Membrane protein chemistry and biophysics: Development of the native nanodisc methodology hos Biologisk Institut - Københavns Universitet


Membrane proteins are vital for many cellular processes such as signaling and transport across the membrane, processes which are central for in e.g., taste, immunology, and neuronal signaling. In fact, more than half of drug targets are membrane proteins. However, purification and characterization of membrane proteins is a major research bottleneck, as it can be difficult to preserve their structural and functional integrity outside the membrane. 


In this project you will extract membrane proteins with amphipathic copolymers into so-called “native nanodiscs”, preserving lipids and other cofactors associated with the membrane protein, avoiding detergents, and allowing a shorter total preparation time. You will optimize purification and do further biophysical characterization on the targets and copolymers that work particularly well, with the goal of structural and functional characterization by single particle cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) and activity assays, to elucidate how a structure of membrane proteins in native lipids compares with that in detergent.


Depending on the project level and duration, projects will entail:

  • Cell transfection or transduction with DNA or baculovirus particles (HEK293)
  • Protein expression (E. coli or HEK293)
  • Protein purification (affinity and size-exclusion chromatography)
  • Mammalian cell culture (HEK293)
  • Biochemical assays (in vitro) and analysis
  • Negative stain electron microscopy
  • Cryo-electron microscopy


We offer you great opportunities for personal and professional development, and an exciting and stimulating research project set in an inclusive, creative, fun, and international environment. We have access to a wide selection of state-of-the-art equipment for cellular, biochemical, and biophysical protein characterization.

Read more on our website:


We are looking for motivated candidates with an interest in biochemistry, structural biology, and/or pharmacology to join our team.

The project can be tailored to the BSc and MSc level and to a 3–6-month ERASMUS exchange.

Please state why you are interested in joining the lab, including how it fits into your career and educational goals. Please include a list of your completed courses.

Contact/Kontakt: Henriette E. Autzen,

Location/Sted: Section for Biomolecular Sciences, Linderstrøm-Lang Centre for

Protein Science / Sektion for Biomolekylære Videnskaber

Biocenter, Ole Maaløes Vej 5, 2200 København N

Keywords: Molekylærbiologi, molecular biology, kloning, cloning, proteinkemi, protein chemistry, biokemi, biochemistry, proteiner, proteins, membrane protein, membranprotein, structural biology, strukturbiologi, pharmacology, farmakologi, ERASMUS

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