PhD Position in Cellular Biophysics

Karolinska Institute

Doctoral (PhD) student position in Cellular Biophysics - Cell Signalling

Karolinska Institutet, Department of Women´s and Children’s Health

Do you want to contribute to top quality medical research?

To be a doctoral student means to devote oneself to a research project under supervision of experienced researchers and following an individual study plan. For a doctoral degree, the equivalent of four years of full-time doctoral education is required.

The research group

Cell Signalling, Immunity and Nanoimaging (CSI:Nano) Lab located in SciLifeLab and Karolinska Institute is looking for a motivated PhD student that will work on biophysical principles underlying cell signalling. The principal supervisor will be Dr Erdinc Sezgin and co-supervisors will be Dr Ilaria Testa (KTH, SciLifeLab), Dr Hjalmar Brismar (KI, KTH, SciLifeLab) and Dr Micheal Dustin (Oxford).

CSI:Nano Lab provides its members opportunity to develop and/or apply state-of-the-art imaging methodologies to solve biological mysteries. Necessary training on the advanced bioimaging technologies will be given to the students. CSI:Nano Lab gives the candidates opportunity to become fully independent researchers in interdisciplinary science within years.

Within the Department of Clinical Pediatrics we are currently offering two PhD positions, one in the CSI:Nano Lab and one in The Pediatric Cell and Molecular Biology Lab both located in SciLifeLab. For information on the second position.

Karolinska Institute and SciLifeLab offer a creative and inspiring environment full of expertise and curiosity. SciLifeLab is an institution for the advancement of molecular biosciences in Sweden. It leverages the unique strengths of individual researchers across Sweden into a focused resource for the life science community. SciLifeLab provides access for thousands of researchers to the cutting-edge instrumentation and deep scientific expertise necessary to be internationally competitive in bioscience research. The facilities and expertise at SciLifeLab create a unique environment for carrying out health and environmental research at the highest level.

The PhD student will be based at SciLifeLab Solna ( where the working atmosphere is international with English as the working language.

The doctoral student project and the duties of the doctoral student

The goal of the PhD project is to develop advanced super-resolution techniques to visualize the role of nanoscale dynamic transient molecular interactions during cell signalling. Specific focus will be lipid-lipid and lipid-sugar interactions in the membrane of cells.  The student will be involved in developing technologies and biological application of these technique. 

Planned scientific learning outcomes of the project will be significant expertise in membrane biology, biophysics, immunology and state-of-the-art super-resolution imaging. We will ensure this with weekly meetings, journal clubs where the student is encouraged to read and present scientific papers and attendance to international conferences where the student is encouraged to present her/his work. The student will be provided with the necessary supervision to gain expertise in writing, science communication and teaching.

What do we offer?

A creative and inspiring environment full of expertise and curiosity. Karolinska Institutet is one of the world's leading medical universities. Our vision is to pursue the development of knowledge about life and to promote a better health for all. At Karolinska Institutet, we conduct successful medical research and hold the largest range of medical education in Sweden. As a doctoral student you are offered an individual research project, a well-educated supervisor, a vast range of elective courses and the opportunity to work in a leading research group. Karolinska Institutet collaborates with prominent universities from all around the world, which ensures opportunities for international exchanges. You will be employed on a doctoral studentship which means that you receive a contractual salary. Employees also have access to our modern gym for free and receive reimbursements for medical care.

Eligibility requirements for doctoral education

In order to participate in the selection for a doctoral position, you must meet the following general (A) and specific (B) eligibility requirements at latest by the application deadline.

It is your responsibility to certify eligibility by following the instructions on the web page Entry requirements (eligibility) for doctoral education.

A) General eligibility requirement
You meet the general eligibility requirement for doctoral/third-cycle/PhD education if you:

  1. have been awarded a second-cycle/advanced/master qualification (i.e. master degree) or
  2. have satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits of which at least 60 credits were awarded in the advanced/second-cycle/master level, or
  3. have acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad.*

Follow the instructions on the web page Entry requirements (eligibility) for doctoral education.

*If you claim equivalent knowledge, follow the instructions on the web page Assessing equivalent knowledge for general eligibility for doctoral education.

B) Specific eligibility requirement

You meet the specific eligibility requirement for doctoral/third-cycle/PhD education if you:

- Show proficiency in English equivalent to the course English B/English 6 at Swedish upper secondary school.

Follow the instructions on the web page English language requirements for doctoral education.

Verification of your documents
Karolinska Institutet checks the authenticity of your documents. Karolinska Institutet reserves the right to revoke admission if supporting documents are discovered to be fraudulent. Submission of false documents is a violation of Swedish law and is considered grounds for legal action.

Skills and personal qualities

Qualified to be employed as a PhD student is one who has obtained a MSc or has equivalent scientific competence. Applicants who have not completed a MSc at the end of the application period may also apply, provided that all requirements for a completed degree are met before the (intended) date of employment. This must be substantiated by the applicant's current university.

Necessary skills and personal qualities

  • BSc in life or natural sciences (biology, molecular biology, physics, chemistry or similar)
  • MSc in biophysics or related field
  • Experience in bioimaging technologies (single molecule techniques, super resolution etc.)
  • Experience in membrane biology
  • Proficiency in basic cell and molecular biology techniques
  • Strong interest in cell biology and immunity
  • Good communication skills, team work abilities, willingness to help PhD/master students
  • Willingness to contribute to open and transparent science

Desirable skills and personal qualities

  • Expertise in scientific programming (e.g. Phyton) is an advantage but not essential

Terms and conditions

The doctoral student will be employed on a doctoral studentship maximum 4 years full-time.

Application process

Submit your application and supporting documents through the Varbi recruitment system. Use the button in the top right corner and follow the instructions.

Your application should contain the following documents. We prefer that your application is written in English, but you can also apply in Swedish:

- A personal letter and a curriculum vitae 
- Degree projects and previous publications, if any 
- Any other documentation showing the desirable skills and personal qualities described above 
- Documents certifying your general eligibility (see A above)
- Documents certifying your specific eligibility (see B above)


A selection will be made among eligible applicants on the basis of the ability to benefit from doctoral education. The qualifications of the applicants will be evaluated on an overall basis.

Karolinska Institutet uses the following bases of assessment:

- Documented subject knowledge of relevance to the area of research
- Analytical skill
- Other documented knowledge or experience that may be relevant to doctoral studies in the subject.

All applicants will be informed when the recruitment is completed.

Application Deadline: 10 December 2020

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Type of employment PhD placement
Contract type Full time
First day of employment According to agreement
Salary Monthly salary
Reference number STÖD 2-4817/2020
Karin Björström, 08-524 823 67
Erdinc Sezgin,
Union representative
Henry Wölling, SEKO,
Bodil Moberg , OFR, 08-524 836 01
John Inge Johnsen , SACO,
Published 13.Nov.2020
Last application date 06.Jan.2021 11:59 PM CET