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. Malmö University is organized into five faculties: Faculty of Health and Society, Culture and Society, Education and Society, Faculty of Odontology and Technology and Society. 

The Department of Biomedical Science, Faculty of Health and Society, offers a programme leading to a professional qualification, Biomedical Scientist (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 the theoretical and practical understanding of the complex subject matter. Drawing on the balance between pure and applied research, the Department has been successful in attracting funding from regional, national, and international research funding bodies. 

The research at the faculty is also linked to the research center Biofilms - Research Center for Biointerfaces, which combines biomedical science with clinical and translational research in medical, dental, food and environmental application areas in close collaboration with regional industry.

About the position
The research activities will be conducted in a network of academic, industrial, and clinical partners within a newly funded project entitled Biobarriers - Health, Disorders and Healing. The general vision of the research project is to improve health and healing of biological barriers by modernizing clinical treatments and products based on molecular level knowledge. In particular, the aim of the open position is to investigate how knowledge of molecular and structural characteristics of skin, manipulated by formulations, can be translated into clinical treatments and industrial products for maintaining skin health and preventing deterioration and breaking of the skin barrier.

The outermost layer of the skin organ is called the stratum corneum (SC) and is responsible for the skin barrier, which effectively restricts both inward and outward diffusion of most molecules and thus upholds the water balance and protects us from harmful substances entering the body. The SC is normally exposed to dry and cold climate of the external environment. Therefore, it is perhaps not surprising that the natural moisturizing factor (NMF) is produced spontaneously in the skin barrier. These molecules are known to be beneficial for dry skin and certain skin diseases, such as winter xerosis and atopic dermatitis. We have previously shown that addition of this kind of molecules to the skin alters the molecular mobility of the SC lipid and protein components by retaining the dynamical properties associated with a more hydrated SC membrane at dehydrating conditions. Thus, by retaining the fluidity of the SC components on a molecular level, at reduced hydration conditions, NMF molecules can potentially act to maintain a healthy, soft, and pliable skin barrier.

This hypothesis will be investigated in more detail within this research project by investigating a selection of scientifically and commercially relevant excipients and/or active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). The main goal is to clarify the relationship between:

1. the permeability behavior of topically applied excipients/APIs at specified concentrations and characterization of their concentrations in the SC and the basal layer where viable keratinocytes reside,
2. the effect of excipients/APIs on the molecular properties of the SC components (e.g. molecular mobility and structural arrangements of keratin filaments and extracellular lipids), and
3. the effect of excipients/APIs at relevant concentrations (as determined from permeability studies) on cultured keratinocytes.

This relationship is key for understanding what kind of mechanisms that are important for maintaining a healthy skin organ and how to avoid factors and events leading to a defective barrier. With increased understanding of this relationship, it will be possible to explore the beneficial effects of excipients and/or APIs in a scientifically robust manner.

Notably, the work is expected to include both in vitro and in vivo methodology where pig skin is used as in vitro model for human skin, while examination of human skin in vivo is conducted on healthy or diseased human subjects after granted ethical permission; documented writing and approval of ethical permissions is therefore a valued benefit for the applicant. Further, considering that the project requires collaboration between academic, industrial, and clinical partners, it is expected that the applicant actively communicates and collaborate within this context; documented project management and leadership abilities are therefore valued.

Apart from carrying out research within these areas the applicant is expected to take responsibility for the maintenance of the instruments involved and to be active by supervising graduate and postgraduate students and fellow scientists in the techniques and participate in teaching at graduate and postgraduate levels. In addition, the applicant will be expected to take part in applications for external funding to support research activities. 

A postdoc is primarily employed to conduct research. They have completed a doctoral degree or a foreign degree considered on par with a doctoral degree. This is primarily relevant to people who have completed their doctoral degree no less than three years before the application period for the position of postdoc has expired.

Specific requirements
Candidates must hold a PhD in chemistry, chemical engineering, biophysics or a similar field.

Highly valued requirements
The ideal candidate holds a Master's degree in chemistry, biochemistry or biophysics and has completed a doctoral education focusing on the skin barrier and/or topical or transdermal drug delivery.

Hands-on experience in some of the following methods is highly valued:

  • in vitro permeability studies with Franz cells or similar,
  • in vivo characterization of the skin barrier (e.g. TEWL, corneometry, tape-stripping, electrochemical measurements, etc.),
  • solution or solid-state NMR,
  • small- and wide-angle X-ray diffraction/scattering,
  • HPLC with spectrophotometry and/or mass spectroscopy detection.

 Assessment criteria

  • The quality and focus of the doctoral thesis
  • Research activities within fields relevant to the appointment in question
  • Documented ability to independently conduct research of sufficient standard
  • Reflective presentation of their own pedagogical outlook and practices
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate and collaborate with actors in other parts of society with a connection to education and research

For more information contact Sebastian Björklund, +46 (0)40 6657891, Sebastian.Bjorklund@mau.se

You apply through Malmo Universities' recruitment system by clicking the button "apply/ansok". It is your own responsibility that your application is complete with all required documentation according to the adverted position.

Please submit your application no later than March 1, 2020.
The candidate selected for this position must be able to meet eligibility requirements to work in Sweden at  the start of the appointment.

The application should contain the following: 

1. Cover letter with a motivation for applying to this position
2. A brief summary of scientific, teaching, and other qualifications relevant to the position
3. Attested copies of certificates
4. Curriculum Vitae (CV)
5. List of scientific publications and developed teaching materials
6. Copy of doctoral dissertation or equivalent.
7. Copies of three of your most relevant scientific publications
8. At least two references with names, titles/positions, relation to you, and contact information.

Form of employment and starting date
At least one-year position, starting as soon as possible. At Malmö University, individual salary negotiations apply. Full-time 

Starting date 
as soon as possible

Trade union representatives
SACO-S: Ann-Mari Campbell, ann-mari.campbell@mau.se
Lärarförbundet: Carl-Erik Blomberg, carl-erik.blomberg@mau.se
OFR/S (ST): Naser Eftekharian, naser.eftekharian@mau.se

Welcome with your application!