PhD Position in Skin and Single-cell Biology

Karolinska Institute Department of Biosciences and Nutrition

PhD position in Skin and Single-cell Biology

Do you want to contribute to improving human health?

The Department of Biosciences and Nutrition performs research and education in several areas ofmedical science including bioorganic chemistry, molecular endocrinology, cancer biology, functionalgenomics, systems biology, epigenetics, structural biochemistry, cellular virology, and nutrition. It offers an excellent international research and working environment, including around 250 scientists, students, administrative and technical personnel. The Department resides in the new biomedical research building Neo, aimed at being a creative and open environment that enables meetings, synergies, and exploration of areas of mutual interest across disciplines

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 position is funded by the Marie Sklodowska Curie Innovative Training Network (ITN-CANCERPREV program). Therefore, in order to be eligible for the position, potential candidates must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Sweden for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the recruitment, and have no more than 4 years of research experience since the degree that would qualify for admission onto the PhD programme, e.g. Masters degree.

The research group

Kasper Lab. With our research – rooted within the fields of skin and stem cell biology – we aim to answer fundamental questions about tissue homeostasis, repair and regeneration. We use modern techniques such as single-cell transcriptomics, computational biology, in vivo lineage-tracing and in situ spatial mappings, to uncover the cellular behavior and molecular signals of individual cells in skin during health, repair and cancer development (key lab references: Joost et al. Cell Systems 2016; Joost et al. Cell Reports 2018; Sun, Are et al. eLife 2020; Joost, Annusver et al. Cell Stem Cell 2020). The overall aim is to understand human skin disorders, improve early cancer detection and uncover new regenerative strategies to restore skin. 

We are a young and dynamic research team with a well-established collaborative network of experts in, for example, single-cell transcriptomics and human skin diseases ( The group is located within an environment hosting a broad repertoire of technologies including good access to high-end core facilities (single-cell sequencing, mouse facilities, FACS, microscopy etc.).

The doctoral student project and the duties of the doctoral student

The PhD project focuses on understanding human skin: its cell-type composition depending on body location, regulation of distinct hair growth modes, and the role of immune cells in skin health and disorders. The results of the PhD program will uncover how human skin cells interact with each other and their surroundings in either homeostasis or during disorders, and how they acquire their identities at single-cell resolution. The project will rely on the use of a combination of state-of-the-art techniques, such as single-cell transcriptomics, ATAC-seq, single-molecule FISH and computational biology.

The project is a combination of practical laboratory work (wet lab work & microscopy) and computational analysis of single-cell transcriptomics/ATAC-seq data (i.e. analysis with R and/or Python). The studies also include attending lab meetings, seminars, courses, and conferences. The PhD student should, under supervision and with time, more independently, plan and execute experiments, analyze data, interpret and present the results as well as write scientific articles.

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

We seek a student with a background in molecular biology, biomedicine or equivalent, who has a strong interest in learning programing languages (R and/or Python) needed to analyze single-cell transcriptomic data. The candidate should have a good team spirit, be self-motivated, and bring a keen interest in solving intricate scientific questions (in tissue biology). Experience in working with molecular biology techniques, confocal microscopy, FACS, and the isolation and culture of primary cells, as well as basic programming skills are a strong plus. The student is required to have a good team-work ability and communication skills in English (written and verbal).

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 in Swedish or English:

  1. Personal letter of motivation
  2. Curriculum vitae
  3. Degree projects and previous publications, if any
  4. Any other documentation showing the desirable skills and personal qualities described above
  5. Documents certifying your general and specific eligibility (see A and B above)
  6. Two recommendation letters or contact details of two reference persons


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.

 Want to make a difference? Join us and contribute to better health for all

Type of employment PhD placement
Contract type Full time
Reference number 2-1280/2020
Maria Kasper, +46-8-524 810 29
Union representative
Henry Wölling, SEKO, +46-8-524 840 80
Chandrashekar Bangalore Revanna, SACO, +46-73-083 98 85
Anders Lindholm, OFR, +46-8-524 810 12
Published 20.Mar.2020
Last application date 30.Apr.2020 11:59 PM CET