Karolinska Institutet,

At the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology we teach and conduct internationally acclaimed, high-quality research in Physiology, Pharmacology, Anesthesiology and Intensive care. We have around 400 employees, 30 research groups, and 90 doctoral students. Our research fields include cellular signaling, cardiovascular and respiratory systems, neuropsychopharmacology, neuroinflammation, pharmacogenetics, regenerative medicine, Renal System, anesthesiology and intensive care, muscle physiology and pain. Our collaboration with the clinics at Karolinska University Hospital provides unique opportunities for translational research within our subjects. More information about research at http://ki.se/fyfa_english

A doctoral student is admitted to third-cycle/doctoral education. A doctoral education consists of supervised research, combined with courses and other educational activities. An individual study plan is established for each doctoral student. For a doctoral degree, the equivalent of four years of full-time doctoral education is required.

We are recruiting a doctoral (PhD) student. For more information regarding doctoral education at Karolinska Institutet (KI), see: http://ki.se/en/phd/about-doctoral-education-at-ki

Research group
The overall research mission for the molecular pain research group led by Prof. Camilla Svensson is to advance our understanding of how pain is induced and sustained, in particular in conditions with persistent pain such as in rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia. In this context, we are exploring novel links between the adaptive immune system, activation of osteoclasts and satellite glial cells and regulation of pain signal transmission. Intracellular signaling pathways that are activated or deactivated in this process are being dissected and studied in relation to persistent pain. We use a number of behavioral, immunological, immunohistochemical, electrophysiological and molecular biological techniques to dissect pain pathways in vivo and in cell culture systems. The research group (10 PhD students, postdoctoral fellows and staff members) collaborate with preclinical as well as clinical researchers not only within Karolinska Institutet, but also at other Swedish and international universities. See below for more specific information about the doctoral education project and the duties of the student.

About the BonePain Network

We have 1 open positions for PhD fellows in the EU-funded Innovative Training Network BonePainII (www.bonepain.eu). BonePainII is a European Innovative Training Network to promote frontline research, innovation and education within bone pain. Millions in Europe and beyond suffer from bone pain, which is a debilitating complication of many musculoskeletal disorders such as arthritis and bone metastasis. The BonePainII network has participants from 6 European countries and encompasses 8 academic groups and 4 industries all committed to creating an outstanding training program for 15 early stage researchers (ESRs) to elucidate the mechanisms of bone pain and develop new medicines.

The project is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 814244.

Project title: Autoantibodies and osteoclasts – novel links to chronic pain in rheumatoid arthritis

The main focus of the current PhD project will be to examine which and how autoantibodies derived from RA-patients’ B-cells induce pain hypersensitivity and increase neuronal excitability via activation of osteoclasts. There will be a specific focus on new disease-associated autoantibodies and the long-term consequence of these autoantibodies on the sensory nervous system. The student will work from both a cellular (pain neurons, osteoclasts, and B cell) and molecular (microRNA and long non-coding RNA) perspective and the project is placed in the interphase between neuroscience, immunology and bone biology. The student will  learn several techniques for analysis of joint pathology and bone erosion and immunological and molecular biological tools applied to cell culture systems . The project also includes in vivo behavioural assays and analysis of patient samples. The student will be part of a larger research network in Stockholm consisting of preclinical and clinical researchers.

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.

Specific requirements for the Innovative Training Network (ITN)

All PhD students recruited in an ITN must be Early-Stage Researchers (ESR). ESR can be of any nationality and age, and they must comply with the LEVEL OF EXPERIENCE and MOBILITY RULE (see below).

Level of experience

Early-Stage Researchers (= PhD Students) must, at the date of recruitment by the beneficiary, be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research careers and have not been awarded a doctoral degree. The date of recruitment means the first day of the employment of the researcher for the purposes of the action (i.e. the starting date indicated in the employment contract or equivalent direct contract). Full-time equivalent research experience is measured from the date when the researcher obtained the degree entitling him/her to embark on a doctorate (either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the country in which the researcher is recruited), even if a doctorate was never started or envisaged.

Mobility rule

Researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of the recruiting beneficiary for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date. Compulsory national service, short stays such as holidays, and time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention are not taken into account.

Skills and personal qualities
We are seeking a highly motivated, talented student who has the maturity and desire to study hard and independently as well as work in a group setting. The day-to-day studies are to a large extent laboratory based and require self-motivation. In addition, the research is team based and the group have multiple ongoing collaborative projects and as such the applicant must have strong communication skills and an ability to interact effectively and work productively in a collaborative manner. The applicant must be fluent in English, with excellent communication and writing skills. A genuine high level of curiosity for research in general and in the pain field in particular is advantageous. Previous experience in the fields of neuroscience, immunology and/or behavioral pharmacology is considered an advantage for this project. Emphasis will be placed on personal skills, motivation and previous experience of laboratory work.


Key criteria for the assessment of applicants

  • Relevant skills and knowledge
  • Previous publications
  • Relevant work experience
  • The grades achieved during bachelor/master studies
  • Language skills
  • Assessment of the candidate’s motivation letter

The qualifications of the applicants will be evaluated on an overall basis.

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:

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

*All documents certifying the entry requirements must be scans of originals (scans of copies or certified copies will not be accepted). The scanned documents must be in color and both the front and the back of the documents must be scanned. Please note that there are specific documentation requirements for a number countries, please read the instructions at: http://ki.se/en/phd/entry-requirements-eligibility-fordoctoral-education

If an applicant claims equivalent konwledge (point 3 under general entry requirements above) for the eligibility assessment, a form has to be filled in and submitted. Please find more information here: https://ki.se/en/phd/assessing-equivalent-knowledge-for-general-eligibility-for-doctoral-education

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.

KI 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.

The selection process will include several steps. The most suitable applicants will proceed to the next step which includes personal interviews. All applicants will be informed when the recruitment is completed.

Type of employment Doktorandenstelle
Contract type Full time
Reference number 2-3524/2019
  • Camilla Svensson, camilla.svensson@ki.se
Union representative
  • Bo Rydqvist, SACO, 08-524 872 67
  • Niklas Andersson, OFR, niklas.andersson@ki.se
  • Henry Wölling, SEKO, 08-524 840 80
Published 20.Jun.2019
Last application date 31.Jul.2019 11:59 PM CET

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