Karolinska Institutet, Institutionen för Fysiologi och farmakologi

At the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology we teach and conduct internationally acclaimed, high-quality research in Physiology, Pharmacology, Anesthesiology and Intensive care. We have around 400 employees, 30 research groups, and 90 doctoral students. Our research fields include cellular signaling, cardiovascular and respiratory systems, neuropsychopharmacology, neuroinflammation, pharmacogenetics, regenerative medicine, Renal System, anesthesiology and intensive care, muscle physiology and pain. Our collaboration with the clinics at Karolinska University Hospital provides unique opportunities for translational research within our subjects. More information about research at http://ki.se/fyfa_english

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 Neuropsychoimmunology Unit, headed by prof. Sophie Erhardt, focus on the pathophysiology behind psychotic disorders and suicidal behavior with a special attention to immune activation. We use a number of analytical methods (e.g. HPLC, LC/MS, GC/MS, Mesoscale, Luminex) for biochemical detection of a variety of amino acids, tryptophan/kynurenine- and monoamine metabolites as well as cytokines/chemokines. Other in-house methods in the laboratory consist of in vivo single unit recording techniques, microdialysis and behavioral techniques as well as immunological, immunohistochemical and molecular biological techniques to dissect neuropsychoimmune pathways in vivo and in cell culture systems. The research group (approximately 15 people, including PhD students, postdoctoral fellows and staff members) has an extensive network of both preclinical and clinical collaborators not only within Karolinska Institutet, but also at other Swedish and international universities

The doctoral student project and the duties of the doctoral student
The overall aim of this PhD project is to develop clinically implementable prediction models for schizophrenia. CSF and plasma from patients with first-episode psychosis will be analyzed with the aim to identify unique inventories of metabolites that may serve as potential biomarkers that could be used to aid in the diagnosis of psychosis or be used to predict or monitor antipsychotic treatment response. The student will integrate different types of biomarkers, including genetics, metabolomics and transcriptomics, along with clinical data to generate prediction models. Using a unique combination of a well-characterized clinical sample and cutting-edge methodology, the present translational project has the potential to bring truly novel and improved treatment strategies directed at causative mechanisms rather than downstream symptoms. The goal for the student is to understand how bioinformatics tools can be employed to analyze biomarker information and to examine flow of molecules within pathways. The student will develop technical skills in probability modeling and statistical inference for the practical application of statistical methods. Part of this PhD project will be performed in the laboratory of the co-supervisor at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, USA.

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, enthusiastic and ambitious student with strong interest in psychiatry and bioinformatics. Candidates must be able to work within a heterogeneous and multicultural team environment but retain independence to explore their own hypotheses and results and drive their own projects. The applicant must be fluent in English, with excellent communication and advanced writing skills. The PhD student is expected to take a strong lead in project management, data generation, as well as analyses and interpretation. Prior experience with transcriptomics, metabolomics, genetics as well as, molecular biology and analytical methods is considered an advantage for this project. Authorship on research articles is highly meriting, as is previous training in research laboratories. The applicant should be familiar with using Microsoft Office applications and proficiency in one statistical software package (SPSS, Stata, R, SAS) is an advantage.

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 2-5455/2019
  • Sophie Erhardt, sophie.erhardt@ki.se
Union representative
  • Göran Engberg, SACO, 08-524 867 17
  • Henry Wölling, SEKO, 08-524 840 80
  • Niklas Andersson, OFR, niklas.andersson@ki.se
Published 13.Nov.2019
Last application date 15.Jan.2020 11:59 PM CET

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