Do you want to contribute to top quality medical research?

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. CMB is located in Biomedicum, a new interdisciplinary research center designed to concentrate much of the experimental research conducted at Karolinska Institutet Campus Solna under one roof to promote collaboration. Biomedicum houses approximately 1,200 researchers and other personnel and allows expensive equipment to be shared and utilised more effectively.

The Spalding group investigates multiple aspects of human adipose biology, with a particular interest in the normal and pathological functioning of adipocytes in response to overnutrition. With obesity associated diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer increasing at epidemic proportions, the Spalding lab recognises the strong need to better understand obesity-related disease pathogenesis and develop novel treatment strategies which take into account the obesity component of the disease.

The postdoctoral position and duties of the postdoctoral fellow

Obesity is a risk factor for cancer and predicts poor clinical outcomes. An important, negative predictor of cancer survival is metastasis. The mechanisms underlying the metastatic spread of cancer, including the orchestrated programs coordinating cell migration and dissemination, remain unclear. The epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a critical tumour cell plasticity and dedifferentiation program, by which epithelial cells acquire pro-migratory and invasive mesenchymal properties. Obesity-induced changes in adipocytes within the tumour microenvironment have been shown to influence the behavior of adjacent cancer cells, promoting the infiltration of immune cells and the secretion of cytokines, resulting in localized inflammation. Tumour-resident adipocytes and stromal cells have also been shown to promote the growth, migration and invasion of breast cancer cells in the cancer mileu, with fatty acids derived from cancer-associated adipocytes acting as an energy source for tumour cells. Little is known, however, about the contribution of adipose tissue distal to the tumour site. With approximately 90% of the body’s fat being subcutaneous and metastasis a systemic disease, the contribution of this fat depot, in lean and obese states, is of prime importance. The advertised postdoctoral scholarship position will investigate the contribution of white adipose tissue fat cells to cancer progression, with particular focus on how adipocytes promote metastasis in human cancers.

The successful applicant will study human adipose tissue biopsies, cancer cell lines and patient-derived cancer cells. Analyses and methods include cell culture,  immunocytochemistry, confocal microscopy, invasion assay and other molecular biology techniques (including protein and RNA analyses). The postdoctoral fellow will bring hands on cancer expertise to the group, complementing the adipose tissue expertise of the Spalding group and metastasis expertise of our cancer collaborators (Theresa Vincent, KI and NYU). The main aims of the project will be to investigate the contribution of adipocytes from individuals with obesity to promoting the metastatic spread of cancer.  

Skills and personal qualities

We seek an individual with a background in cancer biology and metastasis (epithelial to mesenchymal transition). Expertise in the culture of cancer cell lines and patient derived cancer cells, immunocytochemistry and confocal microscopy, migration and invasion assays and molecular biology techniques (RNAseq, qPCR, western blot, ELISA, mass spectrometry) are strongly preferred.

The candidate should have a good team spirit, be self-motivated and have a keen interest in the factors driving cancer metastasis. Experience in working with molecular biology techniques, confocal microscopy, tissue culture, gene editing, epigenetics or computational biology are a strong plus. A solid background in statistics or programming is also an advantage. The postdoctoral applicant is required to have good communication skills in English (written and verbal).

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.

Location: Stockholm

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
Reference number STÖD 2-1151/2023
  • Kirsty Spalding,
Published 09.Jun.2023
Last application date 11.Jul.2023 11:59 PM CEST

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