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PhD fellowship in BonePainIII: Identifying mechanisms and novel treatments of Bone Pain

AstraZeneca UK

Location: Cambridgeshire

Job Type: Full time


PhD fellowship in BonePainIII: Identifying mechanisms and novel treatments of Bone Pain

A 3-year PhD Fellowship is available with the Neuroscience team at AstraZeneca, in collaboration with the Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology (Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences) at the University of Copenhagen (UCPH), with a start date of 2nd September ideally.

The Fellowship is part of the European Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions (MSCA) Doctoral Network BonePainIII (

About BonePain III: Identifying mechanisms and novel treatments of bone pain – closing the gap to the clinic.

BonePainIII is a European Doctoral Network to promote frontline research, innovation and education within bone pain. Millions in Europe and beyond suffer from bone pain, which is a debilitating complication of many musculoskeletal disorders such as arthritis and cancer in the bone. The BonePainIII network has participants from 6 European countries and encompasses 6 academic groups and 5 industry partners, all of which are committed to crafting an outstanding training program for doctoral candidates to elucidate the mechanisms of bone pain and develop new medicines.

Join an international network with supervision, mentorship and research which spans both academia and industry!

Project description

Joint pain associated with arthritis involves a complex interplay between joint cells, the immune system and nociceptors innervating the joint. Therapeutic antibodies targeting NGF, TNF and PAR2 are currently in clinical development for chronic pain and inhibiting these targets has been shown to be analgesic in pre-clinical models of joint pain. Expression of these targets is not limited to joint nociceptors but is much broader, extending to joint cells and immune cells which infiltrate the joint during inflammation. Indeed, we have previously shown that NGF and TNF inhibitors have analgesic synergy in vivo but the mechanisms by which this occurs are unclear and believed not to be cell autonomous. We will investigate the cellular crosstalk between joint cells, nociceptors and the immune system using human cellular models to further our understanding of the mechanism of action of clinical stage analgesics.

This position is based at AstraZeneca (Cambridge, UK at the DISC building) and registered as a graduate student at the Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology (Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences) at UCPH. This role is lab based 5 days a week.

For further information on our Neuroscience team you can visit:

Job description

Your key tasks will be:

  • Carrying through an independent research project under supervision.
  • Participating in the BonePainIII training and network activities.
  • Completing PhD courses or other equivalent education corresponding to approximately 30 ECTS points (at UCPH).
  • Conducting a secondment at an external research laboratory within the BonePainIII network.
  • Participating in national or international conferences and scientific meetings.
  • Writing scientific articles and a PhD thesis on the grounds of your project.

Essential Criteria

Applicants must have qualifications equivalent to a master’s degree related to the subject area of the project (at the time of employment). Please note that your master’s degree must be equivalent to a Danish master’s degree (two years).

We encourage you to read more in the assessment database:

We might ask you to acquire an assessment of your education performed by the Ministry of Higher Education and Science.

Applicants will also be required to meet the MSCA – Doctoral networks eligibility criterion:

Mobility rule: applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc) in the United Kingdom for more than 12 months in the 36 months immediately before their date of recruitment. Compulsory national service, short stays such as holidays, and time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention are not taken into account.

You will only be considered for the position if you fulfil the mobility rule.

Application process

To apply please including the following documents in PDF format.

  • Personal statement (maximum 1 page)
  • CV including education, experience, language, and other relevant skills
  • Certified copy of original Master of Science certificate and transcript of records in the original language and an authorized English translation if issued in any other language. If not completed, a certified/signed copy of a recent transcript of records or a written statement from the institution or supervisor will be accepted. Applicants with a Master’s from abroad should also enclose a short description of the grading scale used.
  • Publication list (if any)
  • References and letters of recommendations (if possible)

We welcome your application by the 24th May 2024!

Terms of employment

The average weekly working hours are 36.5 hours per week.

The position is a fixed term position limited to a period of 3 years and is to commence 2nd September 2024 or as soon as possible hereafter.

The employment is conditional upon the applicant’s successful enrolment as a PhD student at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, UCPH. This requires submission and acceptance of an application for the specific project.

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

Salary, benefits and other terms of employment are in accordance with the requirements from the UKRI and the MSCA programme.

Date Posted


Closing Date

24-May-2024Our mission is to build an inclusive and equitable environment. We want people to feel they belong at AstraZeneca and Alexion, starting with our recruitment process. We welcome and consider applications from all qualified candidates, regardless of characteristics. We offer reasonable adjustments/accommodations to help all candidates to perform at their best. If you have a need for any adjustments/accommodations, please complete the section in the application form.
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