Establishment and Validation of a Cellular Assay for Transfection Studies hos Evaxion Biotech

Establishment and Validation of a Cellular Assay for Mode of Action Studies of a Clinically Used Adjuvant for Neoantigen-Transfection

Master Thesis Project within Personalised Cancer Vaccination at Evaxion Biotech A/S, Hørsholm and COBIS

Evaxion Biotech A/S is using AI to predict antigens from sequence information for, i.a., personalised cancer vaccines and infectious diseases. We’re an international team of scientists, pushing the boundaries of AI-applications to revolutionise the way we use and develop drugs and have several projects in clinical phase. We’re doing our research in a new facility within the DTU Science Park in Hørsholm and at COBIS in Copenhagen.

Evaxion is looking for a curious and dedicated master student with an interest to translate fundamental research into clinical applications in the emerging and rapidly advancing field of personalized cancer neoantigen therapy.


Immunotherapy based on neoantigens from individual cancer patients is a novel and promising paradigm in cancer therapy. Evaxion has developed a unique AI-based platform, PIONEER, for the prediction of neoantigens from individual cancer biopsies and is currently conducting clinical studies with this concept. Neoantigens are encoded in a DNA plasmid and delivered to the patient by i.m. injection, together with a polymer. We wish to further understand the mechanism-of-action of this polymer and optimise the clinical formulation, by using a cellular assay for the simultaneous determination of toxicity and transfection efficiency of the plasmid/polymer combination.

Objectives and Methods:

  1. Establishment and validation of a cellular assay for the determination of toxicity and transfection efficiency
  2. Investigate the effects of various ratios and concentrations of DNA/polymer on both toxicity and transfection efficiency
  3. Develop ternary mixtures containing DNA/polymer A/polymer B to reduce toxicity and enhance transfection efficiency


  1. Biophysical studies of DNA/polymer-interactions and the complex morphology
  2. In vitro/in vivo correlation studies in mice

You will be anchored in a team of competent and dedicated scientists, covering all the aspects and phases of early-phase drug discovery and development, as we’re preparing for first human dose with a novel plasmid design. As the project progresses, you will see how your research and results are directly impacting our thinking and how they help us progress. Furthermore, you can expect to gain a thorough understanding of the experimental and quality steps necessary to bring research to patients.

What you can expect to learn:

  • Plan, setup and document complex laboratory experiments
  • Hands-on experience with cell culture
  • Hands-on experience with biochemical cell assays
  • Spectrophotometry
  • Graphical and numerical presentation of complex data
  • Scientific writing
  • Interact with an international and diverse team of researchers
  • Get an insight into cancer immunotherapy, from the preclinical to the clinical stages
  • Depending on your interests and skills, you can use more advanced biophysical techniques (DLS, TEM, electrophoresis) or test your findings in mice

For further information:

Holger Strauss

+45 53 55 21 12

Dr Neergaards vej 5F, 2970 Hørsholm

Please send your CV, motivation letter and grade transkripts through this link:

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