Structure and dynamics of solid-sate formulations of biologics (MSCA COFUND project PRISMAS)

Malmö University
October 31, 2023
Offerd Salary:Negotiation
Working address:N/A
Contract Type:fixed-term position
Working Time:Full time
Working type:N/A
Ref info:N/A
About Malmö University

Malmö University is an innovative, urban and international institute of higher education, located in the centre of Malmö. We have around 1,800 employees and 24,000 students. Our research and education are characterised by the role we believe a university should play in an open society — to contribute to sustainability and equality in a scientifically grounded way with external partners and stakeholders. Identifying and addressing the challenges of the future are of highest priority. Our researchers and students work collaboratively to create, share and spread knowledge in order to understand, explain and develop society — both locally and globally. Malmö University welcomes applicants with diverse backgrounds and experiences. We regard gender equality and diversity as a strength and an asset.


PRISMAS - PhD Research and Innovation in Synchrotron Methods and Applications in Sweden – is a new doctoral network training the next generation of 40 leading synchrotron experts, co-funded by the Horizon Europe MSCA COFUND Programme. As a PRISMAS PhD student, you will have the chance to conduct cutting-edge research in your field, taking advantage of state of the art tools that will bring to attractive future job opportunities in academia or industry. Moreover, you are part of designing the future of synchrotron technology and instrumentation and using these to tackle some of the most significant global challenges the world faces today while acquiring interdisciplinary and intersectoral knowledge. Being part of the PRISMAS programme gives you the one-of-a-kind experience in form of a secondment at the world´s first 4th generation synchrotron, MAX IV in Lund, Sweden. Complemented with a tailored training programme, including courses to build scientific and technical competence as well as strengthen transferrable skills, PRISMAS provides you with the skills, knowledge and competence needed to successfully achieve your doctoral degree.


The Department of Biomedical Science at Faculty of Health and Society (www. offers programmes leading to a professional qualification as Prescriptionist and Biomedical laboratory scientist (both first cycle, 180 credits), and a Masters' programme, Biomedical Surface Science (second cycle, 120 credits), as well as first and second cycle freestanding courses. The Department negotiates the multifaceted intersection between biology, chemistry, medicine, physics, and technology and the interdisciplinary approach to research and education aims to further develop the theoretical and practical understanding of the complex subject matter. Drawing on the balance between basic and applied research, the Department has been successful in attracting funding from regional, national, and international research funding bodies. In addition, in the pursuit of possible applications, several industry funded contract research projects are currently running at the Department. The research at the Department is also linked to our research center “Biofilms - Research Center for Biointerfaces” (www., which combines biomedical science with clinical and translational research in medical, dental, food and environmental application areas in close collaboration with regional industry.


In this project, we will investigate the structural and dynamical changes in proteins and probiotics upon dehydration and rehydration in the presence of pharmaceutical excipients. Furthermore, we will study structural changes in semi-dry protein formulations that occur upon heating to temperatures that typically lead to protein denaturation. The scattering techniques such as SAXS and SANS they will be used to develop understanding of mechanisms of destabilization of proteins in the dry state and the effects of excipients. In addition, thermal analysis and water sorption techniques such as DSC, sorption calorimetry and humidityscanning QCM-D will be used for physico-chemical characterization of protein- carbohydratewater interactions. The project will be performed in collaboration with MAX IV (CoSAXS beamline) and NextBioForm consortium that aims at building a well-renowned, globally competitive sustainable national center for development of biologics. The Principal Investigator (PI) of this project professor Vitaly Kocherbitov works with applications of physical chemistry for studies of biomolecules such as proteins and carbohydrates. One on main topics of his works is interactions amphiphilic and biological molecules with water at low hydration levels and in solid state. More information about PI of this project can be found in this link:

https: //


Phan-Xuan, T.; Bogdanova, E.; Fureby, A.; Fransson, J.; Terry, A.; Kocherbitov, V. Hydration induced structural changes in solid state of protein: a SAXS/WAXS study on lysozyme. Mol. Pharmaceutics (2020), 17, 9, 3246–3258

Phan-Xuan, T.; Bogdanova, E.; Sommertune, J.; Fureby, A.; Fransson, J.; Terry, A.; Kocherbitov, V. The role of water in the reversibility of thermal denaturation of lysozyme in solid and liquid states. Biochem. Biophys. Reports (2021), 28, 101184.

Björklund, S.; Kocherbitov, V. Water vapor sorption-desorption hysteresis in glassy surface films of mucins investigated by humidity scanning QCM-D. J. Colloid Interface Sci. (2019), 545, 289-300.

What we offer

Malmö University is a public authority which means that employees get particular benefits, generous annual leave and an advantageous occupational pension scheme. Read more on the University website about benefits for Malmö University employees: https: //

The MSCA COFUND project PRISMAS offers you outstanding opportunities as well as a stimulating and inspiring surrounding for performing cutting-edge research. Supporting your mobility, it creates perfect conditions for strengthening your international network.

Work duties

Those appointed to doctoral studentships shall primarily devote themselves to their studies. Those appointed to doctoral studentships may, however, work to a limited extent with educational tasks, research, artistic research and administration, however, duties of this kind may not comprise more than 20 per cent of a full-time post (Chapter 5, Section 2 of the Higher Education Ordinance). In the research project part of the PhD training, the work duties include experiments with Small and Wide-Angle X-ray Scattering (SAXS/WAXS) of proteins and carbohydrate excipients at different hydration levels. We will investigate structural changes in proteins and probiotics in the presence of excipients during combined heat and moisture treatment. Moreover, we will use X-ray imaging for investigation of structure and distribution of components in solid-state formulations of proteins and probiotics. In addition, experimental work may include calorimetric, water sorption and other relevant techniques for characterization of thermodynamic properties of protein formulations. The work will be performed in a project team that involves PhD students, postdocs and supervisors, in collaboration with MAX IV laboratory and life science companies active in NextBioForm consortium. The project may also include experimental work at national and international research facilities.

