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Dietary fatty acids are metabolized by the gut microbiota into downstream lipid mediators that can exert potent biological functions in pro- and anti-inflammatory processes. Recent studies have demonstrated a role of these gut microbial-derived products in several pathologies. However, little is known about the effects of these novel mediators upon their local environment in the gut. Studies will focus on the role of these metabolites in intestinal development and barrier function in vivo. The project will employ a combination of in vivo zebrafish-based models, small intestine organoids from mouse isolates and high-throughput platforms to interrogate the function of microbiota-derived lipid metabolites in the modulation of intestinal development. Additional studies may explore the production of lipid mediators by specific microbial strains using mass spectrometry. This project will apply cutting-edge in vivo tools to investigate how microbial-derived lipid mediators modulate intestinal homeostasis and physiology.


This project is a collaborative effort between Dr. Craig Wheelock in the Unit of Integrative Metabolomics in the Institute of Environmental Medicine (IMM) and Dr. Eduardo Villablanca in the Allergy and Immunology Unit at the Department of Medicine Solna (MedS). Dr. Wheelock performs research on understanding the role of bioactive lipids in maintaining health and is particularly interested in the role of dietary fatty acids in the production of lipid mediators. The research unit is housed in a new purpose-built laboratory that includes 5 state-of-the art mass spectrometers and the associated sample processing equipment and includes the newly launched Karolinska Institute Small Molecule Mass Spectrometry (KI-SMMS) core facility.

Dr. Villablanca’s research group performs research on different aspect of allergy and autoimmune diseases and have developed new in vivo models to study the function of microbiota-derived molecules in intestinal homeostasis and their potential effect leading to autoimmune diseases, such as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). In particular, they aim to use zebrafish as an in vivo screening platform to study the effect of microbiota-derived molecules in intestinal regeneration following damage and processes associated with IBD, with the final goal to translate this knowledge to mouse model and eventually to human. The postdoctoral researcher will spend significant amount of time in Dr. Villablanca’s laboratory.

Your mission

The microbiota has been demonstrated to be linked to health and disease not only in the gut, but also in distant organs. However, how microbes affect intestinal function is yet to be fully understood. The goal of this project is to utilize zebrafish-based in vivo models to screen for the effect of selected microbiota-derived-molecules in intestinal homeostasis and function following challenges. Dr. Villablanca’s laboratory has generated novel models to investigate intestinal regeneration following damaged and IBD susceptible zebrafish lines that can be used in these screenings. The successful candidate will employ screening assays and identified hits in such screenings. Hits will be further studied and validated in mouse organoids or immune cell in vitro assays. The candidate will potentially generate novel zebrafish IBD reporters to visualize immunological processes associated to IBD in the context of genetic susceptibility and environmental triggers. In summary, the successful candidate will generate and characterize the effect of selected microbiota-derived lipids in intestinal health and disease. This new knowledge will provide much-needed insights into aspects of intestinal homeostasis that may lead to novel cellular therapies to treat IBD and other disorders.

Entry requirements

Scholarships for postdoctoral qualification can be established for foreign researchers who place their qualifications in Sweden. The purpose of scholarships for postdoctoral qualification is to promote internationalization and contribute to research qualification after a doctorate or equivalent.
A scholarship for carrying out postdoctoral research can be granted for a maximum of two years within a four year period following the receipt of a doctoral degree or equivalent.
To be eligible for a postdoctoral scholarship, the person must have obtained a doctorate or a foreign degree deemed to be equivalent to a doctorate. Applicants who have not completed a doctorate at the end of the application period may also apply, provided that all requirements for a completed degree are met before the (intended) start date of the post doctoral education.

The head of the department determines whether their previous training and scholarly qualifications correspond to a Swedish doctorate or higher.


The successful candidate will be a creative and motivated postdoctoral scientist with an interest in microbiota, mucosal immunology and lipid mediators. We look for a candidate with proficiency and documented laboratory research experience particularly in molecular biology, in vivo imaging and genetic manipulation in zebrafish. The candidate is expected to work with both zebrafish and mouse models of intestinal inflammation. Experience in image analysis would be an advantage. Previous experience working with bioactive lipid mediators in inflammatory systems is considered a merit. The position will require independent work at the laboratory as well as collaboration with other experimental groups. Fluency in both oral and written English is necessary. Documented ability to analyze and present results orally and written is important.

Location: Unit of Integrative Metabolomics , Institute of Environmental Medicine, Solna

Type of scholarship

The amount is tax free and it is set for twelve months at a time, paid out on a six months basis. In exceptional cases, shorter periods may be acceptable.

Application process

An application must contain the following documents in English or Swedish:

  • A complete curriculum vitae, including date of the thesis defence, title of the thesis, previous academic positions, academic title, current position, academic distinctions, and committee work
  • A complete list of publications
  • A summary of current work (no more than one page)

The application is to be submitted on the Varbi recruitment system.

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

First day of employment According to agreement
Salary Scholarship
Reference number STÖD 2-2157/2023
  • Craig Wheelock,
Union representative
  • Anne Boström, SEKO , 08-52487579,
  • Niklas Andersson, OFR , 08-52487419,
  • Anda Gliga, Nanna Fyhrquist, Saco-S,,
Published 24.May.2023
Last application date 21.Aug.2023 11:59 PM CEST

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