Karolinska Institutet, Department of Biosciences and Nutrition, Carlen (MCA)

The Department of Biosciences and Nutrition performs research and education in several areas of medical science including bioorganic chemistry, molecular endocrinology, cancer biology, functional genomics, systems biology, epigenetics, structural biochemistry, cellular virology, and nutrition. It offers an excellent international research and working environment, including around 300 scientists, students, administrative and technical personnel. The Department resides in the new biomedical research building Neo, aimed at being a creative and open environment that enables meetings, synergies, and exploration of areas of mutual interest across disciplines.

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
The research group where the announced position will be placed is headed by Marie Carlén. Research in the CarlenLab regards the neural basis of cognition, and the cellular underpinnings of changed cognition in mental disorders. The lab at large employ systems neuroscience approaches with a focus on in vivo studies in behaving rodents. The lab has premises and activities at both the north and south campus of Karolinska Institutet.

The doctoral student project and the duties of the doctoral student
The KID-funded project is entitled Imaging cognition – single neuron real time imaging of the neural basis of cognition. Much of the everyday activities of both animals and humans involve complex behaviors demanding higher-order mental processing often referred to as cognition. Goal-directed behavior rely on merging of information from the environment with information stored as knowledge and experience in the brain. The integration (merging) of the different streams of information, and their meaningful processing, are in much dependent on the prefrontal cortex (PFC), a cortical structure located in the frontal lobes of the brain. The overall objective of this project is to shed light on how information processing in the PFC enables higher mental (i.e., cognitive) functions. We want to understand how and when specific PFC neurons are activated by incoming information, and how ensembles of PFC neurons process this information, and ultimately drive behaviors that are depending of proper cognition. The project at large relies on establishment and use of 2-photon imaging of neuronal activity in head-fixed behaving mice. An important part of the project regards the analysis of imaging data for read out of neuronal activity patterns of single neurons and ensemble activity. Transgenic and viral approaches will be used for labelling and analysis of the activity of specific PFC cell types. The project also involves electrophysiology for establishment of cortical connectivity schemes.

Specific duties and qualifications:

  • Establishing and performing 2-photon imaging of selected neuron types in the PFC of awake, behaving mice.
  • Designing behavioural task and training of animals
  • Planning and maintenance of mouse colonies
  • Collection of imaging and electrophysiological data
  • Analysis of neuronal data, and presentation of the results
  • Analysis of tissue from imaging and electrophysiology using adequate technologies
  • Organization of laboratory routines and documentation
  • Preparation of manuscript drafts and grant applications
  • Attending seminar, courses and conferences.

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 seeking a highly motivated and creative person with proven experience in the field of neuroscience, preferentially systems neuroscience. The successful applicant is expected to hold the ability to work independently as well as part of a team. Good communication skills in both spoken and written English is a requisite.

Required: Master of science in biology, biomedicine or equivalent, with a focus on neuroscience. Animal work certification in accordance with current Swedish and European legislations. Additional studies in cognition and / or psychology / psychiatry is highly meriting. Knowledge of neuroanatomy and neurophysiology and practical experience of whole animal (mice and rats) experiments, preferentially in vivo studies using technologies relevant to the current project, i.e., 2-photon microscopy, electrophysiology, optogenetics and behavior. Documented proficiency in data analyses using (custom written) routines in MATLAB / R / Python.

Desirable: Practical experience of intracranial injections and advanced tissue processing and analysis (e.g., tissue clearing) is meriting, as is experience with viral vectors and knowledge of viral strategies for targeting and interrogation of brain circuitry. Further meriting is experience of design of animal and/or human behavior experiments and building and / or implantation of recording devices.

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.

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.


All applicants will be informed when the recruitment is completed.

Type of employment Doktorandplats
Contract type Full time
Reference number 2-1469/2019
  • Marie Carlén, Researcher, +46-8-524 830 43
Union representative
  • Birgitta Lidqvist, OFR, +46-8-524 810 28
  • Henry Wölling, SEKO, +46-8-524 840 80
Published 07.Mar.2019
Last application date 28.Mar.2019 11:59 PM CET

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