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Research project to evaluate an in vitro cell-free method to predict adverse lung effects for risk assessment

Do you have a solid background in risk assessment using in vitro techniques? Do you like method development and new challenges? Do you want do research with impact on regulation? The National Research Centre for the Working Environment in collaboration with Unilever offers an 18-month position as postdoc in the area of risk assessment and the Chemical Working Environment.


We endeavor to ensure a healthy, dynamic labor market

The Danish National Research Centre for the Working Environment (NFA) is a national laboratory under the Danish Ministry of Employment. Our general mission is to conduct strategic applied research on present and emerging topics of relevance for the Danish working environment. As part of our mission, we contribute to academic education and further training as well as implementation of our research results. We publish our research results in reputable journals and convey research-based knowledge to workplaces, authorities, the two sides of industry as well as health and safety consultants. This is how we contribute to the improvement of the working environment in Denmark.

For further information about us, visit www.nfa.dk


Safety and Environmental Assurance Centre (SEAC) at Unilever

The role of the Safety and Environmental Assurance Centre (SEAC) is to assure the safety and environmental sustainability of Unilever products, and the processes used to manufacture them. SEAC is a team of industry-leading safety and environmental sustainability scientists. We use a wide range of non-animal approaches to evaluate the safety of our products for consumers, our workers and the environment. We also collaborate with more than 40 other scientific groups across the world to develop new, non-animal tools and approaches for assuring the safety of Unilever’s ingredients. In doing so, we use cutting-edge research, including computer modelling, exposure science and mechanistic chemistry. We regularly publish and present our research advances and make them available through a unique website, www.TT21C.org, which we launched in 2013.

The National Research Centre for the Working Environment and Unilever are collaborating in this project and looking for a motivated researcher to predict adverse lung effects using an in vitro method, in the context of risk assessment. An in vitro method called the lung surfactant bioassay has recently been developed and optimised to predict adverse lung effects of inhaled compounds. Lung surfactant is the first entity that inhaled compounds will encounter when they reach the deepest part of the lungs. The lung surfactant function is crucial to ensure breathing in humans. The suitability of the method to predict immediate adverse lung effects has already been shown for a range of chemicals and particles. In this project, the method will be further optimised and evaluated for its use for risk assessment.

A set of compounds will be selected in accordance with Unilever’s chemical space of interest and tested in the lung surfactant bioassay in vitro. Aerosol measurements will be performed with the help of an experienced aerosol physicist to determine the particle size distribution and the aerosol concentration. Exposure ranges will be defined in accordance with consumer habits (training for using different exposure models is possible if needed). The results of this project will be evaluated for inhalation risk assessment at Unilever. Further, the set of compounds can be extended to allow verification of initial results, the results could be compared to other in vitro systems (cell cultures), or the amount of test compound in the system could be further analysed (using mass spectrometry for example). The results from the project will be collected in a report intended for publication as a peer-reviewed research article.

Main tasks in the project:

  • Coordinate communication between NFA and Unilever
  • Review of literature to choose most relevant compounds
  • Test compounds in the in vitro method
  • Evaluate fit of results into risk assessment framework
  • Report results as a scientific paper


Be our new colleague

We expect that you:

  • You have a PhD degree in pharmaceutical sciences, biology, chemistry, toxicology or equivalent.
  • Experience in working in a laboratory.
  • You are motivated, meticulous, and independent.
  • You have a good knowledge of oral and written English.

It will be an advantage if you have experience with in vitro risk assessment.


We identify solutions together

As part of the Ministry of Employment, the National Research Centre for the Working Environment contributes to the creation of a framework for a healthy working environment. It is our duty to work together and find the best solutions to reach the objective. Therefore, we share our knowledge, and we encourage and challenge each other’s ideas so that they are fine-tuned before they become shared solutions.

You will be working with professional, skilled and dedicated colleagues, in a fast-paced and challenging environment. New issues appear every day, and you must be prepared to accept assignments on the fly and bring every aspect of your professional experience into play. In return, you will have an excellent opportunity to make a positive difference to people’s working lives.


Salary and employment terms

The job is an 18-month, full-time position. The anticipated start date is April 1st, 2020 or as soon as possible thereafter.

You will be employed as Postdoc researcher according to the collective agreement for academic staff between the Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations (AC), and according to the position structure for scientific staff employed at government research institutions.


Questions and application

Do you have additional questions about the job? If so, please contact senior researcher Jorid B. Sørli on +45 39 16 53 14 (jbs@nfa.dk) or director of research coordination Lars Andrup on +45 39 16 52 23.

If you have any questions about salary or employment terms, you’re welcome to contact HR Partner Rikke Dahl Ledertoug from the Ministry of Employment’s HR department on +45 22 50 34 87.

All interested applicants, regardless of age, gender, disability, religion or ethnicity, are encouraged to apply for the position.

Send your job application, CV with list of publications, and examination certificates by Sunday 7th of February 2020.

We expect to have the interviews in February.


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