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

Applications are invited for a PhD studentship in the laboratory of Joanna Rorbach, Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing – Karolinska Institutet (MPI-KIL), located at Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm.

The doctoral student project and the duties of the doctoral student

Mitochondria are essential organelles in all eukaryotes, providing the host cell with energy as well as diverse metabolic capacities. In humans, mitochondrial DNA encodes thirteen polypeptides of the OXPHOS complexes, all of which are synthesised in the mitochondrial matrix by a process that requires the collaboration of more than one hundred nuclear-encoded proteins imported into the mitochondrion from the cytosol. Defects in mtDNA, or the apparatus required for its expression, cause OXPHOS deficiencies – a group of debilitating conditions that are amongst the most common inherited human diseases. As we lack basic information on the mechanisms mitochondria use to generate polypeptides, how defects in these processes contribute to human pathologies is poorly understood.

The objective of our research is to better understand mitochondrial translation machinery structure and function.

The successful candidate will employ cutting-edge technologies, including genetic modification, proteomics and cryo-EM to study protein synthesis in mitochondria. Highly motivated, creative and curious students with an interest in molecular and structural biology are encouraged to apply. The candidate should be interested in understanding fundamental cellular mechanisms and show willingness to develop their own research questions. The ability to work well in the team environment is a prerequisite.

Applicants should hold a masters' degree (or equivalent) in biology, biochemistry, chemistry or another relevant life science. Excellent laboratory skills in molecular biology are required, with experience in at least one of the areas of mammalian tissue culture, advanced light microscopy and structural proteomics, being advantageous.

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.

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)


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
First day of employment Immediately/as soon as possible
Salary Monthly salary
Reference number STÖD 2-2576/2020
  • Joanna Rorbach, +46 (0)8-524 866 93
Union representative
  • Venus Azhary, OFR, 0707-124 127
Published 08.Jun.2020
Last application date 21.Jun.2020 11:59 PM CEST

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