Karolinska Institutet, Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Baranello

The Department of Cell and Molecular Biology (CMB) is a department with a strong focus on basic science. CMB conducts research and education in cell biology, molecular biology, developmental biology, stem cell biology, cancer and infection biology.

We are looking for an ambitious, highly motivated and curious doctoral candidate to join Laura Baranello’s research group at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, to elucidate the mechanism of topoisomerase regulation during transcription with the overall goal to develop new strategies to inhibit topoisomerases function for cancer treatment.

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.

Research group
Laura Baranello, Ph.D., was recruited from the National Institutes of Health (NIH, USA) to the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology of Karolinska Institutet as an Assistant Professor. Her group focuses on understanding how transcription, chromatin and DNA topology are functionally coordinated in human cells. The detailed understanding of topoisomerase regulatory networks during transcription will provide a new rational to target topoisomerases in cancer therapy. The group is located at Biomedicum, an interdisciplinary research platform, where the student will have access to state-of-the-art technologies and an excellent interdisciplinary research environment. The group is also associated to the laboratory of David Levens at the NIH. The successful applicant will thus be part of a network of recognized scientists and will have the possibility to collaborate with the NIH partner.

More information about the activities of Laura Baranello’s group can be found here: http://ki.se/en/cmb/laura-baranellos-group

The doctoral student project and the duties of the doctoral student
Topoisomerases (Top1 and Top2) are essential enzymes that regulate the topology of DNA favoring DNA replication and transcription by cleaving and resealing DNA strands. Because cancer cells have higher rates of replication and global transcription compared to normal cells, they are highly dependent on topoisomerase activity. Therefore, strategies to target topoisomerases could provide a mean to selectively affect cancer cells.
We have recently shown that topoisomerases execute their function through regulatory interactions with molecular partners that modulate their activity to affect the expression of key genes. Interfering with these regulatory interactions, instead of blocking topoisomerase activity directly, could provide a new strategy for cancer treatment with lower off-target toxicity compared to currently available topoisomease inhibhithors (Baranello et al., Cell 2016).

This interdisciplinary research project aims to define the mechanisms of Top2 and how its activity is regulated by the cancer-related transcription factor Myc during the process of transcription. We will use a combination of biochemical assays, next-generation sequencing, CRISPR-based genome editing and bioinformatics approaches to define the molecular details of Top2 interaction with Myc and decipher the mechanism of Top2 regulation in cancer cells.

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 are looking for an enthusiastic and highly dynamic candidate with interest in molecular biology or related sciences and a strong track record. The ideal candidate is expected to lead the project in collaboration with the PI and other team members and participate in common laboratory duties. The successful candidate should have excellent interpersonal and organization skills, communicate well and work in a team. A background in chromatin biology, expertise in standard biochemistry and molecular biology techniques as well as a good knowledge of both spoken and written English will be considered a plus.

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/motivation letter (stating the reason why the candidate is interested in this project -no more than half a page, font 12-) and a curriculum vitae (Swedish or English)
  • Degree projects and previous publications, if any (Swedish or English)
  • A summary of past and current work (no more than half a page, font 12) showing the desirable skills and personal qualities described above (Swedish or English)
  • Contact information of two references.
  • 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.

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.

Baranello L, et al. RNA Polymerase II Regulates Topoisomerase 1 Activity to Favor Efficient Transcription. Cell, 2016 Apr 7; 165 (2) :357-71.

Kouzine F, Levens D, Baranello L. DNA topology and transcription. Nucleus. 2014 May-Jun 5(3):195-202.

All applicants will be informed when the recruitment is completed.

Type of employment PhD placement
Contract type Full time
Reference number 2-3225/2019
  • Laura Baranello, Laura.Baranello@ki.se
Union representative
  • Magnus Anå, OFR, 08-524 864 37, magnus.ana@ki.se
  • Biborka Bereczky Veress, SACO, 46 70-173 85 75
  • Elisabeth Valenzuela, SEKO, 08-524 863 53
Published 12.Jun.2019
Last application date 31.Jul.2019 11:59 PM CEST

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