The training implies a secondment of 3-12 months at MAX IV laboratory in Lund, Sweden. Additional secondments and/or short stays may be arranged in agreement with the supervisor of the research project. Moreover, you will attend international conferences, participate in periodical project meetings and training schools as well as in specialized courses at different universities to complement your knowledge. A certain amount of travelling is foreseen in relation to these activities.

Qualifications and eligibility

The PhD student will be admitted to a PhD education at Malmö University. The PhD education will run for four years on 100% working time. The research topic is "Biomedical Science" and the faculty offers a Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Medical Science. Provisions on appointment as a PhD student are laid out in the Swedish Higher Education Ordinance, Chapter 5. When making the appointment consideration must be given to the student's ability to benefit from studies. In order to be considered for admission as a doctoral student, the applicant must meet the general and specific entry requirements for third-cycle courses and study programs and be considered in other respects to have the ability required to benefit from the course or study program. The higher education institution may permit an exemption from the general entry requirements for an individual applicant if there are special grounds. Ordinance (2010: 1064).

General entry requirements:

1. a second-cycle higher education degree 2. completed course requirements of at least 240 higher education credits, of which at least 60 higher education credits are second- cycle, or having in some other way, nationally or internationally, acquired equivalent knowledge.

Specific entry requirements:

3. comprise at least 90 ECTS, of which 30 ECTS should be at second cycle level, in a subject which is of relevance for the research domain in question or which in some other way involve broadly equivalent knowledge.

To comply with the mobility rule of the MSCA COFUND programme, you are eligible if you have not resided in Sweden for more than 12 months during the period 2020-10-30 to 2023-10-31 for work or studies as main occupation. By the employment date (before 01/03/2024) you must have completed courses of at least 240 credits, of which at least 60 credits are from second-cycle courses, have been awarded a Master´s degree or have acquired largely equivalent knowledge in some other way, in Sweden or abroad. In addition to the criteria abovementioned, you must have fulfilled a second cycle education in a relevant field. You are eligible for the PRISMAS programme, if you are a doctoral candidate, i.e., are not already in possession of a doctoral degree.

Assessment criteria

The ideal candidate combines an interest in interdisciplinary research with a solid background in a relevant field of study - physical chemistry, surface chemistry, biophysics, physics or physical pharmacy. Good communication skills in English (written and spoken) as working language are necessary. Furthermore, a successful candidate should be open and able to actively contribute to an interdisciplinary and international research environment. Experience in research related to proteins, carbohydrates and other biopolymers is a merit, as well as a knowledge on SAXS/WAXS and physical chemistry of biomolecules. Hands-on experience in the following techniques and topics is a strong merit:

  • X-ray or neutron scattering
  • solid-state behavior
  • amorphous and glassy systems
  • differential scanning calorimetry (DSC)
  • isothermal calorimetry
  • water sorption techniques
  • programming languages (e.g. MATLAB)
  • Further information

    Project related questions Professor Vitaly Kocherbitov, +46(0)40 665 7946, [email protected] Questions regarding employment at Malmö university HR-specialist Heidi Francke, [email protected]


    You apply through Malmo Universities' recruitment system by clicking the button "apply/ansök". As applicant, it is your own responsibility that the application is complete with all the documentation requested in the advertised position. Your application must be submitted to Malmö University no later than 31st October, 2023. The application must include:

  • CV in Europass format
  • A two-page cover letter, justifying your interest in the position and how it matches your qualifications as well as the prioritization in case of applying to several PRISMAS positions.

  • at least one reference letter

  • an evidence of English 3 proficiency (minimum B2 level)
  • Copy of academic records including marks for all coursework with a transcript of diploma in English, and any other document to which you would like to draw attention (details of referees, letters of recommendation, etc.)

  • and any other document to which you would like to draw attention (details of referees, letters of recommendation, etc.)

  • These documents should be uploaded (pdf) in the job application portal. Exam certificates and other documents on paper should be scanned or photographed before being uploaded.

    The application will be evaluated based on scientific excellence, the adequacy of your career plan and your thesis project as well as your research experience.

    Details on the novel, unique and common selection process for all the PRISMAS positions can be found here: How to apply – MAX IV (


    Preparation of admission to postgraduate education and employment as a doctoral student take place in parallel. Only those who are or have been admitted to third- cycle courses and study programmes at a higher education may be appointed to doctoral studentships (Chapter 5, Section 3 of the Higher Education Ordinance). The doctoral studentship is a fixed-term position comprising four years of full-time studies, in accordance with the Higher Education Ordinance Chapter 5 Section 7. Malmö University is a workplace and higher education institution that is characterised by an open and inclusive approach, where gender equality and equal terms add value to our activities. Malmö University applies salary setting for doctoral students in accordance with a local agreement on salary setting for doctoral students.

    Start date

    The position is a fixed term position for four years at 100 per cent of full time and foreseen to start on 01/03/2024 or upon agreement.

    Union representatives

    SACO-S: Ann-Mari Campbell, [email protected]

    Lärarförbundet: Charlotte Paggetti, [email protected]

    ST/OFR: Aje Carlbom [email protected]

    Questions on the selection process Please contact: [email protected]

    Malmö University kindly but firmly declines direct contact with recruiting and staffing agencies, as well as job advertising sellers.

    We are looking forward to receiving your application!

    You apply no later than 31/10/2023 by clicking the apply button.

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