PhD Position in Synthetic Glycobiology

University of Gothenburg Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology

PhD student in Synthetic Glycobiology

Ref PAR 2021/68


Göteborgs universitet möter samhällets utmaningar med mångsidig kunskap. 49 000 studenter och 6 400 medarbetare gör universitetet till en stor och inspirerande arbetsplats. Stark forskning och attraktiva utbildningar lockar forskare och studenter från hela världen. Med ny kunskap och nya perspektiv bidrar Göteborgs universitet till en bättre framtid.

Research and graduate education at the department of chemistry and molecular biology comprises a wide scientific field from the atomic and molecular levels all the way through cells to intact organisms. Much of the phenomena studied here impact on our natural environment and living systems. We participate in undergraduate programs in chemistry, molecular biology, medicinal chemistry, biology, marine sciences, and pharmacy.

We are seeking a PhD student to join our new group at the Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology & the Wallenberg Centre for Molecular and Translational Medicine of the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Glycans or complex carbohydrates constitute the capsules of bacteria, fungi, as well as plant cells, and adorn all kinds of other biomolecules such as proteins, lipids, or RNA. The specific glycan sequence that is physically attached to a protein fundamentally alters its properties and capabilities, fine-tuning stability, structure, and function. We recently demonstrated that – using machine learning – this rich information can be leveraged to predict glycan properties and, in turn, characteristics of the organisms exhibiting these glycans, opening up the potential of glycobiology to facilitate a new understanding of biology and enable future biomedical therapies.

In this project, we will use synthetic biology / genetic engineering to understand and modify the role of glycans in biological systems. With a main focus on mammalian cells, this project will entail state-of-the-art genetic engineering methods, including CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing, as well as systems biology methods such as RNA-seq or glycomics. Further, we will leverage the synergy achieved by the glycan-focused bioinformatics and machine learning expertise in our group to achieve predictive modifications of glycans and analyze their effect on biological systems.

We especially value open-minded, innovative, and mission-driven researchers that are willing to learn. Openness to learning computational analyses (or experience in that area) will be seen as a plus.

Job assignments

The successful candidate will design, construct, and implement genetic modifications and gene circuits in mammalian cells to study their effect on the produced glycans. These tasks include culturing mammalian and bacterial cells, molecular cloning, FACS, reporter gene assays, systems biology techniques such as RNA-seq or glycomics, and others. The successful candidate will also work with experts in bioinformatics / machine learning for the analysis and further design of experiments, with the chance of acquiring these skills themselves.

In conjunction with glycan-focused machine learning and bioinformatics, this project will disentangle the effects of glycans on mammalian signaling pathways and illuminate their biosynthesis under different environmental conditions. These and other applications will then be used to probe and leverage the therapeutic potential of glycans and glycosylation


To be eligible for third-cycle studies, the applicant must meet both the general and specific entry requirements: A person meets the general entry requirements for third-cycle courses and study programs if he or she:

  1. has been awarded a second-cycle qualification,
  2. has satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits of which at least 60 credits were awarded in the second-cycle, or
  3. has acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad.

To meet the specific entry requirements for third-cycle studies, applicants must: (i) have a second-cycle (advanced-level) degree in a relevant* subject area in the natural sciences, or (ii) have completed studies for at least 60 higher education credits at a second-cycle level in relevant subject areas in the natural sciences, or

(iii) have completed a corresponding program of relevance to the planned third-cycle program, in Sweden or in another country, or have equivalent qualifications.

*Relevant for the planned third-cycle education

The specific entry requirements also include an acceptable command of spoken and written English. Guidelines for assessing English proficiency may include a minimum score of 550 on the TOEFL test (or 213 on the TOEFL-CBT, or 79 on the TOEFL-iBT).


In selecting between applicants who meet the general and specific entry requirements, their ability to benefit from third-cycle studies shall be taken into account. The assessment shall attach particular importance to documented qualifications for:

- experience with laboratory work


Type of employment: Fixed-term employment, four years full time

Extent: 100 %

Location: Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology, Gothenburg

First day of employment: As soon as possible based on agreement

Regulations for the evaluation of qualifications for education on a doctoral level are given in SFS 1993:100.

A new employment as a PhD student applies for a maximum of one year. The Appointment may be prolonged for up to two years at a time. The total employment period may not be longer than the equivalent of four years of full time doctoral studies.

University applies local agreement on salaries of graduate students..

For further information regarding the position



Union representatives at the University of Gothenburg:

Information for International Applicants

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How to apply

In order to apply for a position at the University of Gothenburg, you have to register an account in our online recruitment system. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the application is complete in accordance with the instructions in the job advertisement, and that it is submitted before the deadline.

You must include the following, in PDF format

  • Personal letter
  • CV
  • Diploma and transcripts showing that you meet with the general entry requirement
  • Proof of completion of  English 6 course or the acquired equivalent knowledge through previous studies

If your degree is from a university outside of Sweden, check what you need to submit at where you can also see what you need to submit in order to fulfill the English language requirement.

If your degree has not been verified by a Swedish authority you need to provide contact details to the issuing university, registrar or similar, that can verify the degree at our request.

Closing date: 2021-02-14

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