work
  • Experience with immune cells, ELISA, flow cytometry
  • Experience with next generation sequencing of smallRNAs and bioinformatics 
  • Experience with or interest in working with experimental animals
  • Postgraduate professional experience
  • Rich in initiative and a strong motivation for research
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Well-developed collaborative skills and a team player 

Main supervisor is professor mso Peter Nejsum, PhD.

The candidate cannot be employed before the project and candidate has been approved at the PhD school at The Graduate School of Health, Aarhus University, which has application deadline February 15, 2017 Expected starting date will be May 1, 2017.

Further information regarding the fellowship can be obtained by contacting Peter Nejsum at

Applications must contain the applicant’s CV, a motivation letter (cover letter), list of publications, diploma and transcripts of records, and at least one letter of support/1-3 professional referees, and should be mailed to Peter Nejsum at, no later than January 15, 2017.

Interviews will be held before the end of January 2017.